11:53:54;20 Hello, everybody. And welcome to the future of learning conversations. My name is Joe Farrell, managing director of KPMG Learning Services. In my opinion, we're facing the largest workforce transformation in history. It all stems from a health care crisis, COVID-19, an economic crisis, a social crisis, and to add fuel to the fire, a climate crisis that is escalating daily. It's quite clear to me that the appetite for upscaling has increased. And here to talk with me today is Alessandro Giacobbe, GM (BACKGROUND VOICE) of Enterprise Learning at Microsoft.
11:54:32;00 Thank you, Joe. It's a pleasure to be here. Thank you for inviting me.
11:54:35;09 So-- Alessandro, given the-- the current disruptions in the marketplace, there's obviously a huge need for-- for upscaling. One of the things we see right now is a emergence of a K-shaped recovery. The populations that are aligned to industries and organizations that are modernizing, digitizing, and upscaling are going to be well-positioned to support-- the future workforce.
11:55:01;24 Other organizations or populations like the underserved communities that don't have access to those opportunities and those service are going to be challenged. Microsoft and KPMG are looking for modern learning solutions to not only deliver to those organizations that are investing in upscaling, but also to deliver to those underserved communities so we can help those communities gain the skills they need to participate in the future workforce. What type of market conditions are you seeing out there from a (BACKGROUND VOICE) Microsoft perspective?
11:55:31;20 Yeah. No. Absolutely. In a way, you could almost-- say that-- in the midst of all these events that you-- that you mentioned, all these challenges and the fact that technology is actually evolving and innovating at a pace that's faster than never before-- you know, you-- you-- you hear about metaverse all of a sudden.
11:55:50;24 It's like, okay, what-- what is this thing? What are supposed to do with it? How does it impact my job? So it's almost like a great leveler, if you will, because the challenges that you feel as somebody who is underprivileged to a certain extent-- are similar to the challenges of somebody who can be an executive in a job because you need to transform your job.
11:56:12;01 You need to evolve it. You need to acquire new skills. You really need to do things differently because of all these changes that are happening around you. And-- we often talk about the new normal. And-- and it's interesting because the new normal, we don't know how long it's gonna stay and, you know, what's gonna happen when the next normal comes.
11:56:31;15 So it all points in the same direction, which is that-- the digital transformation is upon us. We probably have, you know, two years' worth of change in a couple of months. And when we bring it all together, all that change cannot be addressed if there isn't a culture and learning transformation that goes-- is paired up with it.
11:56:52;09 And to get the most of out it, whether you are just getting started and you don't have skills in the particular job that you want to have or you're an incumbent who's been there a long time and you need to reinvent yourself in a way, you need to acquire new skills-- the problem is not that different. (BACKGROUND VOICE) And so we're here to-- to try to help.
11:57:12;20 So-- so what I'm hearing, Alessandro, is we-- we need to design, build, and organize different to prepare the future workforce. And the reason being, from my perspective, is legacy learning models and current learning models, event based models are really struggling with the demand and the scale of this-- this challenge.
11:57:32;24 To me, when you look at-- traditional model that's event based that takes the employee out of the workplace to deliver learning and then puts them back into it, so it's disruptive there, it's not integrated into the flow of work. The metrics around it is very limited and is usually activity based. So to me, do you agree that-- that a traditional-- learning model is struggling and that it needs to be reinvented going forward?
11:57:59;20 I do. And-- I do agree. And without throwing away everything that we have-- because there are a lot of things that work extremely well. But in reality, things around you change all the time. And-- we have studies-- that-- that show that actually when we pull employees, whether it's our company or other companies, and we ask 'em about a month after they've taken a training class, "How much do you remember of that training class?"
11:58:26;24 The amount of information that gets lost is a lot. And so why is that? Why can't we make training such that-- especially now, that you are required to take it to keep up your skills, why can't p-- be-- can we make it more engaging? Why can't we make it so that it is in the flow of work?
11:58:45;10 You know, something we hear a lot about. And we have Microsoft Teams, a social collaborational platform, which is where productivity happens. So we spent a lot of time studying that and figuring out, "Well-- employees are learning from each other a lot.
11:59:01;22 They ask each other questions. 'How do I do this? How--' you know, 'Has anybody seen this situation before?'" And collaboration has really escalated. But the formal training that's required, why can't we bring it into that flow of work as opposed to pausing, interrupting the flow of work, the productivity flow, and have the employee go take a training class in a different environment and then hope that they remember? If it's contextualized right where they are, then the-- the-- the value that employees get is much higher. And this is actually demonstrated.
11:59:34;11 So Alessandro, you're touching on some very good points there. It's, kind of, the attributes of the future of learning. From-- from my perspective on what we're seeing in our center of excellence that does our research is the future of learning needs to have-- several attributes or pillars. Number one, it needs to be immediate or accessible to this audience, whether they're in corporate America or whether they're in federal, (BACKGROUND NOISE) state, or local, or in these underserved communities.
11:59:58;07 For sure.
11:59:58;24 Number two, it needs to be personalized. The system really needs to know the individual, where they are from a skills perspective, and how can they accelerate that upscaling to competency and to mastery. Another thing-- attribute about a modern learning environment that I think will really help out is the integration and intelligence behind the integration.
12:00:19;02 And I know Microsoft and KPMG are working to advance the intelligence behind the integrations. And then, obviously, the content. The actual experience. The look, feel, and energy of content is very important. So it has to be engaged for that audience regardless of-- of where the audience is. And then, obviously, the analytics around it to help with the prioritization of people's time. Any thoughts around, you know, how Viva and the suite can-- can deliver those attributes to the-- to the experience?
12:00:48;18 Yeah. Yeah. Than-- thank you for bringing this up, Joe, because it's-- it's actually where I, personally, got started when I started looking into-- corporate learning and enterprise corporate learning, in particular, and not just on the enterprise side, but in public sector as well and in education.
12:01:05;09 And there was this big disconnect in terms of spending a lot of time learning and then retaining very little information and what can we do about it, as I said before. And-- the-- the-- the agility, the velocity of all the change around us is such that we really need to acquire information and skills as we need to get things done.
12:01:24;10 Th-- this is really the key. And-- and it also, in turn, also drives the retention of the material. So for us, you mentioned Microsoft Viva, and-- and I'll describe the product in a little bit-- the platform in-- in a minute-- for-- for those of-- those people in the audience who actually haven't heard of it.
12:01:41;24 But the first starting point is that learning is really changing. It's changing from becoming, in the corporate world, an activity that was an end to becoming a means to an end, where the end is productivity. And so you learn to get things done, to complete a project, to-- to get the information that you need to be equipped with the tools that enable you to be productive.
12:02:07;15 And this is really critical because-- there are studies now that show that when employees feel like they're getting things done, they're productive, that drives their happiness. And the happiness drives engagement, which is critical, as you know, as you teach me having been in this business for a very, very long time.
12:02:24;19 And when there is that level of engagement that's heightened the level of happiness, that drives performance and retention, which is something every organization (BACKGROUND NOISE) is trying to solve for. How do I keep valuable employees? How do I make employees productive?
12:02:38;24 So when we talk about productivity and driving productivity, it-- it is really critical to do it in the context of the job that you have. So we talk about skills a lot. (BACKGROUND NOISE) And when we talk about skills, it's-- it's one thing to have skills at the absolute level, like the example I gave is I can be the best football player in the world.
12:03:00;11 But if I'm not on a football team, then my skills are probably not very well-utilized. So the skills has to be combined with the context. And the context is the social collaboration environment where you're productive. It is where you are achieving productivity.
12:03:16;16 So the two combined create capabilities. So when we solve for capabilities, then-- and we have a system that enables to keep up with all the changes around us, that is when we make employees and we give them what they really need to get things done and to acquire skills that can be great for the next step in their careers regardless, again, if they are just getting started in an underprivileged area or if they are executives of a very large organization worldwide. It's-- it's-- the dynamic is actually remarkably similar in terms of the probably we're trying to solve.
12:03:49;09 So it's very interesting. You talk about productivity, performance, and-- and wellness. CEOs and our leaders out there, that's front in center-- on their agenda and their strategic plans for next year and beyond. One of the things I would say is-- is, you know, from our-- KPMG, we did a survey, a CEO survey, and, obviously, the majority of CEOs are very optimistic about the grow potential. Right?
12:04:16;10 There's a lot of money coming into infrastructure now and the marketplace to really digitize, modernize-- you know, target operating models. They're also focused on agility in the workforce, which is fantastic, and upscaling. And they're putting money behind that. So that's a very, very positive sign. And one of the other things that's really positive is 79% of CEOs said they want their employees to be more innovative and take more risks, which is fantastic.
12:04:44;12 Any thoughts around that in terms of leadership? We-- we believe we-- leadership gets it. They're-- they're-- they're puttin' that into their strategic plans about upscaling. They're investing in that area. And they're even giving the-- the nod to go ahead and be a little more innovative, a little more risk taken because we have to be. Right?
12:05:00;22 No. No. For sure. And-- and we have had this at-- at Microsoft. We-- we call it a growth mindset, which really requires a culture transformation-- as we said, which-- which is fundamental to be able to-- get the most out of the digital transformation and the big investment that companies are making.
12:05:17;13 But-- but let's go back for a second to productivity. If there's something that the pandemic has taught us, and this world-- the hybrid world keeps teaching us every day is that it's almost disingenuous in-- 2021, end of 2021, to talk about productivity without talking about employee well-being.
12:05:41;05 It is absolutely critical because we cannot separate the two. It-- they-- it has to be a conversation that touches on both at the same time. So it's learning productivity and employee well-being. It's almost like three legs of the same stool.
12:05:56;20 And they go together. And you asked before about-- you mentioned Viva-- Microsoft Viva before. This is exactly what we tried to help organizations achieve. And we started with the realization that Microsoft Teams is a social collaborational platform used by hundreds of millions of people.
12:06:16;01 And if you're using a social collaboration platform, whichever one you choose to use, you are learning from each other. So the informal learning is happening. You just look at the chats. You look at the-- the dynamic of people that are on Teams and you realize that they're all asking each other.
12:06:32;24 The example I give is at-- at Microsoft, one day we were told in-- in early 20-- 2020, "Hey. As of Monday, you'll have to work from home." So none of us sat around waiting for the nicely formatted course to go take to know what to do. We all went and started asking each other, "Hey. How do you turn on blurred backgrounds in Teams?"
12:06:55;00 Or, "My customer just asked me this question. Does anybody know the answer?" So collaboration escalated to an unprecedented level. We're realized, "We're all in this together. We need to figure this thing out." And so learning from each other is happening.
12:07:09;09 It is actually how people learn and get things done. But at the same time, for compliance reasons, for professional development reasons, for keeping up with changes in the marketplace, a we talked about before, keeping up with technology, formal learning is super helpful.
12:07:26;17 It's critical. So why not bring the two together? And that is the base behind Viva learning, which is the learning module of the Microsoft Viva employee experience platform. So there's a learning module. But then in addition to the learning module, there is exactly the well-being part.
12:07:43;03 And we say, "Why can't we bring in the same flow of work, formal and informal learning, by the way for information workers and for frontline workers and service workers, but we-- why can't we bring in leading indicators of employee well-being?" So why can't we bring in easily signals that say, "Hey, manager, you haven't met with Bob in a long while."
12:08:05;24 And, you know, "We encourage you to do that because there's probably a conversation there that can help Bob feel more heard and understand their job-- his job a little bit better," et cetera, or leading indicators like, "Well, it seems like these groups collaborate better than those groups." You know, "Wh-- why is that?" Or, "A lot of people in this team are working after hours a lot. And that cannot be good for their well-being over time."
12:08:30;24 So all these leading indicators are the Viva inside (?) module that we bring in. And then the other thing that we really spent a lot of time with is the number one request. And I meet with a lot of chief learning officers and a lot of chief HR officers.
12:08:46;00 The number one request they always ask me is, "Does Microsoft have a solution for identifying experts in the organization?" And we actually do. It's module that's part of the Viva-- the-- the Viva employee experience platform called Viva Topics, which indexes the information in the internet in the organization and identifies experts that are associated with specific topics.
12:09:09;01 And therefore, if I am inside of Teams, if I am inside of Viva and I need to get something done quickly, I can quickly find the expert. And the-- the added benefit is that when the expert leaves the company, the expertise doesn't leave. So there's that Viva Topics that comes with it.
12:09:24;03 And then to bring it all together as an entry point into the services, we have Viva connections that help create a portal for the organization to have access to information and to-- to corporate-- the corporate world, essentially, on mobile phones or on-- in a browser or in-- in-- in a dedicated-- in a dedicated service.
12:09:44;05 So this is what we're trying to do. And it's a platform. It's open. So APIs. There are some av-- available. More are coming. And-- and-- ISVs or-- or vendors or suppliers or publishers can actually participate and we'll continue to add modules over time. But this is what we're trying to do, to do our part in terms of enabling that transformation of the culture and at the learning level that we-- we were discussing earlier that we feel is actually critical.
12:10:11;11 Yeah. No. I love the way you described that. And, I mean, it's an intuitive, efficient experience, right, for the employee and it evolves over time. You know, in our partnership together, obviously the KPMG role is around to manage services, innovative manage services.
12:10:25;12 And the way we're structured, Ale-- Alessandro, as you know, we have our center of excellence that develops our point of view. And very often, we can deliver that to the market. But then the market comes back and says, "Okay. I love what you're talking about Viva learning and-- and KPMG innovative manage services.
12:10:40;13 How do I validate that's right for me?" And that's where we bring our strategy and transformation in, where we co-design the future of learning for our clients. And it's really the convergence of the technology and the manage services and that innovation within that.
12:10:55;03 One of the things I would say when we do co-design-- we want to design a model that continuously t-- evolves, right, is that it doesn't become complacent or stale over time. So the innovation is-- is basically part of the-- the model and it's built into the model going forward.
12:11:12;03 And then obviously, you know, the technology, the integration-- of-- of-- of the services, the intelligence behind it, one of the things we do see also is-- is the skill sets needed for these modern environments. Although they can scale and they can d-- deliver highly effective solutions, the skill sets are little different.
12:11:31;03 You know, there's-- there's automation. There's AI. Right? There's bot technology in there. I believe within two years, we'll be sittin' down and-- and communicatin' with a bot. And based on that communication-- the bot will curate content based on your meetings or based on-- on--
12:11:45;23 Relevance. Yeah.
12:11:45;24 --your knowledge. Yeah. Right? So it's-- it's an exciting time. But one of the things I would say is-- it's definitely an innovative solution, but it will continue to evolve. And one of the things-- the results that-- the early results that we're seeing from a KPMG perspective, our largest (?) Microsoft KPMG solution supports 500,000 learners today. It has an 87%--
12:12:08;23 --effectiveness rating and it reduced costs by 23% over baseline costs. So early indicators are looking very, very positive. A long way to go, but what's your perspective from Microsoft in terms of early results?
12:12:21;01 Yeah. And-- and those are super impressive numbers. And-- you-- you know, in terms of looking for the efficiency in this industry that, in many ways, is very inefficient, because when people can only remember 10% to 15% of what they learn, it's like, "Okay.
12:12:34;17 Why do we have to accept 85%, 90% inefficiency of what we do when it's such great work and is so helpful to people? So what can do?" And I-- I love the partnership and the alliance we have with KPMG because-- the-- the realization-- and-- and I have been at Microsoft a very long time.
12:12:54;12 So I-- (LAUGH) my first project was Word for Doss. Just-- just-- just to tell (LAUGH) you. So it's long, long (LAUGH) time. And-- and I spent a lot of time in education. And in education, it's-- there are so many challenges that we try to help and we're so committed to it.
12:13:10;11 When you talk about a learning management system, for example, whether you are-- are talking to the-- the-- the biggest university in Australia or-- an elementary school in Thailand or a middle school or-- or-- you-- you know, whatnot in Italy, the learning management system largely does the same thing.
12:13:29;24 And so you have a little bit of configuration to do. Maybe a little bit of integration, but not an awful lot. Transfer that into the corporate world. Every corporation is its own world, which explains why the enterprise corporate learning market is estimated at $240 billion spent a year.
12:13:49;17 This is not money thrown away on frivolous stuff. This is because it's super complex. And the analogy I use to describe it is like an iceberg, where at the top, the part that you see is the employee experience, is the portal that serves up content.
12:14:05;19 But underneath all of that, there's the reason why it's $240 billion. You have multiple LMSs. You have multiple learning experiences, a ton of tools, services, companies that write their own code to integrate things, content providers from a plethora of-- of sources.
12:14:23;24 So to make sense out of all that is absolutely, as you teach me, nontrivial. And so when-- and it's personalized. So even within the same industry, even within the same company, which often are the results of acquisitions and mergers, you have different departments, different parts that do things differently.
12:14:43;21 So to make sense out of this so that I, as an employee, have access to the content I need to get things done, the integration that has to happen is absolutely the critical part. And that's why I love working with KPMG and-- and the alliance we have, because we know that with the customers, you have the experience you have, you understand the bottom of the iceberg.
12:15:05;19 And at the experience level, you want to find the-- the most efficient, the most valid, the most immediate, the most agile, the most, you know, great velocity type of experience. And when we work together with Teams and Viva, we can bring the best of both worlds.
12:15:20;15 And it keeps up with the changes that are required by the customer, by the enterprise. So if they say, "This just happened in my industry. I need to train my employees in this department very quickly on this," you have the ability to execute and we have the ability to service all that.
12:15:35;23 That is priceless. I mean, that is really critical. And I've spent so much time with so many chief learning officers and chief HR officers, chief talent officers, and they all need the velocity. They all need the agility to be able to keep up with all these changes we're describing and, in some ways, we're causing (LAUGH) because of--
12:15:55;15 Yeah. True.
12:15:56;01 --the changing of technology. So I-- I-- I am very pleased and-- and I'm also even more pleased about the opportunities in front of us to be able to drive that inefficiency of the 85% of waste down to almost nonexistent, because you get the training you need when you need it, based on data, as you mentioned, based on AI, based on inference, but also based on user input-- that gets it done.
12:16:21;11 So I think the future is super bright, super optimistic about that, and I think CEOs who are concerned about the skills of their workforce are about to get a big assist, if you will, because we understand what the problem is and we're trying to-- to help be part of the solution.
12:16:36;23 Excellent, Alessandro. I think you summed it up quite well. You know, very exciting time--
12:16:40;22 --in the learning space. A big challenge ahead of us. But I think the convergence of that innovative technology and services-- will deliver great results. And I'm looking forward in delivering those results to our audience as we go forward. Thank you so much.
12:16:53;06 For sure. For sure.
12:16:53;18 Appreciate it.
12:16:54;10 Thank you for having me.
12:16:59;10 (OFF-MIC CONVERSATION)