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Partner Perspective: Q&A with EBSCO Publishing

July 31, 2013, Karen Hui -

EBSCO Publishing, a leading provider of learning content has been a long-term supporter of the Saba Content Connect Program. It’s always enlightening to have the opportunity to sit down with these program stalwarts to understand more about their organization and their unique relationship with Saba. I met with Tad Goltra, VP Product Management to get his perspective.

What is your business focus and what markets do you serve?

EBSCO is a leading global provider of reference and learning content for corporations, government institutions, universities, and hospitals. Our particular strength in corporate learning is our business soft skills content, but we also offer content for specific industries (e.g. Energy, Pharma, Technology, etc.) as well as occupations (e.g. Sales and Marketing, HR, Finance, IT, etc.). We count many global enterprises amongst our customers, but also many mid-sized companies.

How would you describe your offering’s differentiation or value proposition for our joint customers?

What differentiates us is the breadth and depth of our content offering.  Rather than a static course library, we offer best practices content which includes journal, magazine articles, eBooks, book summaries, videos, and more. This also includes content from well-known authors and business thinkers such as Steven Covey, Jack Welch, Jim Collins and many others. Our collection is updated continuously, literally every day. Our team of learning content experts identifies the most relevant items for a particular customer based on their organization’s specific competencies or learning objectives so they can quickly access what is most appropriate to them.  The subscription also includes access to a much larger content library of several hundred thousand items that can be accessed as needed. Our content can be integrated into a course offering or made available on a stand-alone basis, e.g., packaged into Saba on its own or as part of a course.

What do you find most compelling in partnering with Saba?

Saba has a strong and loyal customer base which lines up well with our focus. Saba is really great at engaging with partners and creating opportunities which benefit customers, partners and Saba alike. Saba is an innovator in the learning space as is EBSCO. An example is in social collaboration. Saba pushes the envelope and creates opportunities for partners like us. Saba Cloud with its advanced social capabilities has great potential and our content is ideal for sharing.

What do you think are the key trends and formats that will dominate the future of eLearning?

There’s a shift towards shorter format learning content with easily digestible content that can be consumed in 10 minutes as opposed to an hour or more.  Our content is geared towards that timeframe.   The need for on-demand learning resources will also continue to increase, making content available when needed vs. when prescribed. Video and mobile are already playing an important role in Learning but they will do so even more in the future. Social learning will also increasingly become part of the organizational learning mix, the sharing of insights, posting of questions and leveraging the broader community both internally and externally. These are all areas that EBSCO is focused on, as is Saba.

What is one example of an innovative piece of content you offer that customers would be interested in?

We produce a collection of competency reports which cover a range of soft skill competencies. Each report includes a summary of the particular competency, an explanation of related best practices, and how the competency plays a role in an organization’s success. We continue to add and update these reports based on evolving literature. We also publish summaries of leading business books to help employees keep up with current business thinking. We publish a new 5-10 page summary daily and our collection now includes summaries of approximately 2,000 titles.

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