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Customer education technology adoption trends for 2016

Posted by Bill Cushard on Nov 8, 2016 5:03:00 AM

This month, the ServiceRocket Software Training Blog is focusing on the learning technology ecosystem. It is fitting that on Friday, I read through the 2016 Technology Adoption and Spending Report: Education Services published by the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA). I read this report to stay current on what technologies education services teams are adopting and plan to spend money on. After reading this report, I have three observations that I would like to share.  

TSIA Spending Report 2016 Education Services - ServiceRocket Software Training Blog

New technology categories added

In the 2016 report, four new technology categories were added to the report:

  • certification technology
  • e-publishing
  • gamification tools
  • virtual lab infrastructure

Virtual lab infrastructure started off strong already adopted by 42% of education services teams surveyed in the TSIA report. According to TSIA virtual lab infrastructure is:

Virtual lab infrastructure is a platform that enables creating trainer/student machine configurations, for both physical and virtual classroom environments, to complete in-class or through self-study, hands-on lab work exercises. The virtual infrastructure can also be used as a sandbox for prospects, or for customers who want to play with a new feature or function in a non-production environment. Typically, it is an offer that uses a web user interface to import needed systems into cloud-based VM images. This category is applicable to the education services discipline.

Virtual labs are becoming the go-to technology for offering hands-on practice opportunities for customers learning new technology. 

We are seeing this adoption trend with our customers who are using tools that include, Skytap, CloudShare, and ReadyTech, and are integrating them into Learndot. Although satisfaction rates are low among most learning technologies, virtual lab satisfaction rates are the highest, reaching 4.1 out of 5, according to the TSIA report. Virtual labs tools seem to live up to the promise of helping customer practice what they learned in training courses. 

The certification technology trend is also showing strong signs adopted by 32% of education services teams surveyed in the TSIA report. We see a similar trend with our customers, and we have even seen some pick up in the performance-based certification segment of the certification market picking up. See our recent webinars with TrueAbility and with Hortonworks to learn more about the possibilities of performance-based certification

Overall adoption flat, except for these three categories

Although technology adoption was flat overall, three categories saw notable increases:

  • web collaboration
  • intelligent search
  • learning content development systems.

Web collaboration tools saw a huge jump in adoption since last year, increasing from 75% to 96% of all education services teams surveyed using them, Tools like Webex, GoToTraining, etc. It seems this technology has finally reached full market adoption as education services teams realize virtual instructor-led training is an effective and scalable way to connect the value of an instructor with a virtual scalable delivery method to teach large audiences with no travel.

Spending on CRM and LMS adoption increasing

The third trend in the TSIA report I found interesting is that CRMs have a higher adoption rate than the LMS in education services teams. That surprises me. One would think that all education services team need an LMS, and only some need the use the CRM. But when you think about it, you can train customers without an LMS, but all customers are already in the CRM. The question is how teams are using the CRM in conjunction with the LMS to extract insights. That is where the real magic happens. 

TSIA has been running the Technology Adoption and Spending Report for the past 11 years is has become a must-have benchmarking report for education services teams that want to stay on the cutting edge of helping customers learn, adopt, and buy your product. I suggest you read it. 


Speaking of connecting CRMs and LMSs, we hosted a webinar on Tuesday, October 25 called Demonstrate the Value of Customer Education with Salesforce. This webinar aimed to further our ability to make the connection between customer training activity and account performance, so that we can show management how customer education improves some or all of the metrics the business cares about most. We showed examples of how this can be done in Salesforce, if your LMS and Salesforce are integrated the right way. 

We recorded the webinar so you can watch it whenever you like. Click on the button below to view the recording.

Register Here

Topics: Customer Education, LMS, Hortonworks, TrueAbility, Education Services, Benchmarking, TSIA, CRM

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Bill Cushard

Written by Bill Cushard

Bill Cushard covers the intersection of learning, software adoption, and customer success. His career has focused on helping companies adopt disruptive software through learning, change management, communications, and implementations that help people get the most out the software.

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