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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Product Vendor Blogs - Where are They?

Another thought just occurred to me based on my last post Innovation Geography Based and Innovation in eLearning. Ben Werdmuller posted his comments on this Does location matter for web startups? and asked about innovation in eLearning, especially innovation that leads to products. I've done a lot of start-up development over the past few years.

One thing that just dawned on me is how few product vendor blogs there are in eLearning. If you look on my link roll, there's one from Articulate, elgg, ummm ... I'm already running out. Where's a blog from Saba, SumTotal? Do they not have anything interesting to say about where things are going? How about Lectora? Others?

In other industries, you see authentic conversation coming from vendors (from people inside the vendor) - where are they in eLearning?


thcrawford said...

What a great point! A lot of innovation is going on in the vendor space. It would be great to have a few of them step up as thought leaders. Many of the custom content players (Allen, Enspire, Root, Redwood) are out at the shows presenting all the time. I would think that the persistency of blogs would make the message a bit longer lasting.

Brent Schlenker said...

This is a great point and makes me wonder if they truly believe in their products. I KNOW the Articulate folks are passionate about their tool and involving us in the testing of their tool. They take our suggestions seriously and are part of the discussion.
Perhaps their is enough negative discussion and skepticism in the blogosphere holding them at bay...uncertain that they can stand up to the scrutiny.
I'm just sayin'

Tony Karrer said...

Tom - it would be great. And, good point about the presentations. Of course, I've said the same thing about folks like Allison Rossett.

Brent - you may be onto something. I was just in a conversation yesterday where someone indicated that passion and long-term commitment were necessary to have success with this kind of thing. However, I actually do believe there are passionate, committed people inside these organizations.

Gabe Anderson said...

Thanks for including us in this post, Tony. And, of course, we encourage interaction with our customer community through our blog, and also through our very active community forums. :)

And thanks for recognizing how seriously we take customer input, Brent. You are right, sir!

Ewan McIntosh said...

Some of the largest providers do blog internally but have yet to make the jump into the public sphere. Unfortunately, while the will is probably there from the CEOs and Board of Directors, the marketing departments in these places may see this as a mountain too high to climb. They need educated more, perhaps, rather than chastised for not taking part.

It's only having seen some of the posts from these internal blogs that I've genuinely seen how savvy and on the ball with current developments the directors and technicians are.

John Connell, my former boss, still blogs having taken up a senior post within Cisco. Maybe the picture is not as doom and gloom as you paint.

Paul Coyne said...

A good point. Personally I believe that there is much innovation going on in the big vendors. The question is what kind of innovation is taking place?

Perhaps we are observing the incremental sustaining innovation that serves to defend a vendor's established postion in the market place - more features, faster, tighter integration to ERP and so at increasing costs of ownership to an overserved LMS/LCMS market?

Curiously, at the same time we can see disruptive, low end of the market innovation from players like elgg (for example).

Will the established vendors defend these parts of their market? Or will they leave the somewhat peripheral deployments of the newer technologies to newer players?

If Clayton Christensen is reading this - Do we have the makings of a future case study here?

Ankush Gupta said...

Well, here’s one more for your link roll - The TATA Interactive Systems Corporate Blog - This multi-author blog encapsulates the opinions of various departments and people throughout our organization.

We have posts coming in from our ID's, our tech team, people involved in campaigns such as the Learning Disability cause that we champion, our various practices such as Simulations, Software Solutions, K-12, EPSS - to name a few, and sometimes even our CEO!

Our attempt from day one has been to give our audience and our clients a look into our world, into the challenges that we face and into the innovation that takes place. We have received some great feedback from time to time from our clients and eLearning thought leaders from around the world, and some of the conversations that have resulted from a blog posting have led to some great ideas being implemented into our products and services!

Pretty soon, we hope to be able to speak in greater depth about our various product offerings from across our practices and I am sure when that starts to happen the blog will continue to be an invaluable asset in capturing feedback and assisting us in fine tuning and delivering better products.

Anonymous said...

SumTotal got a development blog on their author tool toolbook:

Tony Karrer said...

Thanks for the pointers to these blogs. One note - Tata is a service company (and there are lots of us out there in blog land).

And the toolbook blog is much more a pure marketing blog - especially if you compare it to something like Articulate's blogging efforts. Sure they are marketing, but at least they put out some thoughts about the bigger picture of what's going on.

Paul - I think you are right on the money about this. It's a time of disruptive innovation. Where are the product innovators.

learningbean said...

So you could you point a vendor to some good vendor blogs in other industries? I work at an innovative e-Learning vendor -- I've got a personal e-Learning blog -- but it's more about my e-Learning thoughts.

Maybe us vendors don't want to give away our secrets?

Anyway -- I'd be interested to see some good examples. Maybe they would inspire me to start something here...