Categories for Company News

LearningSource – Helping to Power Xero

July 21, 2009 8:30 am, Published by

One of the things you’ll here software as a service (SaaS) companies talk about is “the ecosystem” – for those outside of software circles, the ecosystem is all about companies setting up software businesses that leverage another software product. Symbiosis is the key word here…

Our latest customer is a great example of this, all the more so because LearningSource is powering the ecosystem. Xero is an awesome Kiwi company that is building the world’s easiest online accounting application. Part of their strategy is to enable third parties, such as Bookkeeping and Beyond, Xuru, and Aspire Solutions to run training services for Xero customers.  In doing so, they are building an ecosystem (that word again) of separate but symbiotic businesses.

This is a doubly smart strategy because it both eases the on-ramp for Xero customers, and also enables the training partner themselves to derive revenue from the services delivered.

Xero training partners are able to promote their courses through the Training & Events section on Xero’s website.  A visitor is able to view all courses available, the details of each, and then if they decide to register for a course, they are passed directly through to the partner’s own website.

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As with our other customers, Xero was attracted to LearningSource in part because of it’s ability to provide a seamless and totally customised solution that complies with their other branding, formatting etc – as you’ll see below, the Xero Training & Events portal is completely integrated within Xero’s website – users don’t even release that when they are viewing this section of Xero’s website, they are in fact viewing LearningSource. You can read more about LearningSource’s  website integration feature on our own website.

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View Xero’s Training & Event portal.

This ecosystem attribute is really exciting, both because it shows just how much value there is from a business perspective in the network but also because it opens up an entire host of possibilities around building learning networks where different training platforms are able to talk to each other… but that’s a concept for another post. For now we’ll sign off with a big welcome and thank you to the Xero training team.

It’s All About Value

June 30, 2009 4:47 am, Published by

I’ve just spent a week in the USA at the Enterprise 2.0 conference. Without wanting to get evangelical about this, and with apologies to those who already know this, Enterprise 2.0 is all about finding new ways to work with business – ways that increase collaboration, enable sharing and, above all, strive to drive efficiencies within an organisation. Enterprise 2.0 is, in a nutshell, held up to be one of the legs upon which saving business in these troubled times stands.

At the conference there were a vast selection of sessions and a large number of software companies exhibiting. These companies covered a range of services but I was somewhat dismayed to find that many of them didn’t have an obvious value proposition – an easily understood one line statement that tells prospective customers exactly what benefit they’d derive from the product.

I’m pleased with my involvement with LearningSource specifically because it doesn’t suffer this problem – in discussions with the team at LearningSource the mantra is always about making a difference for the customer – in business speak “driving efficiencies and adding value” to what they do.

For those people outside of the software space this seems a "no brainer” – what sort of business would try and sell a product where the value wasn’t obvious? Sadly it’s much more common than many people would think.

Anyway – those are some thoughts from me. Value is a common feature of posts here and we’ll write more about this in future posts. We’re proud of what we can do for training organisations and invite you to take LearningSource for a spin to see what it’ll do for you.

‘Opportunities to Innovate’ Presentations

May 11, 2009 10:00 am, Published by

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been running sessions in both Auckland and Wellington showing organisations how LearningSource’s platform can be the starting point from which they can inject innovation into their business.

We have had great turnouts and from a really broad cross section of industry types. That shows us just how generic the issues we’re trying to solve really are – all very positive as we go forward!

The focus of the presentation was how new technology and fresh thinking can provide organisations ways to reduce overheads, add value to their current services, and extend their reach.  Innovations covered within the presentation included;

  • Software-as-a-Service
  • Integration of Systems
  • Learning Beyond the Classroom
  • Learning Networks

Access the presentation by clicking on the image below. If you have any questions we’d really welcome your contact

Building a Product for the World

April 27, 2009 8:59 am, Published by

We’re very aware that we live on an Island nation and that we need to focus on building a product that has the ability to work in different markets. We’ve always intended to build some geographical features into LearningSource once the base functionality was in place. Some work we’re doing for a new customer has sped up this process and we’re now able to release functionality that not only supports international customers, but supports customers with operations across multiple regions.

Specifically this new release allows for;

  • Multi currency
  • Multiple time zones
  • Multiple regions

What this means in practice is that an organisation that runs training events in, for example, New Zealand, Australia and the USA, could enter courses in the correct time zones, view courses split between geographical regions, and charge customers in their local currency.

This may seem like a pretty simple concept but it’s a significant amount of work.  What’s great is that building this structure into our underlying model gives us the ability to scale LearningSource at a whole new level.

Rapid Development – Rapid Gains

April 23, 2009 8:53 am, Published by

One of the great things that we keep saying about Software as a Service is that it allows for the rapid development and deployment of new functionality. Why is this important? Well in the current economic climate it means we can quickly develop new features in response to customer requests and, most importantly, deploy those features to give our customer quick wins in terms of efficiency.

A good example of this is some upgrades we’ve recently made to the order management process. Feedback from customers told us that here were some speed issues in this part of the application and that this was slowing them down. We’ve gone through and made some changes that are showing significant speed improvements on the pages and yet again are adding to the already significant time savings that LearningSource offers our customers.

While it may seem like a little thing – every little bit of efficiency helps an organisation and LearningSource is a great example of a service that is driving these efficiency gains. We’re proud of the fact that LearningSource is the only product that we’re aware of which integrates course enrolment from a website with the backend systems of a training provider – it really is a hands off automated process that will drive efficiency gains for our customers.

The Business Centre Goes Live

April 20, 2009 8:46 am, Published by

The Business Centre is a Wellington-based provider of services that offers;

  • Direct business advice and support
  • Access to Business Coaches and a wide range of Industry Experts
  • Financial and Accountancy services that are affordable yet provide the relationship and support small businesses need to succeed
  • Channels to help small businesses advertise and promote offers to one another

They do this by offering a large range of courses and a busy schedule – making them a perfect organisation to be helped by using LearningSource’s platform. We’ve been talking to James Fensom (director of The Business Centre) since we first started thinking about building a solution for training providers. His help has proved invaluable at giving us an insight into what makes the life of training providers difficult, and where we can help with that.

Given the history, we’re happy to see The Business Centre roll out their own LearningSource solution and especially so given the fact that, in these tough economic times, we can make their job easier and directly help with the great work they do to help small businesses.

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An Invite for ’Opportunities to Innovate’ seminar

April 9, 2009 11:39 am, Published by

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Challenging times call for innovative solutions. We’re getting the message again and again that training providers are looking for solutions that both drive efficiencies for them, as well as adding value to the core services they provide. We’re so confident of the gains that LearningSource can bring to an organisation that we’ve decided to run some public sessions around these themes.

So we invite you to attend a morning or evening session discussing how new technology and fresh thinking can provide you with ways to;

  • reduce your administrative and management overheads
  • provide exposure to new markets and new business opportunities
  • enhance the value of existing classroom courses through online communication and collaboration
  • manage your entire business operations within a single application, accessible any where anytime

Locations and Dates

Auckland CBD

Monday 27th April 5:00pm – 7:00pm for drinks and nibbles
NZIM Northern (Level 4), Phillips Fox Towers, 209 Queen St (view map)

Auckland Parnell

Tuesday 28th April 7:00am – 8:30am for a breakfast snack
Parnell Trust Jubilee Building, 545 Parnell RD. Parnell, Auckland (view map)

Wellington CBD

Thursday 7th May 5:00pm – 7:00pm for drinks and nibbles
Level 28, The Majestic Centre, 100 Willis Street, Wellington (view map)

Register your interest by sending an email to Phil Hartwick.  We hope to see you there.

Vision Manawatu goes live

April 9, 2009 8:17 am, Published by

Vision Manawatu, the agency responsible for promoting economic growth in the Manawatu region, has now rolled out LearningSource.  They run an extensive number of events and training courses for local businesses and LearningSource has been implemented in an attempt to reduce administration time and cost.

Over the last couple of months we have worked closely with Nikki Mills from Vision Manawatu to scope and develop some of the unique functionality they required to go live.  This included a custom migration of all the data from their old system into LearningSource. It’s great to see all the work come to life.

More than just cost cutting however, Vision Manawatu plans to enhance and extend their current training services by offering online access to course resources and supporting online communication and collaboration. Part of the way this is achieved is through the utilisation of CourseSpace, an individual space that provides learners with easy access to course resources and opportunities to participate in online activities such as discussions, wikis, and the course blog. The CourseSpace;

  • Provides easy access to course resources
  • Facilitates online communication and collaboration
  • Supports a continual growth of course content
  • Allows for extended value to be added to class learning

We’re please to have gotten Vision Manawatu up and running on our platform, and are looking forward to seeing the difference truly collabortive features like CoureSpace can add to the training relationship.

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The Microsoft BizSpark Programme

April 1, 2009 8:00 am, Published by

We just received notification that LearningSource has been accepted into the Microsoft BizSpark programme. Microsoft introduced the BizSpark programme in an effort to give new start-up businesses access to their software resource, but more importantly, to give high-potential businesses an introduction into the network of business partners that Microsoft has.

In Microsoft’s own words;

BizSpark is an innovative new program that unites Startups with entrepreneurial and technology resources in a global community with a common goal of supporting and accelerating the success of a new generation of high-potential Startups.

So why is this important, and why should current and potential LearningSource customers be pleased with this move? Well acceptance to BizSpark entails a process where both the quality of the solution, and the quality of the business itself, are assessed. As well as this to be accepted a business needs to be recommended by an existing BizSpark partner. Both of these facts together show that LearningSource has been built on a robust foundation that gives certainty both about our product and about our company – a seal of approval if you like.

We’re really pleased to have been accepted to the programme – partly because of the ability it gives us to leverage both the products and the networks that Microsoft have, but also because of what it says about us as a company. It’s yet another validation for us that both our product and our business are heading in the right direction – exciting times indeed!

Google Analytics

March 22, 2009 7:29 pm, Published by

Our new website was launched about three weeks ago and we have been doing all we can to get the word out and visits up. Our team were quick to setup the site with Google Analytics. While Google Analytics may be old hat for those in the tech industry, some of the training providers who use our software may not have heard of it.

This is a post for their information – Google Analytics is just brilliant.

It’s amazing the amount of information you can pull from the reporting, from a map of the world illustrating where visitors are coming from, statistics on the average time they spend on your site, right through to how they clicked through to the site in the first instance. You can use this information to understand your website visitors, and to ultimately improve your website content.

Google Analytics Dashboard example

Google Analytics Dashboard example

While the over analytic among us could possibly get too wound up in the detail and end up over analysing the information from just a month’s worth of data, for a new business such as ours (well newly in the open anyway) just being able to see how effective an email is by the number of hits received on the website after it has been sent is invaluable.

The other key statistic we monitor is the total number of unique visitors to our site. At this stage, a key focus for us is building awareness of what we do and spreading the word about our new services. Tracking the total number of specific individuals who visitor our site helps us measure our success.

If you haven’t setup your website on Google Analytics, I would highly recommend you do. It’s a really easy thing to do – if you have any problems feel free to contact us for some friendly advice.

And the best thing about Google analytics? It’s Free!