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Highlights from EMEA Perspectives 2019


Highlights from EMEA Perspectives 2019

As we finally draw breath after another hugely successful EMEA Perspectives, I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on last week’s event. It was our biggest customer event to date – we had a record number of attendees -and I’m delighted to say that the day held true to my predictions.

Our SumTotal breakout sessions proved to be popular – it was standing room only as we discussed several topics, including talent development in the employee lifecycle, the SumTotal Organisational Maturity Index, the latest and greatest product releases for 2019 and finally the benefits of using the SumTotal mobile app. These are exciting times for HR professionals as the changing nature and makeup of the work landscape sees our role shift and move to the center of an organisation.

Other highlights of the event include: Ron Hovsepian, Skillsoft’s Executive Chairman, kicked off the day with a comprehensive overview of SumTotal’s operating strategy for the coming months. As the lines between talent and learning blur, SumTotal customers are ideally positioned to navigate through this new terrain, and we are here to help you with every step. Further reinforcing our position as content agnostic SumTotal has added new platform relationships like LinkedIn Learning and Udacity to our growing library of content aggregation partners. Customers now have access to an even broader range of content across numerous domains. SumTotal is also continuing to promote the idea of learning in the flow of work, and to this end, we have enhanced our mobile and consumption experience with enhancements to capabilities and functions that include push notifications and the ability to launch content outside the learning management system (LMS). In addition, new partnerships like that with IBM Watson Talent means customers can expect to see a frictionless journey from recruitment through to onboarding and development at your fingertips.

Morné Swart, VP of Global Product Strategy, talked about the three D’s – digitisation, digitalisation, and digital transformation. He spoke eloquently and passionately about the fact that everyone is embracing people development and while executives are in agreement of the theme, often CEOs and CHROs disagree on how to accomplish this objective. He encouraged everyone to own their organisation’s story that to let Glassdoor and other recruitment resources become the voice for your brand is not a good idea or strategy. Morné stressed that with the UK enjoying its lowest unemployment rate since 1973, attracting and retaining the desired talent is going to get more difficult, which is why it is imperative that companies look to develop internally. Develop intelligently, mindful of the current challenges employees face daily.

Employees today are overwhelmed.

Sheri Zee, Skillsoft’s SVP of Talent and Culture,  took the audience on a journey through the Skillsoft employee experience and how Skillsoft and SumTotal are working to #MakeWorkMatter. How? Everything from employee spotlights, employee recognition cards, social media campaigns, and video clips are all components of an overall strategy designed to improve company culture.  We use the SumTotal onboarding module for recruits, and while we got rid of the annual review, SumTotal uses the 30 x 30 continuous feedback model on its employees.

Our keynote speaker, Shivvy Jervis, was phenomenal. While on the one hand, Shivvy shared her excitement and passion for all things tech, she did ultimately remind us that humans will always play the central role in the workplace. Given that she spends her time travelling the world following the latest technology trends, here is her list of the top four technology areas to have on your radar:

  • Emotive AI: this is referring to the bots or avatars who will help people complete tasks with a human touch. Already such digital humans exist in the form of Xinhua’s AI anchor and Sophie Air New Zealand’s digital customer service rep.
  • Next Gen Data: Currently, 80% of data is dark or unknown. This figure will change as the flood gates open, giving organisations access to untold amounts of data for analysis and application.
  • How will we interact with the future workplace: We can expect to see more virtual reality, a more immersive workplace, and the use of augmented reality to boost engagement.
  • Digital identity: 42% of security breaches stem from within the organisation. With the average cost of a data breach hovering around the £3 million, companies want to change this abysmal figure. Expect to see the introduction of biometrics as the first line of defence. Shivvy spoke of examples like a heartbeat ID or a brainwave ID.
Shivvy’s prediction about the new jobs of the future.

Torsten Schuhardt, the Learning and Development manager for JYSK, part of the Dänisches Bettenlager group, gave a candid account of moving from instruction-led-training (ILT) to online learning. Making this transition even more challenging is that JYSK operates in retail where most of the employees will access this learning on their own devices and on their own time. However, despite these obstacles, the transition is a success with an estimated €430,000 in cost savings. Additionally, they now have a way to identify talent and prospective leaders, so it’s a win-win.

Torsten talking about training retail talent.

As the CEO of Fosway Group, Europe’s leading HR industry analyst, we’ve all come to expect rich and in-depth insights from David Wilson. He didn’t disappoint. He showcased Fosway’s latest findings illustrating just how ill-prepared most organisations are for the modern workforce. He also reminded everyone just how much technology is impacting HR and why everyone in the industry needs to be aware of artificial intelligence and robotic process automation (RPA), and how each is changing the profession. David also gave his predictions for the top three ways technology will be adopted in an organisation:

  • Predictive analytics
  • Chabots
  • AI-led candidate recruiting


I want to thank everyone who joined us at the Royal Lancaster and look forward to seeing you all again in 2020.

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