SumTotal Blog

Brent Colescott (1 Posts)

Brent Colescott

Brent Colescott is the Sr. Director of Business Strategy and Transformation for SumTotal, a Skillsoft Company. With over 20 years experience in the learning and talent fields, he has successfully initiated and optimized online learning platforms and programs during his career in the HR, Utilities and Energy industries. Notable accomplishments include being recognized by WebEx as their “Innovator of the Year” in 2005 and by Skillsoft as the “2007 Learning Leader of the Year.” Brent holds a Master of Education in Administration and Technology and is a former Chairman and Executive Board Member of the Humble ISD Education Foundation.

Skillsoft and SumTotal, the No Compromise Corporate Learning Solution


I love my job. For 20 years I was a customer of Skillsoft and SumTotal, and then three years ago I joined the company as an employee. Now I get to attend Human Capital Management (HCM) conferences all over the world, giving me the opportunity to meet with some fantastic companies and discuss the strategies and challenges that exist in the human capital arena. Just recently I was in Amsterdam attending the Beyond HR forum where we discussed how employees’ expectations for development are high; no longer a trend, senior leaders must deliver consumer-type experiences to a very demanding audience. With a near non-existent labor pool to draw from, organizations that ignore these issues will find it hard to attract or keep talent.

In a way, my career trajectory is not dissimilar to that of Skillsoft’s. In the late ‘90s I cut my teeth on implementing some of the first solutions from Skillsoft and SumTotal, known then as Click2Learn. At the time I worked hard to make those two products and companies work together as one solution. Since the acquisition, it is gotten easier to integrate the products, and today our better together is stronger than ever message is stronger than ever.

Peanut butter sandwiches

Four years ago Josh Bersin referred to Skillsoft’s acquisition of SumTotal as the metaphorical equivalent of “the makers of peanut butter and jelly buying the bakers of bread.” Today, SumTotal is in a whole new space and with the new learner experience in the latest release of SumTotal, 18.2, I consider the two as offering a “No-Compromise” solution.

What do I mean? My family and I regularly take cruises, and nothing compares to the promise that we can expect something that everyone will love on our trip. Skillsoft is the global leader in corporate learning, and SumTotal has the leading LMS and Talent platforms in the market. Now that these two products are fully integrated and offer a seamless experience on the front end AND back end, well it means there is something to please everyone.

What Skillsoft and SumTotal together means

Before merging SumTotal with Skillsoft, I often worked as a go-between, figuring out how to integrate Skillsoft content onto various LMS platforms. Invariably issues cropped up in the initial implementation or at times when content libraries needed refreshing. It was a process akin to going to the record store and buying a vinyl versus the ease and convenience of utilizing an online music provider like Spotify. This ability to purchase world-class content already embedded in the leading LMS is a radical shift in the approach to learning, and one that is shaking up the Human Capital Management world.

Consider too the time to readiness from acquisition to implementation, now without the hassle of testing to see if the content will post scores or is compatible or even trackable. And then couple that with on-going catalog maintenance uploading and retiring content, and you can see why I believe everyone will be happy.

As I continue to meet customers, it is becoming increasingly evident that not only is a human capital strategy critical to the success of an organization, it is also essential that employee development expectations are met; cobbling together pages, screens and content just won’t cut it any longer. Let’s be honest, even best of breed solutions from only a few years ago never truly delivered the seamless experience that modern learners desire.

I’m excited that Bersin’s “Peanut Butter & Jelly” vision is a reality in SumTotal’s current offerings and that the Skillsoft and SumTotal union gives customers the “No-Compromise” solution I receive when I board a cruise ship.