| By Micah Fairchild
Vendor Solution Brief: Certpoint Learning Management Software
Originally founded as Vuepoint Corporation in 1996 and headquartered in Rosyln Heights, NY, Certpoint Systems, Inc. is a corporate provider of learning management software solutions with global offices in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Started by father and son team Constantin and Ara Ohanian as a way to "help large corporations transform business critical knowledge into measurable results"; the business software company has managed to stay private, independent, and dedicated to a managed growth strategy, continuous improvement, and customer-centric innovation.
Much of Certpoint's growth and market position has been achieved through industry-leading, advanced information gathering through venues such as Forum Live/Virtual Forum (created to generate user dialogue); internal SWAT Teams (created to diagnose and fix client issues); and the oft-cited Executive Round Tables (created to solicit executive-level input and currently seating Black & Decker, The Hartford, Raymond James, The Pall Corporation, Toyota, and The Midwest Energy Association).
Certpoint has also strategically fostered deep partnerships with numerous companies to improve the depth and breadth of both their technology and tactical offerings. In particular, the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research & Training (CERT), along with being the driving force for Certpoint's earlier referenced name change, is the commercial division of the Higher Colleges of Technology in the United Arab Emirates, and provides Certpoint with countless opportunities for innovation projects through their applied technology research. Other strategic partnerships include those of Haig Barrett (for learning management consulting), Skillsoft (for 3rd-party content development); and Novilinguists Multimedia (for multilingual localization services).
In turn, Certpoint's efforts have garnered the type of critical praise that remains allusive for many smaller software vendors. Specifically, Certpoint has been:
- Cited as a "Customer Satisfaction" leader in Bersin & Associates' Corporate Learning Management System (LMS) report;
- Highlighted as a "Visionary" in Gartner's Magic Quadrant (MQ) for Corporate Learning Systems; and
- Recognized with the Brandon Hall Silver Award for "Best Advance in Learning Management Technology".
- CEO & Co-Founder, Ara A. Ohanian
- Executive Chairman &
Co-founder, Constantin Ohanian
- CFO, Daniel M. Pess
- CLO (Chief Learning Officer), Dr. Denis Finnegan
- >$25M in annual revenues (Gartner estimate)
- Up to 90%** of customers choose Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) deployment
- Marquis customers include L'Oreal, Toyota, Black & Decker, and The Hartford
- ADP TotalSource
- Haig Barrett
- LINE Communications
- Novilinguists Multimedia
Certpoint's Customer Target Market
Learning software solutions are geared towards business-unit deployment (for organizations of all sizes), and include industry specific editions for the vertical markets of a) automotive, b) energy, c) finance/insurance, d) food and beverage, e) government, f) healthcare, g) manufacturing, and h) retail.
Certpoint Software's Application Purpose
Certpoint's flagship VLS Suite combines the varied aspects of traditional learning management functions as well as learning content management functions into a single (and patented) "all-in-one" system. This learning software system is comprised of:
- A tool that enables content creation and management for shareable learning objects (i.e. SCORM content);
- An administrator "system" for managing all knowledge-building activities (online and offline);
- A portal function for employee feedback and assessments;
- A "competency management" tool for core and functional competency administration;
- A "performance management" tool for learning and performance objective alignment;
- A Web 2.0 and social collaboration function for blog, wiki, video, and podcast learning add-ons; and
- An optimized mobile alternative for all previously mentioned capabilities.
Certpoint's Perfect Prospect Profile (PPP)
Certpoint's Learning Management System (LMS) is currently used globally by over 1,000 organizations (in 80+ countries and 40+ languages) in myriad markets—and includes the likes of L'Oreal, Honda, Toyota, Black & Decker, and the Hartford. Though leveraged for software learning solutions that extend to all areas of the enterprise, the bulk of Certpoint solutions are designed for the channels of customer support, marketing, and sales. Buyers of learning software should short list Certpoint if:
- You're a company within the target market profile that is looking for a robust all-in-one LMS/LCMS (Learning Content Management System) including competency and performance management
- You're a global company in need of international LMS capabilities
Certpoint's Technical Specs
Built around Microsoft (MS) Technologies, Certpoint's flagship VLS is hosted on the MS Windows Server platform (in Certpoint's Verizon Business datacenter) and utilizes the SQL Server database and .NET development framework. Available as an enterprise learning platform, Certpoint solutions have multiple delivery capabilities and options including Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), on-demand hosted, or mobile learning software answer (for iPad, Blackberry Playbook and Android tablets).
Certpoint's Primary Competitors
The market for Learning Management Systems (LMS) has changed dramatically within just the last two years, as larger companies have focused acquisition attention on leading learning management systems to round out their end-to-end HR solutions. Even so, other than the Big 5 (Saba, Cornerstone OnDemand, Plateau, SumTotal, and Taleo), numerous niche and visionary players still exist in the space and Certpoint faces stiff competition from:
Element K — Has one of the most developed solutions of the LMS space (including integration points with social software leader Jive Software), but limited to a U.S.-centric market presence.
Meridian Knowledge Solutions — Customers cite excellent quality of authoring tools, but certain products within the line need more advanced tools for analytics and reporting.
IMC — Though well-known in European markets (and one of the few SAP Netweaver certified solutions), product quality has been questioned by a number of customers.
Outstart — An expanding player in the international learning software industry, Outstart still suffers from a perception of limited enterprise-level utility.
Strengths of Certpoint Learning Management Software
- An overwhelming amount of energy (and what little marketing the company does) is spent on Research and Development (R&D) through "think tanks, user groups, white papers, and client forums" in an effort to get the best software product to customers.
- Given the size of the company, Certpoint's international reach is sizeable. This is a testament not only to the multilingual efforts put forth, but also the global need that the Certpoint solution addresses.
- Certpoint's optimization authoring tool allows for content to be created once and be available for both mobile and traditional browser consumption.
Weaknesses of Certpoint Learning Management Software
- Though laudable from the vantage point of customer relationship management (CRM), Certpoint's strategic move of "effectively removing the marketing function as the intermediary between our clients and our R&D" has hurt the company's brand awareness.
- Offerings are comprehensive, which potentially alienate interested buyers with already functioning competency and performance management software systems.
- While Gartner's research has found above average customer service ratings for Certpoint, customers have also indicated that the company lacks a sufficient number of support staff to achieve timely project completion.
Bottom-line for Certpoint's Learning Management Software
Given the merger and acquisition activity that has been taking place within the LMS space over the last few years, it is somewhat surprising that Certpoint hasn't been gobbled up by one of the larger HCM organizations looking to capitalize on Certpoint's competency and international reach. That being said, the future of Certpoint may well be defined by the course it has chosen to take up until now—create and leverage an all-in-one system as opposed to modular offerings. While this strategy does likely provide a better all-around product offering than many LMS competitors, Certpoint (thanks to the fact that it's a comprehensive product that encompasses all learning-related functions including competency and performance management) may have inadvertently created an uphill battle for itself by not going mainstream modular. While it's too soon to tell what the ultimate future of Certpoint will be, innovation and a healthy dose of compromise (on the whole modular argument) will undoubtedly be keys to Certpoint's sustained success.
Categories: Learning and Development Systems
Author: Micah Fairchild