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Kicking Off Our Saba Social Learning Beta Program

May 18, 2011, David Koehn -

We are proud to announce the recent launch of our Saba Social Learning beta program. Our Saba Social Learning product beta has around 50 customers, including Intercontinental Hotels Group, SMART Technologies, and Yum! Brands (owners of Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell), just to name a few. So far, we have received really great responses from the participants about the product.

Shameless self-promotion aside, I have learned that there is far more to Saba Social Learning beyond the sales and marketing hype of this launch. I have learned much from our process of bringing Saba Social Learning into Beta.

From the beginning we worked with a long list of Saba customers and end users who showed interested in our new product. We worked with this group to identify what was most important to them and what was needed to achieve their Learning outcomes. Simultaneously, we analyzed our cloud data in aggregate to assess product behaviors. The data-driven nature of this investigation allowed us to correlate anecdotes from our learners and create innovative requirements for our product.

At the end of the day, we found that learners wanted pretty straightforward stuff. They wanted to enroll in Learning easily, have a support group of colleagues and experts to collaborate with and lean on during their Learning experience, and they wanted to interact and participate with others while Learning. These were items that were often overlooked by other organizations and in other products, possibly because of their seemingly simple requirements. That said, surrounding formal Learning with a Social experience where users are familiar with Facebook, Google, and Twitter has its challenges (and its opportunities).

Once the team had decided the specifics for our product, we took our findings to every customer that wanted to see them. We tested requirements and the user interface with our sales group, market analysts, buyers, users, partners, and Saba employees alike. We’ve found that crowd-sourcing brings up great ideas, but it is only useful if we are able to take these thoughts and integrate them into the most common workflows within our product. We never allowed ourselves to get derailed with abstractions or theories but rather focused on the things that help our buyers and their learners be successful.

Through the process, we never lost sight of making sure we could build a system that delivered business value to our buyers. When exploring this new territory, it is easy to skip around to the next new shiny thing that looks interesting; however, we only allowed ourselves some valance for this so we would not miss out on any unexpected opportunities while staying on track through our product creation cycle. For our users, we aspired to deliver the easiest to use and most influential Social Learning tool available.

As we move through beta we have already seen how this next level of transparency and engagement with the market will lead us to an even better Saba Social Learning product. If you are interested in joining the Beta program, please go to Saba's Social Learning Overview and and sign up. We would love to work with you!