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Pluralsight CEO explains how its SaaS training platform can help close digital skills gap

Scott Carey | June 20, 2017
Pluralsight CEO Aaron Skonnard explains how the company is looking to close the technology skills gap with its online training platform.

"We can roll that data up to the enterprise level so the CTO or CIO can see what the organisation looks like from a skill perspective, identify the skill gap they have and align their learning strategies with their technology strategy."

For example, Skonnard says that US bank JP Morgan's head of IT recently told him that the skills gap is the thing keeping him up at night. "Am I going to have the people I need to keep executing on our strategy at JP Morgan?" he asked Skonnard.

The UK is currently facing up to a digital skills gap of 2.3 million tech workers by 2020, according to a 2015 report by telco O2.

Second there is the live mentoring capability. When a user gets stuck with a problem they can send out a broadcast for help. Pluralsight then uses programmatic technology to match the user with the first, relevant mentor to respond via video link -- like an Uber driver responding first to a nearby rider request -- and work through the problem.

Skonnard says that enterprise customers were very keen on a personalised learning journey through Pluralsight. For example three-year UK customer Tesco wanted "something aligned with what the Tesco frontend developer path looks like. So we provide them with a way to construct that across our content library. So it is a customised learning path aligned with their business objective", Skonnard said.

Lastly there is the assessment capability within the platform. "We can assess skills and quickly provide a score that tells them where they are in the knowledge base relative to the rest of the industry in that technology area," Skonnard explained.

So a user starting a course will be assigned a proficiency score from 0-300 which will define where they start on the course, whether it is beginner, intermediate or expert.


UK and IPO?

Pluralsight currently has a team of 25 in the UK, but has yet to settle on an EMEA headquarters.

"We really like London for a lot of reasons," Skonnard said. "Our largest customers and the majority of our revenue is here in London and the rest of the UK, so there is a good chance that our EMEA headquarters will be here in London, but we haven't made that decision yet." Fellow Utah tech unicorns and Qualtrics have based their European HQs in Dublin.

Lastly, as a profitable company, has Skonnard considered taking Pluralsight public? Similar to Ryan Smith, CEO at Qualtrics and Dave Elkigton, CEO at InsideSales, he is in no hurry to IPO.

"We don't actually need the capital infusion that would come with that and we have been growing quickly," Skonnard said. "So where we stand today, and as far as timing around an IPO, we recognise that there will be a lot of value in the brand and name recognition that comes with that, and we will determine when the time is right."

"We don't have to be forced to do anything that would be unnatural for the company."


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