Sramana Mitra: What was the sweet spot that emerged out of all these? Where were you finding traction?
Ali Behnam: This is where I’m starting to see the web analytics space all over again. I was in WebSideStory in 2000. That was the early days of web analytics space. The early adopters of web analytics were typically e-commerce sites. They were followed by a lot of media or publisher sites and then some B2B or Fortune 500 websites. We see that same exact pattern with the tag management space. The early adopters were, for the most part, e-commerce sites because they have the most to gain or lose from this technology. They were followed by publishers and media sites and some of the other demand generation websites.
Online Education continues to be a fast-changing field, and various people are working on various aspects of the industry to make a complicated puzzle come together. This conversation explores some of those pieces.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with introducing our audience to you as well as Academix Direct and CourseTalk.
Karen Francis: My name is Karen Francis. I’m the CEO and Executive Chairman of Academix Direct. I’ve been in my position for just over four years and I come with a strong marketing and general management background. I was fortunate enough to be on the Board of Trustees at Dartmouth College where I got my undergraduate degree. I have a Harvard MBA. That gave me a unique perspective on education and on what’s behind the curtain of putting together an academic institution. I’ve always been very >>>
According to eMarketer’s latest report, worldwide business-to-consumer e-commerce is projected to grow 20.1% in 2014 to $1.5 trillion. The report estimates that this year, e-commerce sales from the Asia Pacific region will outpace the American market sales and account for $525.2 billion of the total market. North America’s e-commerce is expected to grow from $431 billion in 2013 to $482 billion this year.
Gary Matkin has been involved with open education from the beginning. Here, he discusses the current issues and predicts the demise of Moocs. Read on for a fascinating insight into the future of open education.
Sramana: Gary, let’s set some context for our readers. Could you describe your role at UC Irvine and what you are doing for online education?
Gary Matkin: UC Irvine has been providing coursework online for about 14 years. My role at UC Irvine is Dean of Continuing Education, which covers all aspects of continuing education such as distance learning and summer sessions. Those units have provided the bulk of the online and open learning opportunities at the campus.
In extension, we offer 800 online courses per year. That is half of our offering to the continuing education audience. That audience consists primarily of working adults who are coming back to us to get additional education, change careers, or update their careers. Sometimes they are also there just to have some fun learning. >>>
Sramana Mitra: If this is not too much proprietary information, what were the keywords that you were able to get a lead on? You said that buyers were the same with the web analytics buyers. Were you then advertising on the web analytics keywords?
Ali Behnam: No, we weren’t. By 2012, which is when we started doing marketing, people were starting to look for tag management solutions.
Sramana Mitra: I’m going to switch gears a little bit. If you were to advise entrepreneurs who are interested in working in the domain of online education, where would you point them? Where do you see open opportunities to build businesses in?
Todd Hitchcock: There are a lot of inflection points. We know that there are a lot of pieces of the partnership that we have competency in, but there are certain pieces that we may never build a competency in if we don’t acquire a company. Therefore, we like to partner with that provider to bring them into the ecosystem. We’re very strong in our belief that we need to provide solutions but that doesn’t mean that we need to provide every single component. >>>
According to IT Spending in Banking: A North American Perspective, a report published by Celent, US financial institutions were expected to spend nearly $48.9 billion on IT initiatives in 2013. The study found that of this spend, $11.4 billion would be incurred on new initiatives. Banks are increasing their presence online and the new initiative spend is going toward improving their capabilities for online, mobile, tablet, and other self-service capabilities.
Sramana Mitra: How long did it take you to get the product to market?
Ali Behnam: Probably about a year. We had an early version of the product that we released in January 2011 but didn’t do everything we wanted it to do. Another six months later in July of 2011, we finally launched Tealium IQ which is the basis of the product that we’re still selling today. If you take the development from beginning all the way to the launch of Tealium IQ, we’re talking about a little less than a year.