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Bersin & Associates Releases 2008 Predictions

Rapid shift in markets for learning and talent systems, significant investments in management and leadership development, explosion of new technologies for corporate networking among trends seen for coming year

Oakland, CA – January 3, 2008 – Bersin & Associates, the only research and advisory firm solely focused on WhatWorks® in enterprise learning and talent management, today released its 2008 annual predictions for these markets. The 20-page document, available for download at, gives companies trends and planning guidance in areas such as HR and corporate training organizations to support workforce shifts new technology platforms, investment trends in training and talent management programs, and social networking and other new approaches for workforce management.

Highlights of observations, based on Bersin & Associates research conducted throughout 2007, include:

  • More than 20% of corporate training dollars ($14B) are directed at solving talent and skills gaps in mid-level management positions. Management training and leadership development are the top two areas of focus for corporate HR, yet only 8% of companies are delivering these programs at high levels of effectiveness. Organizations are expected to dramatically grow these investments in 2008, despite a slowing economy.
  • Facebook is coming to corporate America. Twenty-eight percent of learning executives recently surveyed said that they needed to improve internal collaboration as part of their learning strategies and more than 40% of respondents state they have a “significant challenge”in the recruiting, onboarding, and training of younger workers. Social networking and informal learning networks are among the top three growth areas for HR in 2008. Software companies such as Mzinga and Tomoye, both of which market Facebook-like applications for corporate networking, will find much market interest in 2008.
  • The $600M learning management systems market will undergo major shifts in the coming year. Bersin & Associates research shows that 30% of LMS purchases are now made as part of an integrated talent management systems strategy. This shift has forced learning technology vendors to invest heavily in features and functions that go far beyond e-learning. Additionally, companies are finding that customized learning portals which support podcasting, video, webcasting, and other forms of learning on-demand are much more popular with employees. Consequently, many organizations are looking to redesign their corporate learning and knowledge management systems.
  • Soon-to-be-published research on integrated talent management suites shows that this new market is now greater than $2B in software and services and growing rapidly. This new software category, which encompasses integrated solutions for performance management, succession planning, recruiting, compensation, and learning, is becoming the next big corporate market, with more than 40 different software vendors currently vying for dollars. Bersin & Associates predicts continued competition among small and mid-sized software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendors for leadership.
  • Organizations continue to invest heavily in e-learning tools and solutions, but with frustrating results. More than 60% of survey respondents say their companies’ e-learning solutions and strategies are inadequate and could be revamped to improve impact and relevance to meet the needs of younger workers and web 2.0 technologies.
  • Outsourcing services related to corporate HR and learning will be in high demand. Companies offering specialized services in e-learning, HR platforms, recruiting, and HR back office functions will continue to grow. However, most outsourcing providers are struggling to deal with the rapid changes in HR software and integrated learning and talent management.


“We publish these predictions to distill more than 3,000 pages of research published in 2007 and offer to companies a short list of primary considerations that can guide planning for the year ahead,” said Josh Bersin, president. “All executives – and not just those in learning and HR – would do well to keep these trends in mind in months to come.”

Enterprise Learning and Talent Management 2008 is available for download at The trends and research referenced in this report will be discussed in detail at Bersin & Associates’ upcoming conference, IMPACT 2008: The Business of Talent, April 22-24 in St. Petersburg, FL ( .

About Bersin & Associates 

Bersin & Associates is the only research and advisory services firm focused solely on research in enterprise learning and talent management. Bersin & Associates’ WhatWorks® research and research-based services are designed to deliver actionable direction and to help improve operational effectiveness and business impact.


Bersin & Associates research members gain access to a comprehensive library of best practices, case studies, benchmarks, and in-depth market analyses designed to guide professionals in making fast and confident decisions. Research areas include planning and strategy, learning programs and delivery, talent management, technology and infrastructure, and measurement and analytics. Member benefits include in-depth advisory services, access to proprietary webcasts, on-site analyst visits, and strategic workshops. Bersin & Associates produces IMPACT 2008: The Business of Talent, the only research conference focused exclusively on trends, best practices, and benchmarks in corporate learning and talent management. For more information, go to or call 561 455 0622.