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Rustici Software awarded CLO Award

We are thrilled to share that Chief Learning Officer (CLO) magazine announced the winners of the 2017 Learning in Practice Awards and Rustici Software won a Bronze Award for Excellence in Technology Innovation! Our submission recognized the work the SANS Institute has done using Content Controller to update their content distribution strategy. We are very thankful they allowed us to highlight their story and thrilled to consider these industry leaders our clients.

The SANS story

SANS’s use of Content Controller is an interesting story in and of its own, which we have explored in the SANS Content Controller case study. But to submit the award we also dug into the overall landscape. The difference between what SANS is doing to distribute content and what the industry has historically done is pretty staggering.

The Learning Management System (LMS) marketplace is expected to be valued at $7B/year by 2018 and is primarily split into two deployment models: on-premise and SaaS. LMSs have been supporting off-the-shelf eLearning content via third-party content providers since 1997. The model may appear simple: content providers license (for a certain number of users usually) courses to client who then access content via their own LMS. But this twenty-year old model has inherent flaws: content creators have found a lack of license control, a risk of inaccurate content, multi-language pain and a lack of data regarding course engagement.

The SANS Institute has solved these traditional challenges by shifting their distribution model. Using Content Controller, SANS centrally hosts their content to easily deliver the latest, most accurate content to learners and streamline their license admin. They’ve seen a 90% reduction in time spent updating existing content, saving $100K in employee costs per year. If you want to learn more about their story, check out the SANS case study.

Celebrating other clients who won CLO awards

In addition to our win, we were pleased to see that a number of other Rustici clients were also CLO award winners. The Learning in Practice Awards celebrate those who have crafted new and innovative education initiatives. Booz Allen Hamilton won A Silver Business Partnership Award and their Director, David Sylvester, won a Gold Trailblazer Award. Our client Grovo won a Bronze Excellence in eLearning award. Hats off to them!

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At Rustici Software, we’re lucky to have a slew of great clients doing interesting things with the products we provide. Yes, we solve very specific problems, but, regardless, it’s rare that any two use cases are alike which keeps me constantly engaged (with no shortage of iced coffee, of course) and certainly keeps the sales team and developers on their toes. On even more rare occasions, we have clients like hyperCision who come to us looking for creative ways to provide solutions to the customers they serve. We love a challenge, and we love the audible sigh of relief we hear when we get to say, “Hey, we can fix that for you.”

In the case of hyperCision, a trend was spotted amongst folks struggling to solidify a consistent, responsive eLearning player within SAP’s Learning Solution (LSO). hyperCision, via their HCLabs division, took that challenge head on. How nice of them! Lucky for the both of us, it just so happens we had a solution ready to go in SCORM Engine’s best-in-breed content player. And, thus, Twine was born.

Because everyone knows “if you build it, they will come,” or, more often than not in the world of software, if they come and the timing is right, you will build it, companies like Lockheed Martin found their way to hyperCision and Twine was just the solution they needed [insert aforementioned, audible sigh of relief]. The beauty of Twine is that it’s seamlessly pre-integrated into SAP’s Learning Solution with no up front work required. Thus allowing Lockheed Martin to get back to what’s important, delivering trustworthy learning experiences.

In the case study we bring you this week, you’ll learn that important hurdles for Lockheed Martin to jump were the ability for their learners to play content in a mobile environment and to play xAPI content in a responsive eLearning environment. We don’t want to spoil too much, but Twine was able to save the day yet again. We love the opportunity to share our stories, and hope you’ll enjoy learning more about Lockheed Martin’s use of hyperCision’s Twine as much as we loved telling it.

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Last week we were incredibly excited to share a brand new, Content Controller case study for The SANS Institute. The case study describes the success they have using Rustici Software’s eLearning content distribution solution Content Controller to help them distribute and manage training content. When we were publishing the case study, we couldn’t help but reflect upon how wonderful they are as a client. SANS has continuously inspired us, encouraged us and collaborated with us. We’ve created a better product, and are a better company, because of them.

We started talking to SANS about their eLearning content distribution challenges two years ago during ATD ICE 2015 (Side Note: Tim will be speaking at this year’s ATD conference!). At the time, Content Controller was a glimmer in our eye. We had begun thinking about what it would mean to help companies better manage and control their content through eLearning content distribution solutions, but we hadn’t worked out what a product entailed.

We were therefore lucky to start chatting with SANS, who shared that same glimmer in their eye. At the time, SANS was struggling to effectively release version updates for their customers and they felt like there had to be a better way to manage content.

Worlds collided; the timing was perfect. Content Controller was born.

Since those first conversations, SANS has been a collaborative partner involved in the development, launch and evolution of Content Controller. We have had meetings in person to discuss product mock ups. We have picked their brains about how they use the product. We have supported feature requests inspired by their challenges.

Point of fact, SANS was the inspiration for one of our most popular features, Equivalents. SANS customers were finding it cumbersome and time-consuming to manage multiple languages of the same course. As a solution, SANS wanted to enable their customers to present a single course to a learner and let the user select their language. Equivalents solves this problem precisely and our product is better for it.

Last year, Content Controller was awarded a Brandon Hall Group’s Excellence in Technology Award for Best Advance in Content Management Technology. This award granted to Content Controller for revolutionizing content management and delivery could not have been possible without fantastic customers like the SANS Institute.

We are unbelievably thankful to SANS for inspiring us to create a better product and making our days more enjoyable through collaboration. And we can’t thank them enough for being champions of our company.

So, two years later, we’d like to say, “Cheers!” to SANS. We’re glad to know you and incredibly happy to work with you. Here’s to many years to come.

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This week LTG (our parent company) announced the formal acceptance of their bid to acquire NetDimensions. Depending on who you are and what you know, this may or may not seem like a big deal, or even a potential threat.

I wanted to quickly, publicly, and officially alleviate any concerns you may have.

When LTG acquired us a little over a year ago, Mike and I made clear that it was crucial to us that Rustici Software be allowed to serve its customers in exactly the way it always has… agnostically. We’ve never recommended amongst our LMS or content providing customers. We just wouldn’t do it, and we won’t do it. And that’s still true today, with full knowledge of the NetDimensions acquisition.

A related story: LTG owns a content authoring platform, gomo learning, which does not use any Rustici products. At the same time, we have provided our SCORM Driver product (which also supports xAPI/cmi5) to Articulate, Adobe, and Dominknow, competitors of gomo’s.

Early in the integration process, we were asked by gomo folks if we could integrate gomo directly into SCORM Cloud as a way to introduce their product to our many users of SCORM Cloud. Doing so almost certainly would have brought some prospects to gomo and increased the revenue of the group as a whole, and could have potentially brought Rustici some referral revenue as well.

We refused. And LTG supported that choice.

(gomo has also been given the freedom not to acquire our software, too, for what it’s worth because they already had a reasonable solution in place.)

This autonomy is crucial to our ability to serve so many of the vendors in the industry, many of whom compete with each other.

If some of the folks at NetDimensions ask my opinion about how and whether they should adopt xAPI, I will certainly offer it, just as I would for any other LMS vendor who calls upon me. If those same people ask me to inform them about another LMS vendor’s plans in this regard, I merely point them to publicly available information. More directly: we will offer our services and products to NetD, and they will have the ability to procure them, just like we would with any other LMS provider.

So, congratulations to LTG and NetD both. It’s an exciting combination for parts of the group, and business as usual for Rustici Software.

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Welcome to week one of the post-acquisition Rustici Software world. I just thought I’d take a moment here to discuss one of the reasons we agreed to sell Rustici Software to LTG, because it’s not all about the money.

Mike and I were seeking investment funding for Watershed, but we really weren’t on the lookout for anything related to Rustici Software. It was a profitable business, I know very well how to run it, and we have several sets of work that give us cause for optimism. LTG, however, saw the value in both Watershed from an investment point of view and Rustici Software from a market and profitability point of view.

After LTG’s first visit, Mike and I asked ourselves two questions.

  1. Did we believe that we would be able to maintain our strange and highly-valued culture through an acquisition? Having a place we want to come to work has always been a fundamental requirement for us.
  2. Did we believe that we would be able to serve our customers in the way we always had?

Throughout the negotiations, due diligence, and these two long days as an LTG company 😉 we’ve consistently believed that we could do both of those things and still do. LTG is not an LMS provider like some of our prior suitors have been. We always used to worry that an acquisition of that sort might include aggressive interactions with our customers. With LTG, we’re going to continue to be agnostic, supportive of the standards, and generally the same company we always have been. We’re excited about it, and excited about continuing to support our customers and the industry in general in exactly the same way.

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