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Skills Development: The Real Return on Investment for Business Leaders

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by Richard Kennealy, Director, IBM Global Skills Initiative


I was recently asked, “How do you measure the real benefits and return on investment (ROI) that training brings to lines of business such as sales, customer service and product development?” One way is to compare organizations that provide training with companies that do not. In a new study1, Towards Maturity, a non-profit organization based in the United Kingdom, polled 501 respondents representing more than 2 million employees. The study found a return on investment for business leaders who invest in skills and training to drive the installation, implementation and engagement of business solutions. Other training benefits for companies using learning technology include:


22% faster rollouts of products and processes using learning technology

  • 22% faster rollouts of products and processes
  • 16% increase in customer satisfaction
  • 9% increase in staff retention

Aberdeen Group found similar results. Best-in-class organizations are 93 percent more likely to have social learning as part of their formal learning strategy, 94 percent more likely to leverage user-created video content, and 119 percent more likely to utilize mobile learning.2


35% reduction in time spent searching for sales content

Another way to measure ROI is to compare results before and after a skills program has been delivered. After implementing a learning program, AMD reduced the time sales staff spent searching for content from 8.5 hours per week to 5.5 hours per week.3

IBM Global Training Provider advisors can work with you to build a skills program that fits your business needs. Advisors can help you:

  • Select a training class
  • Plan your career path and help you stay on target to meet your goals
  • Identify certification tracks and courses that meet your training objectives
  • Understand the benefits of various delivery methods and how they may be combined to enhance your training experience
  • Choose the perfect savings program for your budget


Only 1 in 10 organizations has all the skills it needs to be successful

The dynamics of the modern workforce are making it difficult for companies to find, develop and keep talented workers. A full 90 percent of organizations do not have all the skills they need to be successful4.

47% of U.S. employees will be those born after 1977 by the end of 2013. They learn differently

The problem is compounded by changing demographics. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 47 percent of U.S. employees will be those born after 1977 by the end of 2013.5 And the data are similar worldwide. Like every generation before them, Millennials think and learn differently; they expect a modern approach to skills development.

We have teamed with IBM Global Training Providers to increase the reach of IBM Training across the world. We are driving innovation in how we deliver training and how we reach our students. So far, we have rolled out this program to a large number of countries where IBM solutions are sold. IBM continues its commitment to this program and our commitment to driving skills into the marketplace. We invite you to get involved in the conversation and help us shape the way the world learns. Visit the IBM Training website, select your country, and then engage with an IBM Global Training Provider.

1Bridging the Gap: Integrating Learning and Work, Towards Maturity Benchmark Study, 2012-2013

2Zoom in on Video Learning, Aberdeen, 2013

3IBM Case Study – AMD, 2013

4The 2012 IBM Tech Trends Report, Fast Track to the Future, IBM Center For Applied Insights, 2012

5U.S. Census Bureau,

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