The Ken Blanchard Cos. is also beta-testing a mobile technology. In June the Escondido, Calif.-based leadership training firm began testing a mobile app designed to help managers diagnose issues with their direct reports and then suggest action they can take to help them resolve the problems.
Built for iOS, Android and HTML5, the training app has been deployed at a large global telecommunications company in Europe. Users can download the app for free, but activation requires a special code provided by Blanchard.
"This is really a step forward in our move toward a lot more electronic delivery of training materials," says Terry Orletsky, vice president of IT at Blanchard.
Classroom Materials Arrive Reliably With Cloud
Cloud computing projects are under way at 46% of the survey respondents involved in testing, and Blanchard is among the companies with teams working on public, private and hybrid clouds. The training firm is putting the finishing touches on a five-year project to build a cloud-based delivery platform for all of its training materials and documentation. To be released this year, the platform, known as the Blanchard Exchange, will handle the distribution and activation of apps for training materials via the Amazon S3 cloud storage service.
"We've pretty much had logarithmic growth in digital materials in the past five years," says Orletsky. "We've gone from 4% to 5% of our materials distributed electronically to now 75%. We're getting out of the high costs of manufacturing, shipping and logistics" associated with printed materials.
Amazon has the edge over competitors in terms of server locations, says Orletsky. "We are a global organization with our business in Asia, Europe and Africa. Having this stuff nearby geographically cuts down on the potential long download times," he says.
In which technology areas are you now beta-testing or conducting pilot programs?
Virtualization (includes server, storage, network and mobile) 74%
Mobile/wireless devices 62% (includes 34% indicating beta-testing tablets)
Cloud computing 46%
Source: Computerworld Forecast survey; base: 334 IT executive respondents; June 2012