LinkedIn+Microsoft: Set to change the skilling and learning game
My blog on Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn and ‘What it means to HR’, was mainly from tech integration and big data analytics perspective. Here is the second part of the blog that will cover how this acquisition will affect skilling, learning and capability building considering this acquisition is set to disrupt players across the supply chain – from education to corporate learning.
LinkedIn bought Lynda.com, a platform that provides online courses in 2015 for $1.5 billion. Many analysts considered this as a “genius” move as LinkedIn with Lynda.com could close the gap between talent and jobs. LinkedIn is a repository of the jobs & skills we have today and the potential jobs we could be interested in; and with Lynda.com, LinkedIn could also recommend courses or career paths that can take us to our future jobs. It fits perfectly. Now, with Microsoft buying LinkedIn, the stakes just got higher. Given that Microsoft has 1 billion users and that LinkedIn has 433 million, this is a lot of learners we are talking about.
This will disrupt capability building across the supply chain. Let’s start with the universities. In India, there is fundamental flaw in the education ecosystem, which we know about well. Several reports reveal that only 25% of graduates are employable and as HR leaders, we also know that there exists a ton of jobs that just aren’t being filled. To solve this situation, one needs to know who these professionals are and the jobs that are available (LinkedIn facilitate this). Then one needs to know the skills that are required to fill those gaps and have the coursework to help bridge the gap (LinkedIn and Lynda.com could facilitate this together). However, Microsoft can do this today at a much larger scale. Employers will increasingly hire for skills and not for degrees so we will see disruptions at the educational front with more students investing in building skills that lead them to a job, instead of investing in degrees that may or may not lead them to a job.
The second element of the supply chain that will see disruption is the traditional approach to corporate training. Hundreds of millions of professionals give their jobs and educational history voluntarily to LinkedIn. LinkedIn has the richest data about company structures, job roles and skills required, career paths across and outside organizations and industries. This richness of data allows for some unique analysis of what courses, programs or certifications lead to desired jobs and improved career paths. This is very relevant for both corporate L&D teams and learners themselves. Organizations cannot lose a golden opportunity to engage employees and support them with their learning journeys. L&D needs to provide opportunities for career progression and provide employees best-in-class technology (that is mobile, social, integrated, and on the cloud) enabled learning paths. Now Microsoft will be able to help in this. L&D teams that are not up to date on providing real-time, on the job bite-sized learning that is relevant, accessible across devises and current are at the risk of being left out as not providing such elements will result in the learners themselves looking for sources to improve skills and grow in their careers.
The third implication of this integration will be the changing landscape of online training. With Lynda.com as part of LinkedIn assets, it is likely that Microsoft will aggressively enter into the online training field through Lynda.com offerings and integrate that with their own. That could mean Microsoft has bigger plans for future professionals and their educational training. It will be interesting to watch out for the dynamics this will create in an already competitive e-learning landscape.
Disruption is everywhere. Here is one more chapter: Universities, service providers in the learning space and L&D teams need to move. And move fast. They are all in the race to compete to stay relevant to the consumers, the learners.