In 1999 when Jon Husband coined the phrase “wirearchy” to express a non hierarchical, distributive way of working it might have seemed far fetched that the rigid organizational structures we have worked with since World War Two would be dismantled. 6a00e54fe3e1f288330192ac156852970d-800wi

The truth is, organizational structure is increasingly porous. Deloitte estimates that by 2020 “half the people you rely on won’t work for your organization”.

The management of learning, skills and talent and subsequent talent optimization must be organized for modern employees. Imagine the following: someone in your organization has a problem. They reach out for support from their personal network. The message is responded to by an expert, and the problem solved. So much for performance support.

Sharing, analyzing and benefiting from information exchange no longer relies on people being part of a structure. They only need to be on the network. Jon Husband’s wirearchy might just be what we need for a well connected responsive learning system that stretches outside the organization but which, thanks to its analytical power, benefits the organization hugely.

Ara Ohanian

Ara Ohanian
VP & GM, Infor

This is an abridged version of a thought piece written by Ara Ohanian posted at
http://blogs.infor.com/infor-certpoint-learning/2013/07/can-learning-management-survive-the-freedom-of-wirearchy.html

Thank you,
Ara Ohanian
Infor VP & GM Learning Technologies

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Jul 3

Ara Ohanian
Infor VP & GM Learning Technologies

Organizations are changing. The workforce is changing. The way we learn and handle talent management is changing.

It’s time to take notice- because the old ways are set to become history.

At some point this year, Millennials [people who came of age around the year 2000), will become the greatest single cohort of workers in employment. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics by 2020 Millennials will make up the majority of the workforce.

While you can’t generalize about half an entire workforce, there is no doubt that Millennials bring with them different ways of working that transform everything. All this from a generation which, a decade ago, was barely on our radar and made up less than 20% of the workforce.

Characteristics of these new employees, which will determine how organizations are structured as well as how talent is trained and managed, are these:

  • Always on: the modern workplace is always on. And so is the digitally savvy workforce. Like it or not, mobile devices mean we are capable of answering email at any time. Our highly competitive and increasingly global work environment means regular hours are long gone. Your competitors aren’t sleeping, so you can’t afford to either.
  • Borderless: organizations are borderless, and not just in the sense of geography. Increasingly the effective enterprise includes people who are not employed by the organization. They may be in the supply chain. They may be distributors. They may be consultants. The contemporary L&D team has to support all these workers whatever their relationship with the organization. According to the Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2013 Report, by the year 2020 half the people you rely on won’t actually work for you.
  • Self-directed: increased consumerization of technology and availability of information has led to a shift in the mentality of the workforce. Increasingly, people are self-directed, expecting to find out things for themselves, to do it fast, and to share their findings with others. They are not going to wait for a course to learn, they want it now.
  • Unstructured: The modern workplace is less hierarchical, more concerned with individual value and contribution than with organograms. Spurred on by today’s social tools we are closer than ever to Jon Husband’s wirearchy.

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Jun 20

Are you ready for the future of work?

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The future of work is going to be different – but maybe not in the way you expect.

The classic utopian vision of a workforce of 20 somethings sipping lattes while creating high value knowledge work on their Mac airbooks is the stuff of Hollywood and aspiration. The reality is more challenging and more interesting…

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New data released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has been recently highlighted by Josh Bersin in Forbes. The overall news is good for the US, with 3.1 million jobs created since January 2011 even though unemployment remains high at 7.8 percent.

The bureau breaks down this data in some detail. And in his regular conversations with the industry, Josh pulls out several themes, three of which are related.

First Josh notes that businesses are talent restrained once again. Second, the contingent workforce is growing (40 percent plus of all positions are now contingent). And finally, employee engagement continues to wane.

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Jun 11

Human capital – it’s back

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McKinsey’s 1999 blockbuster “the war for talent” set corporate minds racing at the turn of the millennium. It announced that people were an organization’s most important asset and that measuring their impact was crucial.

Except it wasn’t.

Ara Ohanian
Infor VP & GM Learning Technologies

The emphasis on human capital died away in the recession at the early part of this century. Jobs were scarcer and talent was easier to find. But today, a combination of factors, including a burgeoning US economy, has put human capital at top of the CEO agenda. The Conference Board’s 2013 CEO Challenge Survey places human capital well above operational excellence and innovation as the key challenge that keeps business leaders awake at night. Strategic recruiting, employee development, social networking, and internal employee communications are all critical business issues.

Other factors too identified by Bersin by Deloitte in a recent report pick out reasons why we are facing the perfect storm for HR tech – currently a $14bn plus global market that shows every sign of continuing to grow.

The key message from the Bersin report is that corporate users are hungry for change and that Cloud based, user-friendly, integrated systems are now making them feel spoilt for choice. With 57% of companies planning to invest in major new HR software in the next 18 months, we can expect this to be a dramatically growing market and to see some major shifts within the supplier community.

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May 23

Learning at work day inspires…

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In the UK, the campaign for learning has annual event called Adult Learning Week during which one day is highlighted as Learning at Work Day. http://bit.ly/13OMfEZ

Of course in reality, every day is learning day at work whether you realize you are learning or not. But the great thing about Learning at Work Day is that it pulls everyone together in a celebration of learning: large organizations may put on short sample courses, individuals may help people learn something new and vendors will often give courses and opportunities away.

Ara Ohanian
CEO & Chief Happiness Officer

The aim of all this activity is twofold. Firstly it raises the profile of learning within the organization for managers who often don’t know what is happening in their training departments and also for those who do not consider themselves engaged in learning at work. It spreads the word about learning internally. But, because of the publicity surrounding it, the day also raises the profile of learning at work at large. This keeps learning on the political agenda and means that organizations not celebrating Learning at Work Day get the message…

All told then it sounds like Learning at Work Day is a great initiative. I have only one issue with it – it shouldn’t be national. Why don’t we all work together to make 2014 a global celebration of all that we do best at work? Join the conversation #NLAWDay

Thank you,
Ara Ohanian
Chief Happiness Officer & CEO, CERTPOINT Systems

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Mar 20

International Happiness Day

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Today is International Happiness Day, and it feels like my birthday!

Ara Ohanian
CEO & Chief Happiness Officer

A few years ago, when I changed the title on my business card from CEO to Chief Happiness Officer, many colleagues and friends thought I was losing my mind. But today, they have come around and understand why it was an important business and personal decision.

Changing the middle part of my title from “executive” to “happiness” was similar to Richard Nixon convincing the world to move away from the gold standard and pegging all currencies and commodities to the Almighty Green Back: The Dollar!

Today, for me the new currency of business and personal success is happiness. Without it ideas can’t find a home, and synergies can’t develop among teams at work or on the field.

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Mar 4

CERTPOINT gears up for growth with Infor

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Today sees the beginning of a new era for CERTPOINT Systems and I wanted to share the news …

This morning we announced our intent to merge with Infor, the world’s the third-largest provider of enterprise applications and services.

Over the past 17 years we’ve built a company I’m incredibly proud of. We have seen it grow from a small start up, launched in 1996 when my father, Constantin Ohanian, and I were inspired by the way new technologies were changing the business landscape. It was our belief that large corporations would need to transform business critical knowledge into measurable results for competitive knowledge. We also believed that the solution had to be technologically advanced, yet simple enough to be operated by non-technical people. The result was our all-in-one software platform CERTPOINTVLS™ designed with one simple goal – to deliver business impact.

And now, thanks to the collective talent, drive and passion of the greatest team of people I have had the privilege to work with, we have grown to become an award-winning global learning technologies innovator and pioneers of world-class of social and mobile learning technologies.

Inevitably, we reached a tipping point – our business needed greater depth of resource to grow further, to fulfil its potential and become a true global powerhouse. So for some time we have been looking for a like-minded partner who shares our culture of passion and focus on innovation.

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Feb 28
  • Facebook reaches 76 percent of the smartphone market and accounts for 23 percent of total time spent using apps each month.

    Ara Ohanian

  • 2012: smartphone penetration crossed 50 percent for the first time in the US
  • people spend 37 percent online on mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets
  • mobile shopping accounted for 11 percent of e-commerce in the fourth quarter of 2012, up from 3 percent in the period two years earlier.

A recent report “2013 US digital future in focus” by ComScore, which tracks Web and mobile usage, firmly places mobile center stage of digital business, arguing that enterprise will have to scramble to stay ahead of consumers’ changing behavior.

What does this mean for learning and development?

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Stephany Wilson and Ting-Yu Yang

More people in the world have access to mobile phone subscriptions than they do to water or toothbrushes…

More UK children aged 7-11 own a mobile phone rather than a book….

These facts set the stage for Stephany Wilson, E-Learning Manager of Sonic, America’s largest chain of drive in restaurants, who spoke on mobile learning at Europe’s Learning Technologies 2013 in London.

Stephany revealed her experiences on how she delivers current, timely, sensitive, relevant product and brand knowledge to Sonic managers across the USA. Sonic has over 3,500 drive-in coast to coast and serves approximately three million customers every day.

We asked Stephany to share her thoughts in a guest blog…..

Ara Ohanian predicts L&D trends for 2013

At Sonic, we have to disseminate information in the fastest, most effective way to all our store managers to help them do their jobs. When the people you need to find are more likely to be walking around a restaurant than sitting at a computer, reaching them can be tough. For me, the answer was simple: go mobile.

What is it good for?

My first step was to evaluate Sonic’s mobile delivery approach.

We knew managers were not finding all the information they wanted, fast enough, from their paper documentation and we had to avoid that happening on their mobile devices. So, we concentrated on key information needed – for example, new product changes, time-sensitive alerts and reference materials.

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Jan 25

2012 saw the world gripped by a Korean artist-turned-global-phenomenon thanks to YouTube while Facebook registered its billionth user. Fast-changing innovative technologies have taken L&D to the tipping point of change and, with this in mind, I have gazed into my crystal ball to predict steps to success for 2013….

Ara Ohanian
CEO & Chief Happiness Officer

  • Social learning will become must-have rather than nice-to-have as it moves to an integral part of knowledge learning
  • L&D professionals evolve from teachers to curators to provide the context in which conversations are held and will filter and share the best with the organization.
  • L&D  moves from traditional lessons to contextual intelligence. Product innovation  has simply become too fast for “prescribed” learning as people need rapid product knowledge beyond what a product is and does.  Technologies today scale knowledge to bring thousands of relevant conversations at the right time.
  • Leadership understanding becomes critical mass. Social technologies will become the norm for general business use and there will be an escalation in organizations using rapid knowledge transfer to improve performance.
  • The true L&D professional  emerges as the role expands to embrace creative thinking, business collaboration, and focus on speed and delivery against business objectives.

I invite you to read more and share your thoughts in Training magazine

Best wishes for the year ahead.

Ara Ohanian
Chief Happiness Officer & CEO, CERTPOINT Systems

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