On April 24th, Vector Solutions, a 300-employee online learning and performance technology and services provider for commercial, education and public-sector firms, announced the acquisition of 50-employee Convergence Training. Based in Florida, Vector Solutions is owned by Providence Equity Partners, a private equity firm with $54 billion in capital under management, and prior to the acquisition already owned a family of brands: Exceptional Child, RedVector, SafeColleges, SafeSchools, Student Success, Target Solutions, and TeachPoint. As a result of the transaction, Convergence Training – primarily focused on industrial safety eLearning – will join forces with RedVector to ultimately offer a unified training solution to serve a broader market including IT and cyber security, facilities management, project management, architecture, engineering and construction firms. The financial terms of the Vector Solutions acquisition of Convergence Training were not disclosed.
Convergence Training was founded in 2002, evolving from a business unit of CAPstone, a manufacturing software provider for the paper industry. Based in Washington, the majority of their customers are in the industrial manufacturing and mining industries, such as Caterpillar, Georgia Pacific, and P&G. Over the past 16 years, Convergence has developed from being more of a customized content provider with 29 off-the-shelf courses, to now including annual licensing of bulk content from their library of 750 courses managed on a learning management system (LMS), as well as incident management software (IMS) with mobile app functionality. As of today, the LMS allows users to tie training to a piece of equipment or to a manufacturing room, and through their LMS-IMS integration, users can assign training as a corrective action either in response to an incident or using historical data of previous incidents, with plans to develop triggering capabilities to a refresher course as a preventative action. Also, Convergence has jumped on the wagon of micro-learning, now offering eight short courses optimized for view on mobile, and as a result, saw a 300% increase in customer usage of mobile devices for training during 2017.
There’s no doubt this acquisition is a sharp move by Vector and the newly-formed RedVector/Convergence brand. The synergy will leverage a cross pollination of technology and different types of training content. Under the umbrella of Vector Solutions, Convergence can now move on from dipping their toe in technology developments, to having serious conversations around enhancing their training offering with AR and VR, for example. In the case of RedVector, they can now add the Convergence 3D content to their library, as well as a savvy mobile app for incident management and exciting opportunities for LMS/IMS integration. Verdantix research finds that customer demand for technology advances in EHS training – including VR, AR and automation of training assignments – will peak in the next five to 10 years. Vendors should start setting out strategic 10-year technology investment plans to include these important enhancements in their training offering.