Trailhead, the gamified, self-directed learning platform for Salesforce users that offers online badges and micro-certification for mastering various aspects of the CRM platform, now has two new features.
Skills Graph offers a quick summary of a user’s accomplishments in Trailhead with a pie chart that gives an at-a-glance breakout of the top skills someone has learned using Trailhead such as CRM, Lightning, Security, and App Lifecycle. A Trailhead user might have more than a hundred online badges in different areas, but the Skill Graph highlights the skills where the most progress or achievements have been made.
The second new feature gives users a vanity URL that offers a quick link to a digital resume detailing specific skills and accomplishments in Trailhead as well as work experience.
“It’s quite possible a lot of Trailhead users are going to be clamoring to be the first to get some of these URLs,” Constellation Research analyst Alan Lepofsky told eWEEK. “Imagine being able to get “SalesforceGuru or SalesforceChamp. It’s an opportunity to give yourself some promotion and have some fun with it.”
Lepofsky also says that while Trailhead is best known for helping people attain Salesforce skills to get jobs or polish their resumes, it’s not the only reason for using it. “There’s a misconception that Trailhead is only for developers or Salesforce admins,” said Lepofsky, noting he’s used the platform himself to attain learning badges in Salesforce Chatter, Marketing Cloud and Community Cloud. “I just did it as a Salesforce user and I think it’s cool,” he said.
An even more advanced Trailhead user is Mark Tossell who has earned 210 badges and calls himself a Digital Business Analyst at “Trailhead.salesforce.com/me/unlikely” (he used “unlikely” to highlight the fact he’s a former Baptist church pastor turned Digital Business Analyst). You can see the various badges Tossell has achieved on his profile page, including Sales Rep Training, Opportunity Management, and Financial Services Cloud Optimization.
Sarah Franklin, general manager of Trailhead, said Salesforce has other changes in the works and to expect more announcements at the company’s TrailheadX conference March 28-29.
“We feel like we’re just getting started, there is a lot more opportunity to grow this,” Franklin told eWEEK.
Salesforce is also in the midst of a pilot roll out of myTrailhead with T-Mobile and 11 other companies in various industries. Companies can work with myTrailhead to customize the learning environment with their own content and branding.
For example, companies may have content related to on-boarding new employees that they want to integrate into the Trailhead system. Franklin said Salesforce plans to expand the pilot and announce pricing for the finished myTrailhead in the second half of 2018.
“We’ve had a ton of interest in myTrailhead, but first we wanted to test it with companies of different size and industry,” said Franklin. “The beauty of cloud computing is that companies big and small can benefit from the services you offer.”
Lepofsky said he thinks the latest moves by Salesforce are a “shot across the bow” to LinkedIn because it offers a competing digital profile. “We might start hearing more people say ‘Check out my Trailhead profile’ instead of LinkedIn,” he said.
But in terms of the breadth of features in the free Trailhead training system, Salesforce hasn’t seen anyone follow its lead. LinkedIn did purchase Lynda.com, a provider of online courses across many subject areas, for $1.5 billion in 2015. Last September, Microsoft announced LinkedIn Learning, a new platform based on Lynda.com, that offers online training in various Microsoft Office apps.
Franklin said she doesn’t see any direct competitors for what Trailhead offers on the horizon. She said Trailhead was developed in direct response to customer requests to help them find people with Salesforce skills.
“Today in the U.S. we have student debt and unemployment and lack of diversity in the workplace. With Trailhead, someone can spend a few hours a week learning skills and earning badges that can lead to a six-figure salary,” said Franklin. “We’re seeing this kind of matchmaking is having a real impact on people’s lives and the economy.”
According to a report by research firm IDC, Salesforce and its ecosystem of partners and customers will create 3.3 million new jobs worldwide by the year 2022.