A while back I started using the term ‘learning as a service’ to describe the service we provide at Learning Pool. It started as a throw away comment but has somehow gathered legs and I often get asked to talk about what I meant by this when I meet people.
The whole ‘.,, as a service’ thing started as a software phenomenon and software as a service (SAAS) is a massive area of growth in that industry. This has been the inspiration or many of the things that Learning Pool has developed over the last few years and it’s a strategy that I and the rest of the management team are really committed to. We think we’re largely unique in the ‘learning’ industry and that’s hopefully got a lot to do with our success so far. Here’s why we love this model:
Its low cost – there are no two ways about it, our offerings are cost effective, not just because there are no upfront fees but because the cost per head is so incredibly low compared to face to face training or bespoke e-learning development. The pay as you go nature of what we offer is also really compelling for new customers who don’t need to eat into dwindling cap ex budgets to use our services;
The service switches on immediately – our customers expect to buy something today and see it tomorrow. While there are practical limits to this for a lot of our customers (getting 10 people to agree to a colour scheme for example), this is pretty much how it is with Learning Pool and because we own the technology, that challenge is all ours so our customers don’t need to worry about any of it;
It scales – our customers range from small organisations with a few hundred staff to massive councils with tens of thousands of staff not to mention partners and associates. Regardless of the size of organisation, our service can scale to meet the need and because we’re in control of our infrastructure, we can keep a couple of steps ahead of what our customers need so that they rarely notice the difference;
There are no set-up fees – there just aren’t. Our customers pay a subscription service that they can stop paying when they decide to. Luckily this very rarely happens;
The service improves all the time – this isn’t all to do with the service nature of what we do. It’s actually more because we are a community and that we listen intently to what our customers need. It’s also because we have a great in-house team who are motivated to continually improve our offerings but the service nature of Learning Pool means that the improvements are almost always free and just sort of happen for customers;
You can make the service do what you need it to because there’s an element of customisation available in the technology. This means that although they sit on the same platform, no two customers need have exactly the same Learning Pool service so it still meets everyone’s needs despite the low costs;
We deliver tangible outcomes and return. This is really important for our customers and because they have the option to switch the service off at any time, we are motivated to help customers demonstrate that they can make real savings by using our services. This is a key element to the service side of Learning Pool. We want customers to stay with us for years and have a proud record of rarely losing customers despite it being fairly easy for them to switch supplier.
Selecting this business model for Learning Pool was maybe the most crucial decision we ever made although I’m not sure we thought about it as much as we should have at the time. Instead it sort of grew organically from that day around my kitchen table… I guess some things are just meant to be.
Coming soon – a blog about the pros and cons of this business model from a more commercial perspective.