Small firm beats industry leaders

TAMLYN STEWART
Last updated 08:38 15/10/2012
Glenn Bull

WAREHOUSE PILOT: Glenn Bull, chief executive of Christchurch e-learning software business Skilitix, is delighted with its international e-learning award.

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A small Christchurch software company has beaten entries by Microsoft and KPMG to win gold in the international Brandon Hall Research Excellence in Learning Awards.

The awards recognise the best in content, technology and initiatives in workplace learning around the world.

A joint entry by Skilitix and The Warehouse won a gold award in the best use of mobile learning category, for mobile training software InterAct, developed by Skilitix and trialled by The Warehouse in a paid pilot project in 12 stores last year.

Entries by KPMG and Microsoft in the same category won silver and bronze respectively.

Skilitix chief executive Glenn Bull said the company was now in "high-growth mode" and would open an office in San Francisco in March next year at the Kiwi Landing Pad.

The Kiwi Landing Pad was set up to help selected New Zealand technology companies establish and grow their business in the United States.

Supported by prominent tech investors and the New Zealand Government, the landing pad provides offices in downtown San Francisco and gives tenants access to contacts in the US business and investment community.

Skilitix's InterAct software product was designed primarily for the US market because that was the largest e-learning market worldwide, Bull said.

In the US, a Fortune 500 company was already using the firm's e-learning software.

New Zealand clients include BNZ, Westpac, Z Energy and Waitemata DHB.

The Warehouse will include InterAct as part of the staff management training programme that it plans to introduce in all stores in the next 12 to 18 months.

Bull said so far the company's focus had been on research and development and although he would not reveal Skilitix's revenue, he said its prospects were good.

Skilitix was talking to potential investors from New Zealand and overseas, and there was no shortage of them, he said.

Bull would not reveal the pricing structure of the e-learning software, saying it varied depending on a customer's needs but it was a "premium product". "It is not cheap by any means."

For some firms, the cost could be in the tens of thousands of dollars, but in the US market it could go into six figures, he said.

"It is not a little widget . . . It is a very large and sophisticated platform."

The software would be a large part of a company's infrastructure.

Bull said rapid takeup of tablets had created a surge in interest in mobile e-learning.

Smartphones and tablets offered flexibility that was changing e-learning, allowing learners to access the training when and where they chose.

Skilitix is a subsidiary of parent company Hand Multimedia which was founded 15 years ago in Christchurch.

Skilitix has 10 staff in Christchurch and would increase that to 15 by February, and would hire three more in March. Five staff will be based in San Francisco, but the development team would remain in Christchurch.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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