IBM, Skillsoft Team to Harness Big Data for Enterprise Learning

IBM leverages its big data expertise in a partnership with Skillsoft on enterprise learning, and Big Blue also closes its Aspera acquisition.

IBM and Skillsoft announced a partnership to leverage the power of big data in enterprise learning.

The multi-phase joint development agreement is aimed at creating an adaptive learning experience for users that combines IBM Research's big data and customer experience analytics capabilities with content interaction data from Skillsoft's more than 50,000 learning assets.

Skillsoft provides learning solutions for customers worldwide, ranging from global enterprises, government and education to small and midsize businesses.

"Big data has the opportunity to transform corporate learning outcomes," Anshul Sheopuri, an IBM Master Inventor at IBM Research, said in a statement. "We are working with Skillsoft to create new enterprise learning-based big data techniques that will drive personalized user interaction resulting in improved engagement. Our initial findings show insights that can make the learning experience customized to users' preferences and drive next-generation adaptive learning and integrated development."

The market for data analytics continues to experience exponential growth as companies seek new ways to maximize performance using big data technology and analysis. In 2013, Gartner reported that 64 percent of organizations invested or planned to invest in big data technology.

Skillsoft officials said the corporate learning market provides an ideal application area for big data analytics. As organizations continue to offer more online learning to their employees, they need to analyze which learning experiences are the most productive and apply that knowledge to continually improve business outcomes.

"We are exploring new ways of leveraging data to boost learning outcomes," John Ambrose, senior vice president of strategy, corporate development and emerging business at Skillsoft, said in a statement. "With IBM's research scientists and technology, we now have the ability to holistically look at content interaction data and understand trends in user interactions and drivers of engagement. Together, we look forward to further harnessing the power of big data to define a more personalized, adaptive enterprise learning experience."

The first phase of the research initiative is complete. Skillsoft and IBM will release future insights of data analysis and relevant findings as the agreement progresses.

Meanwhile, in other big data news, IBM recently announced it closed its acquisition of Aspera, a privately held company that securely speeds the movement of massive data files around the world. Aspera's technology helps users speed the movement of big data on premise and via the cloud.

Aspera's patented technology accelerates the secure transfer of large files or data sets by up to 99.9 percent—potentially reducing a 26-hour transmission of a 24GB file, sent halfway around the world, down to just 30 seconds, IBM said. This speed is achieved by Aspera's patented fasp protocol. This also gives customers a more efficient way to transport data to and from cloud networks.