Upskilling platform Degreed announced December 11 that it has acquired Adepto, a platform that provides visibility and access to the skill sets of current, past and potential workers. The acquisition, according to a press release issued by Degreed, will allow the company to enable businesses to sense and respond to shifting demand for skills.
This is the latest in a series of Degreed expansions. In June 2018, it acquired learning experience platform Pathgather, effectively merging the two companies that pioneered the LXP category. More recently, in March, it announced a partnership with Harvard Business Publishing where HBP’s newest version of Harvard ManageMentor Spark would be powered by the Degreed platform. This was the first time Degreed extended its technologies to a content publisher.
Global research analyst and Chief Learning Officer columnist Josh Bersin shared some insights on the Adepto acquisition in an article published December 11: “It’s interesting that Degreed decided to get into this market, because it’s an emerging fast-growing space. Some of the vendors focused on this space include Workday, Gloat, Fuel 50, ADP (Workmarket), and new entrants from Phenom People and Avature. As companies become more focused on the ‘gig nature’ of their jobs and work, the need for these ‘talent marketplace’ systems will grow, so Degreed sees a big opportunity here.
“Degreed has effectively ‘defined’ the Learning Experience Platform space, and is trying to figure out what’s next,” Bersin continued. “The company had many options, and to me this represents a ‘showdown’ in the evolution of this market.”
Dani Johnson and Stacia Garr, co-founders and principal analysts of RedThread Research, said they finds this latest Degreed acquisition unsurprising. “The changes that they’ve made to this point all follow the trajectory that I’ve seen them on for the past six or seven years, which is skills kind of moving toward meritocracy overall,” Johnson said. “It’s not necessarily who you know, it’s what you know, and being able to catalogue those and make it easy to find them, and the Adepto acquisition is just one step to make that a little bit easier.”
Garr said both Degreed and Adepto have a view of a single employee profile and of that being transportable regardless of organization. “I think this represents an opportunity to take the core of what Degreed already had and expand it in a way that you kind of see the world moving — thinking about skills, thinking about our knowledge of skills and being able to plug people into opportunities that were maybe non-obvious from a previous approach of job descriptions or just competencies.
“I think this will break Degreed out of being perceived as just this learning “thing” to being a place where we go to learn about our talent in an organization and to plug it into the right places,” Garr continued. “From that perspective, I think this acquisition does shift Degreed and its applicability.”
Johnson added: “I love the way they’re looking at it from both the individual standpoint and the organizational standpoint. There’s a hint of career pathing and some of those types of things in a completely different way than we’ve ever seen before. Here are the skills that I have, and what I know about what the organization needs – because all that data is being collected – I can determine, myself, what I need to develop so that I can go in the direction I want. I see this as the first of many where we’re talking about skills and career and learning and talent all together, without the huge, unwieldy HCM suites, just a way to bring all that data together in a way that serves the organization for sure but also serves the individual.”