iCOG is an assisted learning intelligence platform that uses advanced data science to pinpoint relevant content as per the learning style and needs of employees.
What does a 12-year-old company do when faced with a market that is seeing rapid changes in skill development - it hits the drawing board and comes up with a solution that claims to solve issues using latest technologies.
In mid-2017, Mumbai-based Skilldom, along with innovation lab Cogknit launched an Assisted Learning Intelligence Platform, iCOG.
“iCOG was born out of a need for skill development of the masses, and for creating a global talent index for industry wide skills. At every forum, you will see experts talking about how they face challenges in training their millennial workforce and how so little actually are aligned with the organisations goals,” says Ebrahim Mookhtiar, Director at Skilldom.
Back in 2005, when Skilldom was founded, there were several training solutions providers, fulfilling the needs of training employees. While some were expert in classroom training, there were others in organisation development, or the company-to-company learning space.
Skilldom, however, offered a one-stop-solution for corporate human resources, and learning and development space for larger companies.
“Skilldom is an end-to-end learning solutions capability development firm that works towards empowering the global learning community through the use of its outcome-driven learning strategies and technology innovation.”
While retail, ecommerce, logistics had seen early adoption of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for creation of personalised experiences and understanding what the buyer really wants, there was still a need of their implementation in the space of learning.
The iCOG platform allows for talent empowerment and self-learning by personalisation of the experience. It allows employees to not only take charge of their personal development, but also aligns them to the business goals of the company empowering them to fasttrack their career.
It took three years of development and research multiple pilots to create iCOG. It was invented by Anuroop Iyengar, who is now the CTO of iCOG. It is jointly owned by Skilldom and Cogknit.
As a part of the phase-one of the plan; iCOG is currently being rolled out for 35,000 out of 95,000 employees at a client company, wherein the employee engagement and capability levels are tracked on a real-time basis. Recent data captured by iCOG shows a five-fold increase in the overall engagement to learning. More than 5,000 active users are enhancing their skill sets through the platform, claims Ebrahim.
The training Skilldom provides is primarily in the areas of learning and development space for employees working in manufacturing, banking and aviation industries. It uses game-based, personalised, mobile and responsive based tools to train employees.
It also has a comprehensive assessment solution for companies, which can be used during job interviews and regular assessments. It also consults in the space of Organisational Development, Talent Management, Talent Development and Talent Engagement.
He adds, “We are constantly working to bring cutting-edge digital technology in the learning space using machine learning, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies to make learning dynamic, effective and applicable to the workplace.”
Talking more about the product itself, Ebrahim explains, “iCOG is a learning system with Assisted Learning Intelligence. It’s an aware system, which means you don’t spend time searching. The app and desktop-based system brings you the learning you need and helps you transcend conventional learning plans.”
The system learns what the user needs, what the organisation is learning, what the internet has to offer and serves what one should be learning; as Ebrahim calls it, ‘Intelligent Learning’.
For example, for a banking client, in its loans division, the client uses a custom-developed software to capture customer data and process the loans. While the employees were trained on using the software and were working with it on a daily basis, errors kept creeping into the system. An internal audit revealed the following areas for improvement:
Accuracy in data entry
Process accuracy in terms of using the software
Customer interaction skills
The solution, Skilldom provided was as follows,
Customer Interaction Scenarios: The scenario featured a customer with the learners playing the home loan officer’s role. The learners controlled the conversation, as they had to make choices on what the banker would say at various stages in the conversation. The conversation was based on how the customer interaction happened in real-life, thus providing learners an opportunity to see how customers react to what they say and accordingly improve their skills.
Software Simulation: The software simulation was highly customised to guide learners for each click and each typing action. This was important because every error could affect the bank negatively. Depending on the learner’s choices, the simulation branched into multiple paths as well.
Since the deployment of the course, fewer errors have been reported in the data entered by the bankers. (As mentioned in a testimonial by a client)
With respect to iCOG, a senior official from the Corporate HR – Learning and Department quotes, “Our company has been trying to create visionary leaders and corporate entrepreneurs since last 2 decades. Our focus on Learning and Development to achieve business excellence has led to several successful initiatives. Judicious use of technology and personalised learning experience offers unprecedented opportunities to empower our employees and to track their development. We have introduced a world-class personalised training platform powered by #ICOG for our young leaders of tomorrow.”
iCOG uses advanced data science to pinpoint relevant content as per the learning style and needs of the individual. The platform not only brings in enterprise learning content but also curates content from the internet aligned to one’s personalised needs.
“The major differentiator is the ability to leverage technology in order to pinpoint areas at the organisational level that need personal intervention and creating a Competency Index for an individual, business unit, and the organisation itself.”
One can acquire the product either in an enterprise (meaning it can become a part of the company’s infrastructure and assets) model or a SaaS- based model.
Some of the brands using Skilldom’s e-learning platforms are Abu Dhabi Airports, Etisalat, Philip Morris International, Union National Bank, GAC Logistics, Aditya Birla Group, Larsen & Toubro, Glenmark, and Tata Motors. iCOG too has seen its use cases in a number of clients in manufacturing, engineering, banking, and aviation domain.
Talking about the pricing and positioning of the product, Ebrahim says, “The overall investment that the company makes into their content, technology and manpower, which they deploy to solve the problem, will be optimised to 50 percent savings. The convergence of content, technology and the human intervention that we are bringing has seen initial success.”
The iCOG team includes, management executives with sales expertise, L&D experts, AI visionaries, and Data Scientists.
According to a report in marketsandmarkets, the learning management systems market size is expected to grow from $5.22 billion in 2016 to $15.72 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 24.7 percent.
Skilldom claims to have been growing at 30 percent YoY since inception to date. “We now expect to grow exponentially with iCOG’s successful rollouts at large corporates as the results have been overwhelming. We are looking to add international partners who can be a part of the journey to take iCOG to the world,” says Ebrahim.
Currently self-funded, Skilldom is exploring options of provisioning funding for further exponential growth.