TechBytes with Mark Onisk, Chief Content Officer at Skillsoft

TechBytes with Mark Onisk, Chief Content Officer at Skillsoft
TechBytes with Mark Onisk, Chief Content Officer at Skillsoft

Tell us about your role and journey into research. How did you arrive at Skillsoft?

I came to Skillsoft through acquisition just over 7 years ago. During my time in the Ed Tech space, I’ve worked primarily in Product Development and R&D roles. Much of my tenure has been designing and developing Digital Learning models that improve retention, efficacy, and ROI. These have ranged from developing simulation and capstone activities for IT professionals and developers, building business scenario simulations and conducting research initiatives with leading academic institutions such as MIT.

Which key technologies in Marketing and Customer Experience are you keenly following?

The two key ones that we are tracking are Data Science, as wells as AI and Machine Learning. We believe that these two technologies will provide unprecedented opportunities in enriching the digital customer journey. By harnessing the data from seemingly routine customer interactions, organizations will be able to predict consumption patterns and preferences and build predictive experiences that recommend products, content, and services that offer unique value, at scale. Historically, this level of customer intimacy was required sustained human interaction and interpretation, but through improved technologies and toolsets, organizations will be able to drive this across multiple levels of the customer experience.

Which industries and user groups rely the most on your training and technical content platform?

Our customer base is fairly diverse. That said, we serve everyone from technology consulting firms and financial institutions to retail, manufacturing and food services. Our focus is to harness and drive value for diverse and global enterprises through rich, transformative learning experiences.

Tell us more about your recent partnership with Wintellect.

Our new partnership with Wintellect is an excellent complement to Skillsoft’s Technology and Developer content portfolio as the on-demand video-based content is tailored for a variety of learners, from novice software developers to advanced technical experts. The 500+ hours of an on-demand training range in topic areas from .NET, APIs and C Programming, to Azure, Blockchain and Machine Learning – all of which are critical for technology professionals to continually learn and gain proficiency in the latest advances. An added benefit from this partnership is program administrators have access to user’s learning data from Skillsoft’s Percipio Experience Services which streamlines administrators’ ability to conduct audits, manage training records and measure the value of learning across their organization.

Do you provide any training on GDPR and Data Privacy benchmarks? 

Yes, we provide coverage in our Employment Law and Technology product offerings. In addition to video-based courses, we offer a range of digital books that go into more depth on these topics.

How much of your own Data Management and Customer Engagements have been disrupted with the data privacy laws?

This varies based on customer and geography. That said, I would say that data privacy is a key consideration in all of our product decisions. It’ something that we rigorously assess and analyze within our existing product set and when we decide to develop new capabilities. Skillsoft adheres to the most stringent data security regulations in the world and is recognized by institutions such as numerous US federal government agencies for our leadership in this space. We fully understand the importance of data privacy and security with our customers and go through extensive efforts to ensure that our solutions meet the highest industry guidelines.

What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in Content and Marketing?

This is difficult to answer precisely. That said, I would anticipate disruption to be fueled by organizations who harness and leverage data most effectively and ethically. I wouldn’t say that the market would be disrupted or led only by start-ups or new entrants.  My sense is that the advantage in this disruption will go to players who have the most reliable and relevant data set, which they leverage in a secure and ethical way to drive value. While new entrants will certainly look to leverage data, analytics, AI and ML in new and exciting ways, they will face the challenge in gathering meaningful data on end users, consumption, customer journeys and the like to deliver value, especially in the wake of tightening data privacy laws.

How can Marketing teams better prepare for IT-specific Content requirements?

I’d say the first point, is to deeply understand the consumption pattern for the technology and software development professionals. Which content are they searching for, which topics are fulfilled, which are not fulfilled by existing content?  What is the abandon rate for new content, older content? Which assets do they consume off-hours, when time is the most precious and competes with entertainment content platforms such as Netflix and Amazon. If the end-user consumption of content in a given topic is competing for off-hours, against these alternatives, there is likely a strong business case there.

How do you prepare for these technologies?

It goes without saying, but knowledge is key. Knowing how to collect and interpret data are critical elements in this transformation. Are you and your team skilled on the latest tools of data, such as Python, R, Hadoop, and Spark? Do you know what questions to ask? Do you have a hypothesis on how data will help your business? How might you validate this hypothesis?  How equipped is your current team to leverage data in all that they do? What is your plan to reskill them? What other tools or platforms do you need to invest in? There are several excellent books and digital courses on these very topics. As a first step, I’d suggest level setting the organization on a common set of terminology and understanding and then progress the organizational readiness assessment from there.

Mr. Mark Onisk has been Chief Content Officer of SkillSoft Corp. since 2018. Mr. Onisk is responsible for leading all aspects of the strategic direction, roadmap and development of Skillsoft’s content catalogue. He served as Senior Vice President of Skillsoft Books (formerly Books24x7).

He served as Vice President of Learning Products for Element K Corporation. Mr. Onisk was responsible for the overall vision, strategy and execution of Element K’s content development. Prior to this role, he served as Vice President of Element K and NIIT’s custom development practice, Cognitive Arts. He is CompTIA Project+ certified. He holds an MBA from the Rochester Institute of Technology and BA in Business Administration from SUNY at Brockport.

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Skillsoft is the global leader in corporate learning, delivering beautiful technology and engaging content that drives business impact for modern enterprises. Skillsoft comprises three award-winning solutions that support learning, performance and success: Skillsoft learning content, the Percipio intelligent learning experience platform and the SumTotal suite for Human Capital Management.

Skillsoft provides the most comprehensive selection of cloud-based corporate learning content, including courses, videos, books and other resources on Business and Management Skills, Leadership Development, Digital Transformation, IT Skills and Certification Training, Productivity and Collaboration Tools and Compliance. Percipio’s intuitive design engages modern learners and its consumer-led experience accelerates learning. The SumTotal suite features four key components built on a unified platform: Learning Management, Talent Management, Talent Acquisition and Workforce Management.

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