SumTotal® Systems, the newest version of its award-winning software, to train its clients’ “extended enterprise” of customers, partners and supply chain and distribution channels. SumTotal 7.5 is software that delivers and manages training for not only employees but also a wide range of audiences beyond an employer’s staff. Highlights of SumTotal 7.5 include: 1) a variety of ecommerce capabilities for managing the transactions tied to selling, buying, delivering and tracking training, 2) new capabilities for distributing and administering global learning in multiple languages, and 3) an array of reporting tools for analyzing, among other things, what people learn.
“We developed SumTotal 7.5 to give our clients a way to extend the management of training and talent beyond the walls of their organizations,” said Dave Crussell, chief operating officer of SumTotal. “We believe there is a significant business opportunity to help our 1,500 customers - and many new clients – extend training to a wider ecosystem of constituents.”
In 2006, the Santa Rosa, Calif.-based eLearning Guild, a worldwide association of more than 20,000 elearning professionals, surveyed its members – a mix of executives, instructional designers and course developers – about the future of elearning. The Guild found that 82 percent of respondents felt they would increase their use of elearning in the next 12 months to provide education to their customers. Seventy-five percent of respondents said they would increase the use of elearning to train channel partners.
In a December 2006 Gartner report, titled “Forecast: E-Learning Suites and Management Systems Software, Worldwide, 2005-2010,” researchers wrote that “Organizations are increasing their investments in training activities, both within and across the extended enterprise.”
With the ecommerce capabilities in SumTotal 7.5, employers can sell either a single seat for a training class or an entire learning and development program for tens of thousands of learners. SumTotal supports multiple payment methods including credit card, purchase order, check and cash. SumTotal 7.5 also gives administrators a single hub to manage training of all kinds, whether the training is for employees or paying customers.
For employers with a global audience of customers, employees and partners, SumTotal 7.5 will give training administrators a way to create one, universal training record in a single language. But, with a few keystrokes, the administrator can translate this data into virtually any language the learners prefer. For example, with SumTotal 7.5, if a training administrator is creating an online catalogue of workplace safety classes in English, then she can convert this data into French, German, Japanese or virtually any other language for learners across the globe to access.
“SumTotal 7.5 enables learners to find the training they want, in the language they prefer,” said Bill Docherty, senior director of product management. “But our software also ensures that administrators working behind the scenes can track this same data in one language and one system.”
Along with the ecommerce and multilingual features in SumTotal 7.5, the new platform offers users a way to develop a wide range of reports for analyzing learning. For example, the software includes reporting tools that can: 1) examine the features of a training facility prior to starting a class, 2) analyze answers that test-takers provide, 3) scrutinize invoices and budgets for developing programs for managing talent, and 4) pinpoint what a learner’s level of know-how is vis-à-vis his or her peers.
“We believe SumTotal 7.5 provides our clients with the infrastructure to not only develop the talent of their employees but also improve the knowledge and skills of their partners and customers,” said Don Fowler, chief executive officer of SumTotal.