Storytelling about Epignosis with Dimitris Tsingos
Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 179. This week we have storytelling about Epignosis with Dimitris Tsingos (Medium, Youtube). We’re going to learn about the business case and the use case or cost benefit analysis for why his customers have chosen to actually work with him and his company.
Show length: 27 minutes
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Dimitris Tsingos is the Co-founder and President at Epignosis, the parent company behind TalentLMS and a leader in workplace learning software. Epignosis’s premium yet affordable platforms- eFront, TalentLMS, and TalentCards- have been chosen by hundreds of thousands of companies around the world who want to help their people grow and excel. Dimitris is also the Founder and CEO of Starttech Ventures, the private investor and venture builder where Epignosis was born along with several other tech companies. He holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Crete and an MBA International from the Athens University of Economics and Business.
Music: Welcome to Recruiting Daily’s Use Case podcast, a show dedicated to the storytelling that happens or should happen when practitioners purchase technology. Each episode is designed to inspire new ways and ideas to make your business better. As we speak with the brightest minds in recruitment in HR tech, that’s what we do. Here’s your host, William Tincup.
William Tincup: Ladies, gentlemen, this is William Tincup and you are listening to Use Case podcast. Today we have Dimitris on from Epignosis, and he’s going to explain the name because it’s Latin and Greek and has a wonderful actual background. I’ll get him to actually correct my pronunciation of course, but we’re going to learn about the business case and the use case or cost benefit analysis for why his customers have chosen to actually work with him and his company. So, without any further ado, Demetrius, would you please-
Dimitris Tsingo: Hi William.
William Tincup: Hello? Would you do us a favor, the audience a favor and introduce both yourself and Epignosis.
Dimitris Tsingo: Absolutely. I’m Dimitris Tsingos, I’m the co-founder and President at Epignosis. Thanks so much for making the comment regarding our name. I think it’s a good start for our conversation. Epignosis, or e-pē’-gnō-s’s in Greek is an answered Greek and Latin world, which basically translates like consciousness. It’s gnosis in Greek means knowledge. So, epignosis is to be on top of knowledge, which is something like consciousness. And by the way, that was the cornerstone of the Socratic philosophy of the philosophy introduced by Socrates. So, we were inspired by this to start our company and offer technology that really helps companies to better educate people in and around them. Because as we know training is the key way to knowledge and we live in a knowledge dominate economy. So, that was the story of our name or less.
William Tincup: I love it. I love origin stories that are like this that’ll just give me goosebumps. We got to actually talk about the elephant in a room with COVID and people working remotely and how that’s changed the training, the way that companies should look at development, look at training and bespoke training or whether or not it’s micro learning or however, the bid is, how do they look at that? So, take us into your world, maybe pre COVID and obviously technically we’re still in COVID, but getting closer to normalized. Tell us a little bit about how companies have looked at training differently.
Dimitris Tsingo: Absolutely. What is very interesting with COVID and with learning is that basically the pandemic really accelerating, accelerated existing dynamics. So, what is happening during the last years, over the last years is that the economy of the world is becoming more and more knowledge intensive. So, knowledge is becoming a key differentiator, a key competitive advantage. So, any company of any size all over the world, they already had a need to educate, to trade people in them, people around them in the most efficient way. Then COVID came it significantly accelerated, very significantly accelerated this existing dynamic. Also, introducing the concept of the full remote.
So, having so many distributed organizations right now, organizations that are designed. Now we live an era, but there are many businesses out there that are designed to have either their entirely or some parts of them being full remote. And this new flexibility, brings many advantages, but also brings many challenges. And some of those challenges are also in the learning area and they are also an opportunity for companies like us to offer technology solutions that help organizations to deal with those challenges and while be remote and distributed to offer an excellent learning experience to their employees and to the people around them.
William Tincup: I love this because I studied knowledge management systems a hundred years ago, and it was really interesting to see how some of the best companies in the world captured knowledge. In all that was structured knowledge, it wasn’t the water cooler stuff, but they structured knowledge. So, if you needed to answer a question, you could go into the knowledge management system and you could answer that. There’s been a lot of iterations on that and a lot of improvements, thank God to that. But when you deal, when you talk with somebody that maybe doesn’t have that infrastructure of learning and maybe they’ve always wanted to, and you just haven’t been able to get around to it, or they’ve had other priorities. What’s your optimal setup for them to then really, really get learning to proliferate through their organization?
Dimitris Tsingo: Absolutely. So, the whole idea besides behind our flag product TalentLMS, which can be found on TalentLMS.com is that there is a dead simple, that simple solution so that any organization of any kind can have a learning portal up and running within, in a matter of seconds. So, the key idea here is easiness. Our mission is to democratize learning basically in two ways, to make it very easy and very affordable. Those are the two key dimensions. We want to make it easy for organizations to deploy premium learning technologies. So, they can really execute all these very nice policies for diversity equity And inclusion. There is so much learning that needs to be done, security which is so important in an online world. Suddenly, all of a sudden the number of employees that needs to be educated around IT and network security was increased by several orders of magnitude overnight because of COVID.
And only a dead simple learning technology platform. Like the one we develop can really help its every company to respond to this very important need. That’s why I emphasize a lot on the factor on the aspect of easiness and together with that, let me say that affordability is very important. The LMS platforms demand systems of the past until five to 10 years ago. They used to be expensive software, limited only to the very big organizations, we think that there is an issue there. So, the mission is really to… And the vision to make premium living technology accessible, to all, both in terms of easiness and affordability.
William Tincup: So, learning programming and you’re going to see this a little bit more differently than I do, but what I’ve seen in learning programming in let’s say the last 18 months is that it’s tied to recruiting. Let’s say if you don’t have a great a learning philosophy and learning program internally, it’s actually harder to recruit talent. Because that’s one of the questions they ask and the hiring process is, how are you going to make me better? It’s also tied that I’ve seen, it’s been tied to internal mobility. So, once an employee is in, how do they train themselves? How do they develop or how do you train them and develop them? And then how do they get on to their next role next greatest role within your company? And the other is retention. How do you train and develop people so that they don’t feel like they need to leave and go elsewhere for that training or other experiences? That’s just three basic things that I’ve seen. What are you seeing with your customers and how they’re looking at learning differently today?
Dimitris Tsingo: You are incredibly to the point. We’ve run a couple of big surveys together with other significant vendors from the recruitment technology like ATS platforms, applicant, and others, and the results have been impressive. So, learning opportunities was coming no right after compensation was coming on the top as the key criterion for a new hire, not only that, but for retention, company, people, employees, the good employees, the high performance were staying in companies. One of the key reasons why they were staying were the existing learning opportunities, upskilling and reskilling. So, yes you could not be… I could not agree more with you. It’s becoming evident that in the modern workplace offering flexible and tailor made learning opportunities, flexibility is very, very important. Let’s focus on that because we live in a dynamic environment. So, offering personalized, but also flexible learning opportunities is what make the best candidates to go to a company that it’s recruiting people. And also it helps a company to retain the best of their talent, extremely important from every point of view.
William Tincup: You know what I love is with TalentLMS in your LMS solution. It’s, you’ve got the compliance part of training that’s covered, which is historical and needed. You’ve got to have that stuff from onboarding. You’ve got to be able to train people on different policies and stuff like that. That stuff it’s important worldwide. It’s important to have that. So, that compliance part is important, but one of the things that you focused in on and you just said is skills and upskilling, et cetera. What do you do? Or what are you seeing from your customers in terms of how they do the… Where the employee needs to go next in terms of skills? How do they do the assessment? Is it, self assessment or is it testing? How do they develop what they want to learn, but also how they need to upskill?
Dimitris Tsingo: Exactly. Thanks, William. I think that the most successful between our customers are those who manage to identify the skill gaps within their organizations and using apply like TalentLMS, really gives many tools. It makes it easy to really identify the skills’ gap. And once you have this information, you can really offer your team the right upskilling and reskilling opportunities. So, in a sense, I would see it from a nature perspective, an x-ray of your organization. So, you can really know what the problem is, where the gaps are. And then with a system like TalentLMS you can offer a very wide spectrum. As you said, compliance is one thing, but also very personalized things, like I said before, it security, there is an issue of technology literacy. So, you can offer personalized, flexible training opportunities, very targeted and very efficiently. Why? Because of thanks to the skills’ gap analysis that we have already performed, that’s one of the key advantages for an organization of any size with using platform like TalentLMS
William Tincup: It’s funny, you’ll laugh at me, but I’ve written about this. So, it’s actually public. I think that the best learning systems and all this learning philosophies, if you will, for the CLOs and the folks that run training of development or learning and development is to offer both what you’re saying is easy to use, flexible, highly personalized, but also things that are not work related. So, I’ve stepped out of the role of, Hey, it’s great if someone wants to learn Python and you’ve got different levels of Python and they can self diagnose what they want to learn and take the courses and go through the bit. But if they weren’t drone racing, that’s just a passion that they have and it’s outside of work. Why don’t you have that content? And-
Dimitris Tsingo: Exactly. Thank you so much for…
William Tincup: Go ahead.
Dimitris Tsingo: Thank you so much for raising that because that’s so incredibly important and I feel think more and more organization already do it. I would like to encourage them to do it even more to go for the ready made courses. We need to have a very effective mix. Of course, there will always be custom training material and training needs for some organizations. But now as exactly you said, there is tone of ready made courses available. And with TalentLMS in the beginning of the pandemic, we introduced talent library. It’s a library of more than 1000 ready made courses of excellent quality, let in issues from it security from sales training, marketing training, diversity equity, and inclusion training. So, there is more than 1000 courses readily available for all of our subscribers, with a very small market on their subscription.
And we can see a very effective and efficient way that our customers are using that. So, a very… Let’s say clever, intelligent combination of their own custom made training material complimented by the already made courses. Exactly, as you said, because someone might just want to learn Python or somebody might want to learn a foreign language or something like that and the organization has to offer those opportunities. The contemporary organization has to offer those opportunities to their employees.
William Tincup: I think the ones that do have a good chance of keeping folks and retaining those folks and even engaging them and doing other things and those that don’t do it at their peril historically Dimitris, LMSs have suffered from, I’d say the fate of a great database, maybe expensive, great database. And either you had to build your own content, it was either built in, or you bought syndicated content, or you built your own content. And so what have you seen and what I’m really trying to drive towards is usage. How do your customers like stories that you’ve seen where they’re proactive in getting people… Because it’s great to have it in a place for a check, no argument. But we still got to get people to consume it, use it, adopt it, et cetera. So, what have you seen with some of your customers? No, you don’t have to name names of course, but just things that they’ve done programmatically to get people to consume content.
Dimitris Tsingo: First of all, it’s flexibility. It’s very important for organizations to leave room for personal development. For example, do not take it for granted that an employee has to do the training outside their working hours. Employees could be perhaps be incentivized to… Learning should not be treated like something over in the both, it’s part of the job description. Let me put it that way. It’s part of the job description in order for the organization to stay competitive it’s in every individual in organization must be given opportunities for reskilling upskilling and continuous learning.
So, do not expect everybody to do it at hard working hours. For example, that’s a very simple example and flexibility is very important. Again, the LMS can let the employees and the people around the organization to take a course whenever it fits better their schedule.
And now in the COVID time, people working over different time zones, different shifts, it’s very important to have this flexibility. So, offering flexibility is very, very important. Then using the right language, using it might sound simple, but it’s incredibly important. Short sentences, friendly tone, not for many technical terms so incredibly important. And also use characteristic examples that are… They must representative of all cultural genders, et cetera. Ideally characters should be aids, gender, and race agnostic. So that helps a lot for the inclusion, which is again very important in a distributed organization. Flexibility again, I will conclude that with flexibility. I think flexibility together with easiness is what brings success into-
William Tincup: That’s what drives usage.
Dimitris Tsingo: Yes, exactly.
William Tincup: It’s interesting because here in the states you’ve got a worldwide lens to which it looks like… But here in the states, we’ve vacillated historically through who owns development, does the employee own development, and then they’re left to their own or does the company own the development and then they set up programs and some people get into those programs.? It’s not necessarily democratized like the way that you’re thinking of it. What do you see? What do you especially TC [inaudible 00: 19: 08] today. Is it co-owned or who’s driving the… Not just the desire. But who’s driving development?
Dimitris Tsingo: I think that the most forward thinking organization, see that as a partnership. There must be a continuous learning partnership between the organization and the employee with a mutual commitment. It’s a mutual commitment to mutual interest. The organization has only to gain to win with better trained and better skilled employees. And the employees of course have a lot to earn by developing their skillset. So, I think that the most forward fit contemporary approach in this matter, which I understand what you say, who owns that, et cetera. We must see that as a partnership, it’s a partnership for growth, both personal growth and organization growth. And I think that the company of the future designs for a harmonious growth. Harmonious, I want to say that as the company grows and meets their business objectives, it has to make sure that it’s in every individual within the organization is given the opportunities to grow in a harmonic space with organization.
William Tincup: I love that. Okay. So, three questions left. One is, what are your customers? What are they integrating? TalentLMS, what are they integrating it with? What are they performance management or learning total rewards? What have you seen them connect the technology to or have you?
Dimitris Tsingo: There is a very big demand for integrations. I don’t think we’ve seen any dominant patterns so far. For example, we have integrations with big HR systems, both from the payroll, but also for the employee management side. We have integrations with big CRM systems. So, there is a big…. I think that modern software vendors and we are moving towards this direction now it will be, let’s say we go into the era of the API. So, the good platforms will offer… Let me put that way.
Most of the, let’s say reputable vendors out there already offer APIs. Ugly truth is that many of them are limited in functionality, difficult to use, cumbersome. I think that the winners of the new wave of vendors will offer truly open, truly easy to use application from programing interfaces APIs that will allow for the target customer at the end to very easily integrate their LMS with their RMS, with their CRM, et cetera. We are working very heavily on that. We are very happy because we already have very good integrations, but it’s a strategic thing. And we shall keep working on that and really hope that the whole industry will follow offering… It’s every business out there must realize it that the easier they make it for other vendors to connect with their platforms, the better for them.
William Tincup: Yeah. Well, it gets back to your mention of being easy to use and flexible. Those are two things you just extend out into the API. It’s easy to use. It’s flexible, et cetera. Dimitris, so when your folks are doing a demo, what’s your favorite aha moment when you’re taking a prospect, that’s never seen that maybe they have something maybe they don’t doesn’t really matter, but they see your software for the first time. What do they fall in love with?
Dimitris Tsingo: The easiness. The moment that they realize that literally less than 30 seconds, they can set up the relearning portal. They can have it accessible through laptop mobile, anything, and they can upload some existing PDF or some existing PowerPoint, convert very easily to a learning course and assign it to the members of their team and also select some of the ready made content available on our platform and offer top quality ready, made courses. The moment a customer realizes that they can do that in few minutes and with a cost that most of the times is just few hundreds of dollars per month. They are incredibly impressed like this. And for us it’s a sense of fulfillment because we see in front of our rise, we see our premium learning technology to really be affordable and accessible to all. And in that way, we play our small part in real democratizing learning as is our vision.
William Tincup: I lied. I actually have another question too. The testing and certification stuff that I’ve seen historically with courses, what are your customers… What’s are you seeing as philosophy? Is it in terms of you just said, taking that PowerPoint, turning it into a learning course at the end of the course, is it just you’ve completed the course and you’re done, or your customers do they want to validate in some way that the people actually learned what they were supposed to learn out of that course?
Dimitris Tsingo: A good number of… I would say the majority of our customers, do use our tools for certification, for testing and certification. And we offer digital certificates. We can validate language, we have all this infrastructure. So, in a big organization, you can know who has already certified knowledge on something. And the very good part of our customers do use that. And I think there is increasing demand.
William Tincup: Right. Okay. Landscape-
Dimitris Tsingo: Quality policy it’s a new quality policy. People need, the organizations need to know that there is some certified knowledge on specific areas.
William Tincup: That’s fair. I think it’s only fair and also it’s good for the individual. So, that they know that when they took the course, they did well they got certified. I think it’s actually good for everybody. Last question is your favorite customer innovation story. And it could be from last week, or whatever and again, you don’t have to mention names. It’s just, where’s a customer’s taking this and they’ve taken it to the next level. And you’re like, if all my customers could do this.
Dimitris Tsingo: Okay, that’s a very good question. There are so many, what we love to see is when customers really use our mobile applications with TalentLMS.com also have talent cards and micro learning and micro certification solution for people on the go. And we offer the opportunity to blue collar workers, people with low technical skills to really educate themselves and certify their knowledge. This is where we consider it a great success story. When we help organizations who work with, let’s say, large workforces on the go with limited digital literacy, and they may not effectively to educate, train and certify their knowledge. That’s for us a great success story.
William Tincup: I love it. Dimitris, thank you so much for carving out time for us in the Use Case podcast.
Dimitris Tsingo: It’s been a great pleasure for me. Thank you so much.
William Tincup: Absolutely. And thanks for everyone listening to the use case podcast until next time.
Music: You’ve been listening to Recruiting Daily’s Use Case podcast. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform and hit us up @recruitingdaily.com.
William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.