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Welcome to the party: PluralSight acquires DevelopIntelligence

Written by Bill Cushard

Published on October 19, 2020

Congratulations to PluralSight on your October 14, 2020 acquisition of DevelopIntelligence. I especially want to call out Aaron Skonnard, co-founder and CEO of PluralSight, for recognizing the value of instructor expertise in helping people learn emerging software. In Skonnard’s words, this acquisition is about combining PluralSight’s on-demand skill development offerings with DevelopIntelligence’s instructor-led and strategic consulting services, in order to “broaden upskilling experiences for enterprises and to enable businesses to accelerate their digital transformations.” 

I believe that PluralSight has realized that as software has a more direct impact on competitiveness and software buyers’ financial performance, organizations cannot risk their high investments in technology to on-demand learning. Self-paced learning sounds great, but in the end, most managers cannot take the chance that people in their organizations will be able to learn emerging software technologies watching videos on a tablet, while seated in the waiting room at the dentist’s office. 

The stakes are too high.

And not everyone can or wants to learn deep technology in that manner. 

DevelopIntelligence founder and CEO Kelby Zorgdrager, and his team have built a strong capability of instructors and content with expertise in major, emerging and fast-moving software technologies that are accelerating digital transformations in organizations all over the world. 

I believe this is a partnership designed perfectly to address the growing skills gap by combining the strengths of both on-demand and instructor learning delivery methods.

Here’s why. 

The skills gap is real and it’s holding back growth

Just ask hiring managers at companies buying emerging enterprise software, and they will confide in you how difficult it is to find people with the skills necessary to implement, configure, and run many of the software services that promise to accelerate their digital transformations. Then, ask sales teams at these software companies, and they will give you a long list of prospects who say they cannot purchase the software because they cannot find the talent necessary to get the most out of that investment. 

I argue that Docker had this problem when they were growing so fast in 2014. In one year, Docker-related job listings increase from 2,500 to a mind-blowing 43,000, an increase of 1,720 percent. Who could keep up with that? Companies like PluralSight and DevelopIntelligence had to fill the gap because Docker couldn’t keep up with the high demand for learning its products. 

Software companies have an important opportunity

As I discussed in my Customer Education Management Association CEdMA CONNECT2020 Leadership Conference Keynote in September, software companies have an enormous opportunity to shape the future of how organizations learn their software and accelerate their digital transformations. 

Software companies should look at this PluralSight acquisition of DevelopIntelligence as an example of how they might create a market of buyers for their software through customer education. Some forward-thinking software companies and industry leaders like Atlassian, Snowflake, CyberArk, Sitecore, Splunk, SailPoint, and DataBricks, are leading the way and helping their customers through a time at which software is moving faster than ever before.

Congratulations to PluralSight and DevelopIntelligence for seeing this trend before most. To a successful future together.

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