Today I spoke with one of the founders of JZero Solutions, Digs Val. He, alongside Paul McCoy, had a vision back in 1997 to combine their skills and create what has evolved from the two of them bouncing ideas over a coffee into an eLearning masterpiece. Let’s hear what he had to say about that journey….
Q: Digs, can you please describe the service that JZero Solutions provides?
A: I like to see us at Jzero providing our clients with learning and integration solutions to help the training their organization needs to deliver for their employees, customers or partners. We have the ability to deliver cost effective bespoke solutions, as we understand that every client has unique requirements.
Q: You started JZero back in 1997, what did you hope to achieve back then?
A: When we started Jzero we wanted to deliver learning solutions in a cost effective way for our customers recognizing that each had unique requirements. This also drove our mission statement of “creating wealth through learning”.
Q: Did you have a business plan in place from the outset or did the company develop more fluidly?
A: We did have a business plan that we developed and this actually started as small notes over a coffee with Paul (Co-Founder) at Tottenham Court Road in London. We developed a high-level business plan based on this conversation and notes! We even had a project name for the venture at the time, called “Project Daedal”
Q: You worked in financial institutions prior to starting JZero Solutions, what drew you to the learning industry?
A: Whilst in the Financial Industry we were doing a lot of compliance training and also we saw the requirements for CBT, Computer Based Training as it was called in those days, as eLearning was a term that did not come about till 2000! The requirement for CBT was growing and I was tasked to work with a company, NETg to help deliver this for a new SAP system we were delivering. This bought me into the eLearning Industry.
Q: If you could return to ‘97 and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
A: That’s easy; I would say “Learn to Delegate and trust the individual that work with you to take on more responsibilities”.
Q: There have been some interesting changes in the online learning marketplace since then, what have you found to be most the exciting and most challenging?
A: The development of new open standards like Tin-Can, which have been challenging but interesting as it’s been an evolving standard till late 2013.
Q: What would you consider to be the greatest strengths of the company?
A: A difficult one as I would say we have multiple strengths but if I had to choose one then I would say our ability to deliver cost effective learning solutions for customers with the great team we have in the UK and India.
Q: What advice would you give to anyone considering in investing in a Learning Management System?
A: I would ask them to start small to get the system implemented and used by their user groups then evolve it based on their organization and usage patterns. As I find a lot of people have blue-sky thinking of what their users want and implement a system based on this thinking, only to realise that 80% of the system is not used and end up spending more money on developing it further as they realise their usage patterns.
Now, I am sure I am not alone in my need to look up the word ‘Daedal’ and I think the
definition speaks volumes:
1. Ingenious and complex in design or function; intricate.
2. Finely or skillfully made or employed; artistic.
Many thanks to Digs for taking the time to give a brief insight into the beginnings of JZero for the words of advice, I am looking forward to speaking with co-founder Paul McCoy in the near future…