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Dave Foxall ANCILE Solutions uLearn Learning Management Software Review

3.5 stars Average rating: 3.5 (from 90 votes)
 By Dave Foxall

ANCILE Solutions uLearn Learning Management System—A Vendor Solution Brief

Headquartered in Elkridge, Maryland, ANCILE Solutions came out of a 2010 acquisition, in which Court Square Capital Partners purchased RWD Technologies (started in 1999) and renamed the software products division, ANCILE Solutions. With approximately 150 staff globally (with international offices in Australia, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and the UK) ANCILE is a boutique firm and 2011 marked the first complete year in which the company operated under its new moniker.

The company's stated purpose is: "Employees – the business drivers – are an organization's most valuable asset. At ANCILE, our goal is to help employees learn and perform – and help organizations improve the bottom line." Rated as a niche player in the 2011 Gartner Magic Quadrant for corporate learning systems, ANCILE's products are now used in over 88 countries, supporting 30+ languages (User Interface is available in 8 languages); with adoption now picking up and growing at a significant rate (gaining 330+ customers that support 920K employees in 2011 alone).

ANCILE Solutions' Software Application Purpose

uLearn is ANCILE's enterprise learning management system, winner of the bronze award in the Best Advance in Learning Management Technology for External Training category in the Brandon Hall Learning Technology Awards 2011. Deployment is either on-premises or hosted and uLearn can be integrated with ANCILE's other talent management software products: uPerform (content creation and management) and uBenchmark (employee performance monitoring). uLearn creates a library of the organization's learning content, allowing simple deployment and user competency tracking; and aside from SCORM conformance, key features of this learning management software include the feature sets to:

  • Create and manage multiple courseware catalogs;
  • Manage instructor-led events, online courses, and assessments;
  • Establish role-based training plans;
  • Track completions and assessments;
  • Turn content into revenue via e-commerce transactions;
  • Create standard and custom reports;
  • Tailor branding to support differing geographies, subsidiaries and business units;
  • Support assessments and certifications; and
  • Scale to meet requirements from a handful of employees to tens of thousands.

ANCILE Solutions' Customer Target Market

With 3,500 global customers, ANCILE as a company is aiming for Fortune 500 companies, (half of the Fortune 100 use ANCILE products) although they see their product line as applicable to numerous industries, including: manufacturing, energy, automotive, aerospace, healthcare, life sciences, consumer products, finance, telecommunications, professional services, higher education, and public sector. Current clients include: Lockheed Martin Corporation, Estée Lauder, Kraft Foods, Banco do Brasil, YKK Corporation, Orange County Public Schools, and Singapore Power.

ANCILE Solutions' Perfect Prospect Profile (PPP)

ANCILE's uLearn system can be applied to organizations of just about any size but would appeal to multinational concerns for which integration of learning across language and geography is a big factor. In addition, integration with uPerform offers a seamless learning management and content set up. In fact, SAP resells uPerform as part of the SAP Productivity Pak and ANCILE itself is an SAP PartnerEdge Software Solution partner—holding SAP's certification for Enterprise Support Integration. As well, commercial training providers may also be attracted by the e-commerce functionality.

ANCILE Solutions' Technical Specs

ANCILE is built as a client web application and shares browser compatibility with Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. Further, the server application is compatible with Microsoft Windows Server; SQL Server or Oracle; and features SSO (Single sign-on) support, AICC HACP (an HTTP-based communication protocol), SCORM 1.2, and Package Exchange Notification System (PENS).

In addition to these technical elements, while ANCILE does provide managed hosting services, the vendor did not provide any specific information about this deployment option. As such, organizations looking to leverage this capability should conduct due diligence to discover what security, Service Level Agreements (SLAs), uptime assurances and rate differentials come with this service.

ANCILE Solutions' Primary Competitors

ANCILE has a broad global scope and has been rated highly for customer service and post-implementation support. On these two criteria, both Saba and Plateau Systems come out as key competitors. While less strong on global capabilities, CertPoint Learning Management System, Element K and SkillSoft have all been similarly praised for strong learning management software capabilities and customer support.

Strengths of ANCILE Solutions uLearn Software

  • Global presence in North America, Europe, Asia/Pacific and Latin America.
  • Good customer feedback for on-going communication and customer support.
  • Integration between ANCILE products and the above-mentioned SAP certification and partnership.

Weaknesses of ANCILE Solutions' uLearn Software

  • Brand awareness is low compared to competitors (possibly due to the 2010 acquisition and rebranding).
  • A lack of social learning features and social media integration.
  • According to Gartner, reporting and analytics lag behind competitors.

Bottom-line for ANCILE Solutions uLearn Learning Management System

Although rated well for customer relationships and support, ANCILE's small market presence has so far restricted the company to niche status. However, it appears as though the company is beginning to emerge from this thanks to the quick implementation times of its products, their intuitive interfaces, and the global reach of their HR software applications. Still, the lack of overt social media functionality places the uLearn package behind the curve on this talent management trend; an issue that, given ANCILE's reputation for listening to its customers, is only a matter of time before rectified. End

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Ancile's uLearn system can be applied to organizations of any size but would most closely suit multinational concerns for whom integration of learning across language and geography is a factor.


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