Technology Headlines for June 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Technology headlines for June 2013 include: Learning Technology Excellence in Practice Awards, Mobile Learning to Reach $2.1 Billion in North America by 2017, Microsoft Survey: Employees Want Social Tools at Work, McKinsey Global Institute Identifies 12 Disruptive Technologies. 

Learning Technology Excellence in Practice Awards 

Each year the American Society for Training & Development recognizes individuals and teams who advance the knowledge of the workplace learning and performance profession and contribute to workforce capability and organizational competitiveness through their exemplary practices. Their work inspires and informs us all, and their accomplishments demonstrate how learning drives the performance of businesses and organizations worldwide.  

The Excellence in Practice category recognizes organizations for results achieved through learning and performance solutions. Awards are presented for proven practices that have delivered measurable results, and Citations are presented for practices from which much can be learned.

Here are this year's winner and citations in the area of learning technology.  

Winner: China Telecom
Beijing, China
Social Learning Practice in Accelerating the Scale Development of 3G Businesses

After a series of restructuring and acquisitions that began in 2009, China Telecom became a licensed 3G operator and built up a strategy for scale development of 3G businesses. Since then, the products and services offered have soared and the variety of mobile products for 3G businesses increased rapidly, nearly tripling since 2010. As a result, the demand for reducing time for competency and time to productivity of the 3G sales and service teams became imperative.

The Social Learning practice was designed and implemented to address the need for faster and more effective knowledge sharing among dispersed teams. This practice was mainly piloted in 3G business lines with the consideration of the corporate strategy for scale development of mobile businesses. With the launch of a web-based social learning platform in April 2011, and its mobile version in April 2012, this practice has expedited learning, sharing, and flow of knowledge, which led to the creation of an internal social learning ecosystem.

The business impact of this practice includes:

  • 7,000 channel sales managers showing improved service and capability, enabling them to better serve the 400,000 distributors and facilitating the increased sales of products
  • 57,000 salespeople have acquired product knowledge faster and are equipped with better knowledge to service customers, driving increased sales
  • More than 9,000 VIP service managers have reduced time to competency, enabling them to better serve the customers, resulting in an increased satisfaction and loyalty rate, and facilitating increased brand equity.  

China Telecom estimates the return on investment of this practice to be 595 percent. 
Citation: Accenture Services Private Ltd.
Mumbai, India
Improve the Effectiveness of New Hire Training Using Tools and Technologies  

Efficiency in the new hire process was an important goal for Accenture. To achieve it the organization leveraged tools and technology to obtain organizational targets and maximize client and customer satisfaction. Using tools like Versant, Neuro Language, and Epiplex helped the organization achieve business objectives with utmost quality. This practice is a one-stop shop for new hire training effectiveness and it optimizes and integrates three independent technologies.   

Prior to the implementation of the practice, the complete new hire training process was managed manually, with a lengthier learning curve and people dependent process. Introducing tools like Versant, Neuro Language, and Epiplex brought in structure and a process dependent approach to new hire learning with minimum trainer/ SME intervention, decreasing human error and subjectivity. 

Citation: E*TRADE FINANCIAL Corporates Services, Inc.
Alpharetta, Georgia
Corporate Equity Benefits – Blended Education Center

When E*TRADE moved from a software-based benefits program to an online platform to better serve its clients, they discovered several challenges related to training content, design, delivery, and data collection. As a result, E*TRADE implemented a learning management system with 85 courses, a substantial improvement from the previous six-course class.

This training program was designed to ensure the best client experience by addressing the identified performance problems, creating adequate client training and making it more appealing. The content was delivered via e-learning as well as face-to-face and virtual classrooms, allowing clients the flexibility to focus on specific training topics at no cost. The system provided a direct route through an education portal for clients with different roles and experience levels to easily locate and attend applicable training courses. The program has led to an increase in client satisfaction, which also has a large impact on the business overall. It is the most discussed measurement in marketing materials and at large industry events.

Mobile Learning to Reach $2.1 Billion in North America by 2017

The revenues for mobile learning products in North America reached an imposing $1.4 billion in 2012. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is 7.6 percent and revenues will climb to $2.1 billion by 2017, according to a new Ambient Insight report called, "The 2012-2017 North America Mobile Learning Market."

North America has the second-largest revenues for mobile learning after Asia. The overall growth rate in Canada is 20.8 percent and the growth rate in the United States is 6.1 percent. One reason for this discrepancy is that the United States is a mature market; the U.S. mobile learning market is over a decade old.

"The majority of mobile learning revenues in North America are concentrated in the U.S.," reports Ambient Chief Research Officer Sam S. Adkins. "However, the growth rates in Canada are over three times higher than in the US. The dynamics of both countries can be complex and this report provides a detailed analysis of the supply chains in each country."

"There are major differences in buying behavior between the United States and Canada," comments Ambient CEO Tyson Greer. "Suppliers cannot use US buying-behavior patterns as a baseline for doing business in Canada. For example, the buying behavior in the academic segments in the two countries is fundamentally different."

"The revenues for packaged mobile learning content are heavily concentrated in the consumer and healthcare segments in both countries, but the type of content purchased is different in each country," adds Adkins. "One interesting trend is that between 2010 and 2012, over 60 native mobile learning tools and platforms came on the market."


Over 170 mobile learning suppliers in North America are cited in this report. This information will help international suppliers identify local partners, distributors, resellers, and potential merger and acquisition (M&A) targets. A free abstract of the report is available at  

Microsoft Survey: Employees Want Social Tools at Work 

Nearly half of employees report that social tools at work help increase their productivity, but more than 30 percent of companies underestimate the value of these tools and often restrict their use, according to new Microsoft research.

The survey, conducted for Microsoft Corp. by research firm Ipsos among 9,908 information workers in 32 countries, also found that 39 percent of employees feel there isn’t enough collaboration in their workplaces, and 40 percent believe social tools help foster better teamwork. More surprisingly, 31 percent said they are willing to spend their own money to buy social tools.

 “Employees are already bringing their own devices into their workplaces, but now they are increasingly bringing their own services as well,” said Charlene Li, founder and analyst at Altimeter Group, a firm that studies social media and other technology trends. “Employees expect to work differently, with tools that feel more modern and connected, but are also reflective of how they interact in their personal lives. Enterprise social represents a new way to work, and organizations embracing these tools are improving collaboration, speeding customer responses and creating competitive advantages.” 

The research also found distinct differences between countries, sectors and genders as they relate to the levels of productivity, collaboration and communication tools used in today’s workplace.


  • Employees in the Asia-Pacific region were most likely to attribute higher productivity levels to the increased use of social tools, followed by Latin America and Europe. Employees in Latin America, however, were most likely to credit social tools with greater collaboration in the workplace, followed by the Asia-Pacific region and Europe.
  • Greater proportions of workers in Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region are using social tools — and with greater frequency. In contrast, those in North America and Europe have been slower in adopting many social tools.


  • Financial services and government employees are most likely to say their company places restrictions on the use of social tools, likely due to the high level of regulation in those sectors.
  • Moreover, professionals in financial services (74 percent) and government (72 percent) are more likely than those in other fields to say these restrictions are due to security concerns, while those working in retail (59 percent) and travel and hospitality (57 percent) are more likely to blame productivity loss.


  • Men are more likely than women to attribute higher productivity levels to social tools in a professional setting.
  • Women are more likely than men to believe their company restricts the use of social tools.
  • Men are more likely than women to say these restrictions are due to security concerns, while women are more likely to blame productivity loss. 

“Just as email accelerated the pace of business in the ’90s, enterprise social will be the driver of greater agility and transformation in the 21st century workplace,” said Kurt DelBene, president, Microsoft Office Division. “As we look ahead at how collaboration and communications continue to evolve, we believe the tools people use today—email, instant messaging, voice, videoconferencing, social—will come together and be deeply integrated into apps in ways that will speed collaboration and truly transform the way people work.” 
Microsoft envisions enterprise social as a fiber connecting all collaboration tools within an enterprise, not as a separate website or app that must be added into employees’ daily mix of activities. As companies start to use social tools such as Yammer, Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Lync and Microsoft Dynamics CRM for collaboration, sharing and communicating outside and inside their organizations, they stand to benefit from an increase in team collaboration, employee engagement, organizational connectedness, and the flexibility required to react nimbly and quickly to business changes and demands. Done correctly, enterprise social can drive significant business value by improving how employees connect, share information and work across teams and geographies, as well as beyond the firewall to customers, vendors and other key relationships. 

“Enterprise social tools like Yammer have helped Red Robin transform a widespread employee base of nearly 30,000 across 44 states into a more tightly knit workforce focused entirely on team member and guest satisfaction,” said Chris Laping, senior vice president of business transformation and chief information officer, Red Robin. “Even more importantly, it helps us ensure we reach our workforce—87 percent are Millennials—in the right ways for learning and engagement because how they want to be engaged is through social and mobile.”

More information about the Microsoft survey is available at Microsoft also invites participation in the social enterprise conversation happening on Twitter.

McKinsey Global Institute Identifies 12 Disruptive Technologies  

Some technologies have the potential to disrupt the status quo and alter the way people live and work. It is therefore critical that business and policy leaders understand which technologies will matter to them and prepare accordingly. 

Disruptive Technologies: Advances That Will Transform Life, Business, and the Global Economy, a report from the McKinsey Global Institute, cuts through the noise and identifies 12 technologies that could drive truly massive economic transformations and disruptions in the coming years. 

Among the 12 disruptive technologies, several are sure to have an impact on workplace learning:   

  • mobile Internet
  • automation of knowledge and work
  • Internet of things
  • cloud technology
  • 3D printing.

McKinsey estimates that, together, applications of the 12 technologies discussed in the report could have a potential economic impact between $14 trillion and $33 trillion a year in 2025. This estimate is neither predictive nor comprehensive. It is based on an in-depth analysis of key potential applications and the value they could create in a number of ways, including the consumer surplus that arises from better products, lower prices, a cleaner environment, and better health. 
The report looks at exactly how these technologies could change our world, as well as their benefits and challenges, and offers guidelines to help leaders from businesses and other institutions respond.

Download the full report at


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About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs, as well as ATD's government-focused magazine, The Public Manager. Contact her at 

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