The impact of technology on work is an increasingly important conversation today, with researchers like Deloitte devoting significant time to understanding how leadership can reskill their workers and prepare for the future. At Liferay, we’ve seen customers like Smith & Nephew find great value in using Liferay to tackle these challenges with the help of our partner Valamis and its Learning Experience Platform (LXP).
Recently, I had a chance to talk with Mika Kuikka, President of Valamis Inc., about how an LXP can help digital leaders provide more personalized and more effective training for their employees, enabling them to stay ahead of the curve as the nature of work evolves
Say a little about yourself and what Valamis' vision is.
I (Kuikka) co-founded Valamis (formerly Arcusys) with our CEO Jussi Hurskainen and two others back in 2003. I moved to the United States from Finland in 2015 to establish a Valamis office in Boston and am responsible for running and growing our North American operations. Valamis' vision is to help companies of all sizes navigate the digital transformation of learning in the workplace. We aim to do this with our learning experience platform, supported with Artificial Intelligence.
AI is a hot topic today, and we learned from your presentation at LSNA that it impacts how we work and how we learn. If you had to summarize, why should digital leaders care about AI in learning?
Just as leaders in every industry should care about the implications of AI and how it can be applied to improve daily work, digital leaders should care about AI in learning. AI has the potential to aggregate information from various sources of data and curate personalized learning recommendations. The more personal and relevant learning is, the greater an impact it will have on the learner.
Can you tell us anything about what Valamis has planned for bringing AI into its platform?
Valamis Learning Experience Platform was the first learning platform to have AI. Our AI powered chatbot, Valbo, recommends personalized learning content for learners based on a number of factors, from learning performance to individual preferences, and brings learning closer to the learners across channels.
What results have your customers seen with Valbo?
Valbo is still new, but we’ve already received positive feedback from our customers on decreasing the time it takes for knowledge acquisition. Employees have found their answers through Valbo rather than by disrupting their colleagues to find information, saving time for everyone.
From your experience, who owns learning at companies? Is it individual managers for their teams, or does it need to come from a higher level and be applied across the company?
Learning, or internal training, is usually owned by Human Resources and the Leadership & Development team. Organization structure varies between different companies, of course. Depending on the size of the organization, you might have a Chief Learning Officer and a full L&D department, an internal training department or someone in HR responsible for training.
In most organizations, you need both organization-wide training — for example, for compliance and generic topics — but also more specific and hands-on training given to the teams by the managers or local trainers. This way you don’t have to push everything to everyone and the learning is more personalized.
For managers that are struggling with how to reskill their workers, where would you recommend that they start?
Companies should look to leaders in their industry. What companies are reskilling their workforces well? How are they doing it? How can it be applied to your business and built upon? It is important to have the tools to see skill gaps before analyzing them and well before acting upon them. It is even more important to set realistic and discernible business goals that the new skills will help achieve. Once business goals are set, a learning strategy can be put in place tied to those goals.
I noticed that you have some exciting customer stories on your website, including one about NASA. Is there a particular project that your team was really excited to work on?
I am particularly excited about our work with the global travel technology giant, Amadeus. Amadeus' Mary Brosch and Becky Gonzalez presented at the Liferay Symposium about their Agile learning strategy and goal to scale personalized learning to one million users. Amadeus shares a common vision and roadmap with Valamis, and some of our custom development has even been incorporated in our core product, available for all our clients. Helping Amadeus achieve their vision is a project I am more than excited to be a part of.
The possibilities of artificial intelligence are finally beginning to catch up with the hype. Though we’ve technically had AI technology since the 1940s, companies are now able to apply it to core business challenges and realize significant results. Paired with personalization, AI in learning unlocks the ability to meet people where they are and ensure they have the training they need to be successful at their jobs.