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Smartforce and Centra: What’s the story?


Here on TrainingZONE, it's rare we focus on specific companies in our news pages, but the acquisition of e-learning platform providers Centra by e-learning company Smartforce has been one of the big news stories of late, so we couldn't let it pass. At the Learning Technologies show last week, TrainingZONE spoke to SmartForce Global Programmes Manager Laura Overton about the plans to take these two big names in e-learning forward.

TrainingZONE: Laura, can you confirm - is this a merger or an acquisition?

Laura Overton: It's an acquisition of Centra by SmartForce. Both organisations saw the benefits in moving together, though, as both are solutions-orientated. We intend to keep the brands separate. SmartForce has 2m active learners and is the only profitable quoted e-learning company, with revenues three times that of the nearest quoted competitor. Centra is also a market leader. We are still in the early stages of joining these two operations together.

TrainingZONE: Obviously SmartForce and Centra offer different technologies - how are these going to fit together?

Laura Overton: The SmartForce and Centra platforms are very open and flexible. Both are ACC compliant. It's unclear at this time whether the platforms will merge - what we want is to provide more choice for customers. We wouldn't want to take anything away from what's already there.

TrainingZONE: What do you see happening to the e-learning market over the coming months?

Laura Overton: The market has been characterised by fragmentation to date - the industry has been very much vendor-driven rather than solutions-driven. With LMS providers, content providers and platform providers all out there, there's an issue of bringing all this together and making it work.

Related story:
SmartForce acquires Centra


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