Why did you become a Totara Partner?
Xtractor has been a major player in the Swedish e-learning industry for about 15 years. About half of our business is within bespoke e-learning, and the other half is about providing software solutions, primarily LMS.
Traditionally we’ve developed and provided our own proprietary LMS to enterprise customers in Sweden. Technology moves fast, and we found ourselves at a crossroads – either to invest heavily in further development of our LMS – or to become a partner with an established and successful LMS vendor. We investigated a large number of LMS products. Early on in the search process, we saw that Totara Learn stood out of the crowd as a user oriented, flexible and cost-efficient LMS. Totara’s unique business model, based upon open source and collaboration, made us even more interested.
You were new to open source, what differences have you encountered with this business model?
Yes, we were completely new to open source. In the old days we, like any provider of proprietary software, pretty much did everything behind closed doors. Now, we collaborate with other Totara partners and Totara’s core developers on a regular basis. Going open source has also been an advantage in terms of finding and hiring experienced developers, which have been a crucial part of our success.
How has Totara impacted your business?
During the last few years, we’ve made some strategic changes at Xtractor, where becoming a Totara partner is the biggest change. It has had an enormous impact. We’ve radically improved both the customer and employee satisfaction levels. And our finance department smiles as well, as both our growth and profitability is ahead of our ambitious plans.
What key piece of advice would you give to companies considering a Totara partnership?
For us, a partnership around LMS was an important strategic decision. Not only did we search for the optimal LMS product, but we also wanted to make sure that our partner was a cultural fit and that we could have a shared vision. As it has turned out for us, we’re certain that we did make the right choice. On the other hand, if we had wanted to be a very passive partner, sitting in the back-seat and only generating new leads, I’m not really sure that Totara would be the obvious choice. At least for us, having the full set of competencies inhouse – from back-end developers to site admins and content creators – has been a critical success factor.