Speedy LMS Launch with TalentLMS

About my Guest:

Christos Mathiopoulos is the Head of Alliances at Epignosis, responsible for the reseller network and strategic technology partnerships. Christos has been with Epignosis for over 12 years. His strong interest in eLearning technology and his dedication to establishing seamless alignments with business goals contributed to the company’s transition from a startup to a market leader in the learning technology space.

On a mission to democratize eLearning, Epignosis’s portfolio includes eFront, TalentLMS, and TalentCards, which have helped hundreds of thousands of organizations of all sizes across the globe deliver better training.

More about Christos Mathiopoulos

More about TalentLMS

More about Epignosis

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Transcript of the Interview

{Edited for Ease of Reading}

Petra Mayer  00:04

Hello and welcome. My name is Petra Mayer, and I’m the CEO and founder of Petra Mayer and Associates Consulting and today, I’m super thrilled to have with me Christos Mathiopoulos of Epignosis Learning Technology. Christos is the Head of Alliances at Epignosis, responsible for the reseller network and Strategic Technology Partnerships. He’s been with Epignosis for over 12 years and has a strong interest in eLearning technology.

His dedication to establishing seamless alignment with business goals contributed to the company’s transition from a startup to a market leader in the learning technology space. On a mission to democratize eLearning, Epignosis’s portfolio includes eFront, TalentLMS, and TalentCards. Which have helped hundreds of 1000s of organizations of all sizes across the globe deliver better training. Welcome, Chris.

Christos Mathiopoulos  01:02

Hello, Petra, and thank you for having us.


I’m really thrilled to have you here. Now, as you know, today’s topic is predominantly TalentLMS. But before we go into detail about that, I’d like you to perhaps share with us your view, in a sentence or two, of how you characterize the market of learning management systems.

Christos Mathiopoulos  01:25

The global LMS market is a highly competitive market. Its size is projected to grow from 16 billion this year to over 40 billion by 2029. Over the last decade, the market has grown steadily. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a speed-up of the digital transformation and transition from offline to online learning. The market has also seen an influx of LMS vendors entering the market during this time, which is, of course, a good thing for market dynamics. But buyers also need to be careful in selecting a reliable partner to support the learning programs.

Petra Mayer  02:05

Yes, and I think what you’re speaking towards already in this very first sentence. When you say, buyers need to be careful in selecting a reliable partner. Is also that understanding of what is the right partner for them, which is the reason behind my doing these interview series. To get some knowledge into the market of how the different learning management systems apply to different market segments. So what do you think is a common misconception about learning management systems that clients might have before they get started?

Christos Mathiopoulos  02:41

I think a common misconception is that all learning management systems are bulky. That they require advanced technical knowledge to use and may take months to get set up. But this is not necessarily the case. Many customers who have TalentLMS are actually surprised with how intuitive it is to get set up, create courses, enroll users, and create reports. In fact, TalentLMS customers go live in just one and a half months. In many cases, much sooner, which is much faster than the average category of two and a half months, according to third-party review sites like G2  and others.

Petra Mayer  03:26

I can certainly witness that, I was involved with one of my clients who used TalentLMS. I found it very easy to build courses on and build out the courses and get TalentLMS up and running. So I can relate to what you’re saying there  From that client experience.

Christos Mathiopoulos  03:43

Great. That’s good to hear.

Petra Mayer  03:45

What are recent trends in online learning that impact the choice of systems? You’ve already alluded to how markets have shifted through the pandemic. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

Christos Mathiopoulos  03:57

Over the last two years, we’ve been going through this COVID pandemic, and this has obviously transitioned the work environments into a hybrid work environment, which in line also means hybrid training, as well. These all have had an impact on the choice of learning management systems. Organizations now choose learning management systems that optimize support for the hybrid environment and allow for blended learning with features like online and in-person. As well as synchronous and asynchronous training, gamification features to increase learner engagement and native integrations with web conferencing tools.

Another trend we’re also seeing is the lack of resources and time that administrators and trainers face. This has led to the increasing importance of both having ready-made content and course libraries to use, as well as automation to help the administrators manage their learning management systems.

Petra Mayer  05:01

You’ve spoken to a lot of different items of what clients might need to consider. So when you think about TalentLMS. How does TalentLMS meet all these different new needs that the clients have?

Christos Mathiopoulos  05:18

TalentLMS supports all those features that I just mentioned. We have both the support for blended courses. We also allow for the courses to be set up to meet the flow that the trainers want to make. That can also include the synchronous but also asynchronous aspects of the training. TalentLMS has very advanced gamification functionality as well. We have things like points, badges, levels, and leaderboards for learners to be able to see how they compare against their peers. The whole idea here is to try and promote healthy competition between learners. Increase engagement through those gamification features.

And, of course, the native integrations with web conferencing tools like Zoom and Teams. Many customers often have a web conferencing tool in place, and they want to integrate with that specific one. We have integrations with Zoom, Teams, and Go-To-Meeting, to name a few. We have others as well. But over the last two years, I would say, Zoom and Teams are the most popular.

Petra Mayer  07:03

What do organizations searching for an LMS have to keep in mind before signing up for any particular system?

Christos Mathiopoulos  07:14

This is an important question, and we can say a lot about this. Organizations need to be strict with shortlisting, they must have functions and key features that they need to have in the next LMS. Make sure they involve all key stakeholders in this process. This is essential for remaining focused in the search. But also cutting out the clutter that may look good but ultimately doesn’t meet their business needs. They should also check if they have any software integrations; they need to ensure compatibility with and with their existing tech stack.

At the end of the day, setting up a new LMS is an investment in time, resources, and of course, budget. With clear budgets and implementation expectations, the timeframe and how quickly you need to start delivering training will help refine the search and ensure expectations are managed.

Petra Mayer  08:16

I think that is very true. What you’re saying is that organizations need to be very clear about their requirements before signing up for a system. Which I think often doesn’t happen that way. Then, in the end, there might be some surprises. So having said all that, who would you say is the ideal user for TalentLMS for one of your systems?

Christos Mathiopoulos  08:42

TalentLMS is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses. Ranging typically between 50 to 1000 learners. TalentLMS’s fast implementation timing, ease of use, and fast-tracked return on investment make it perfect for small and medium-sized businesses that want to remain competitive. In addition, the reduced administration and adoption risks help make it an easy decision for buyers. Allowing them more time to focus on the actual delivery of training as well.

We’ve also seen an increasing trend in the enterprise clients supporting more users with custom supporting even more than 50,000 users. That needs fast, scalable change solutions that are feature rich. A common use case here is large multinational organizations that opted for TalentLMS to deliver department or team-specific training. Instead of using their existing LMS because it was much easier to set up from scratch than using the existing LMS.

Petra Mayer  09:49

Does that mean that you’re seeing quite a few clients who are switching from an existing LMS to TalentLMS because of the ease of administration?

Christos Mathiopoulos  10:04

Well, my point there was that existing clients, especially enterprise clients who already have an LMS in place to support global learning needs. Often have decided to implement TalentLMS because it’s so much easier to set up from scratch than adjust their existing in-house LMS to support that specific team’s training needs. So that’s a common use case that we have with larger organizations.

But in many cases, once that team starts implementing TalentLMS,  other teams then start wanting to replicate their success and also utilize TalentLMS. Instead of the existing LMS and then slowly replacing their in-house LMS.

Petra Mayer  11:04

Epignosis has other systems eFront end TalentCards. Can you give a brief overview of how they differ from TalentLMS?

Christos Mathiopoulos  11:15

Apart from TalentLMS, we also have eFront, which is our enterprise learning management system, and TalentCards, which is our mobile-first micro-learning solution. So eFront is ideal for large organizations that have more advanced requirements or have specific needs that require a custom solution that can be supported. Whether it’s plugin functionality or needing an on-premise solution, and have advanced security requirements.

TalentCards, on the other hand, is a mobile micro-learning solution delivering bite-sized learning by native mobile apps in card format. TalentCards is ideal for companies who want to deliver training to a remote workforce and to ensure they have everything they need on the go.

Petra Mayer  12:06

So I hope that in the future, we might have the opportunity to dive deeper into one or both of those other systems. But just as an overview question, does it happen that you have a client who uses more than one of your systems in order to combine the different strengths that they have?

Christos Mathiopoulos  12:23

We do, yes. So we have native integrations between our systems. We have customers on eFront, who have also decided to utilize TalentCards to deliver more informal type training. Or training their mobile workforce. So, they managed to solve different needs using the two different solutions.

Petra Mayer  12:57

Thank you for answering that. So what are the features where TalentLMS excels over the other systems in the market and specifically delivers that value to your clients? How does it differ from other systems?

Christos Mathiopoulos  13:13

TalentLMS is one of the most popular reasons we’ve seen from customers that they opted for TalentLMS is its user-friendly and intuitive interface. This is also reiterated in the latest reports by G2, where TalentLMS scored 91% for ease of setup, which is well above the category average of 84%. In addition to the ease of use, the comprehensive content editor easily adds content from a variety of sources and creates content directly.

We have an automation engine to help administrators automate repeated tasks and advanced reporting with pre-built reports. But also an inbuilt custom reports feature to get the exact information that the customer is looking for. We also have the branches feature, which allows customers to reflect on their organizational training structures. For example, it can be used to reflect different departments or teams or maybe even customers or partners and each with their own set of training. Branches essentially give Talent LMS flexibility to support multiple use cases individually or together.

We also have a TalentLibrary which is our inbuilt course offering, which is a collection of over 600 ready-made courses at the moment. We will reach over 1000 by the end of 2023. All these, plus the streamlined self-service process from purchase to setup, that TalentLMS is recognized as one of the most affordable training solutions and really placed TalentLMS in a unique position offering the best value compared to the competition.

Petra Mayer  13:33

You mentioned TalentLibrary and the courses that are available to your clients off the shelf. What variety of courses do you offer? What are typical examples of courses that are part of TalentLMS?

Christos Mathiopoulos  15:23

So, typically, we offer skills of a generic nature. For example, leadership skills, sales training, marketing essentials, and various courses are generic enough to be applicable to various customers. We have customers from various different verticals. Making sure that those courses are applicable to everyone was an important piece for us.

Also, even with off-the-shelf course offerings, the end customer, in many cases, will also need their own custom courses for their own specific processes and training needs that they have. So, for this reason, we decided not to go too specific in the talent library but offer a variety of courses that interest pretty much everyone.

We have on our website a link to TalentLibrary, where you can see exactly, by collection, all the courses available, which we constantly update as well. So, as I said, by the end of ’23, we’ll have 1000 courses, and we’re adding 50 new courses every quarter.

Petra Mayer  16:47

Awesome. What is, you mentioned this before, you mentioned how the ease of implementation, the ease of a rollout, and it can be set up within two weeks. So what does a typical implementation of TalentLMS look like?

Christos Mathiopoulos  17:01

Typical implementation follows the standard things that you would expect from an LMS. So first of all, reflecting the changing structure. So this differs, depending on the exact use case, but may include reflecting different departments and different teams. Getting a customer subsection using branches set up, or one for partners, or reflecting jobs and job-specific training or other, specific learning tracks.

So all these things are important to set up from the start properly. Then, of course, adding the branding and colours to the TalentLMS portal makes the customer feel it’s their own. Adding courses through the content, whether the TalentLibrary offering that we discussed. But also the customer will also need to upload their own specific courses that they will need. This is typically, really, the most time-consuming part of the implementation. Getting the courses on the system and set up as they actually wanted them to deliver.

But, once they do have the courses, they’re setting up automations, which are optional but help streamline the administration of the system and notifications. To help automate communications with learners based on events. And so once all these things are set up, the final step is adding users. And this could be done through an existing integration with a user database, typically an HR system. The customer may have or mass import via excel or various other options. So once the users are in there as well, it’s ready to go, and they start delivering training.

Petra Mayer  19:05

So in a typical implementation, then how does TalentLMS Epignosis, how do you support that client in learning how to do all those things? There were a lot of tasks you mentioned. Sometimes people are new to TalentLMS. How will they navigate through this?

Christos Mathiopoulos  19:24

That’s a very good and important question, Petra. First of all, we have an inbuilt, very comprehensive help section with detailed knowledge base articles and step-by-step guides on how to do various things in TalentLMS. We even have articles on how to get started on TalentLMS, which really detail the steps involved.

Apart from that, we can set up a training session for our premium customers. And really make sure that their administrators are trained on the system and feel comfortable with getting set up. We also have, you know, dedicated support teams who are there really to help customers with any additional questions they may have.

Petra Mayer  20:29

Thank you, Chris. What’s the pricing model that you offer to your clients? So how do they choose which level? You mentioned premium clients, so you seem to have different levels of what clients can choose from.

Christos Mathiopoulos  20:43

Yep. So we offer various paid plans based on functionality. So the premium plans, as I mentioned earlier, are the ones that support the full functionality of the system. And can support the variety of use cases that we briefly touched on. We then have the plans also split between registered or active users. Active users are based on unique user logins per month.

And then, we also have the TalentLibrary offering, which changes the pricing. So, TalentLMS can be available standalone or with the TalentLibrary. Either billed monthly or annually. To add to that, Petra, I feel it’s important that you know that TalentLMS is one of the only corporate LMSs offering a freemium model.

And, you know, this really gives me the opportunity to prospect customers actually to test it,  create content, use the various features available. To make sure they make an informed and unrest decision about whether TalentLMS is the right choice for them. And what we’ve seen is about 66% of my enterprise customers actually start by using the free plan. And then, you know, once they’ve tested it, and they’re happy with it, they then switch to a paid subscription.

Petra Mayer  22:18

Okay, that certainly will help many to decide if this is the right system for them. So what is one thing that you wish all clients knew before they come to you?

Christos Mathiopoulos  22:33

I think, aside from the considerations I mentioned earlier, we recommend that clients have clear training objectives in mind and they are already aligned with the business goals. So, for example, why do they need an LMS? What do they want to achieve? Which teams do they want to train? And, last but most important, in my opinion, make sure that they’ve involved all key stakeholders in this decision as well. Because those are the ones who will ultimately ensure the business goals are achieved. These are things that I feel are key to ensuring the buyers are able to then make an informed decision about which LMS to go with.

Petra Mayer  23:19

Excellent. Thank you so much for everything you’ve shared with us today about TalentLMS and your other systems. I look forward to hopefully having the chance to talk to you again about TalentCards, which I think is a fascinating model with mobile learning, and microlearning apps. That’s very unique. I’d love to speak more about that in the future. But for today, I thank you for your time.

Christos Mathiopoulos  23:46

Great. Thank you, Petra Mayer, that was it. Thank you for having us, and it’ll be my pleasure to speak again in the future.

Petra Mayer  23:53

Thank you.

About the author 

Petra Mayer