A Springboard To Better Training: Interview With Duane Wells Of CertSpring

Without a doubt, CertSpring is one of the best tools on the market for training, testing and teaching. Giving users the ability to quickly aggregate content to create a learning program in almost no time, it is a hit with many users spread out among different levels of management and industries, eliminating the bottlenecks that hampered progress in companies training their employees. CalixTech was able to speak Duane Wells, creator of CertSpring, and get an in depth look on the conception, current status and future plans for the successful app.

Glad to finally get a hold of you! How have thing been with you and CertSpring?

Things have been fantastic, moving quick with our releases, development team has gotten more agile. More busy customers are coming up

What was your inspiration to create CertSpring? What in the market drove you to create it?

That’s a good question! With a lot of start-ups around, as an entrepreneur that you find an opportunity you have to do something about. Paul Cheney, who wrote The Digital Handshake, and I put together a group 5 years called Social Media Leaning Institute which was designed to go to Fortune 500 companies. We educated their leaders how social media impacted their businesses, such as HR conducting internal social media projects with employees. As we did this consulting, we found there were a lot of bottlenecks in the ability for middle managers to create training programs due to appropriation processes and a lot of red tape. We felt the companies could do a whole lot of things much more efficiently, but there was a roadblock in regards to the training flowing freely through the organization because you have one or two people appropriating it.

Through the process of talking with managers and figuring out the nuances, we started to learn that the idea of micro-learning had started to hit the mainstream, but we realized hat content was an issue and that was one of the largest roadblocks these companies. Given that a lot of the software created at the time had been developed by academic people and not by business people, roadblocks with ease of use and the costs involved with creating a normal training program, we realized there was a huge problem and we needed to find a solution.

An interesting twist to this we realized that certificate programs were becoming more prevalent when you take all of those factors and put them together, those were the building blocks that led us to create CertSpring.

I looked up the application and found a general idea of your market, but what are your target audiences and industries for this application?

That’s an interesting question. When you’re starting a company, the accessibility of a market doesn’t always line up with your idea of what market you want to go after. Our audacious goal is that we want to see every small business in the country gets training and increases efficiency implementing a learning program. That is our big vision and we think it is possible, more possible than when Bill Gates said that there would be a PC on every desktop and everybody laughed at him. We feel this is very realistic.

Our market, if you look at the online learning space today, there’s a lot of agreement around the fact that online training is $150 billion dollar industry. Out of that there is about $10 billion dollars that is geared toward self-paced training. Out of that, there is about $1 billion or so that is aimed at organizations that have between 50 and 2000 employees that are entering the online training market for the first time. We focus on those 2000 users. That is a huge market, so we have to narrow it down. Our two big users are software and hardware companies that create training programs for their customers so that can certify them and provide some sort of knowledge verification to make sure they understand their platform or product.

What are you immediate future expansion and adding more features?

So far, we have built this company on communicating with our clients and understanding their needs. We are committed to using that approach to how we innovate for the product. WE have studied hundreds of possible features for years and we think some are cool, but in order to stay true to our nature and keep this extremely simple, we have to be very conservative about the features we add to this product. So, while we don’t have any enormous plans in specific, we do have a road map that we add to based on what our customers want.

The main thing our customers want to be able to do is get learning programs up and running quickly, so the features associated with that, such as uploading a spreadsheet of users instead of having to manually add them, or connecting their database without so that they can authenticate automatically. These are new innovations we are looking into. I also see gaming as something we will get into in 2016, an we have a road map for it set.

As far as competition, what do you feel sets you apart from your competition?

There is a lot of competition among the learning providers to be able to do certain things using contemporary technology. We’re still, without question, the easiest online tool available. That s what we are focused on, that is our message and that is what resonates with our users the most. If you want to aggregate content together to create a learning system with us, you can do it in 15 minutes. Is it that easy.

Duane definitely left us with a great impression, especially after CertSprings’ stellar showing at DC TechDay back in October. As Duane explained to us today and his creation has shown many users, CertSpring is definitely something to keep on your radar.

About the Author

Ron Morris
Ron Morris
Columnist @PajamaGamerCT

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