Business leaders have long known that they must invest in developing their people in order to thrive in an environment of technological acceleration.

Even before the global pandemic, skill shortages loomed as technology transformed industry after industry. Reskilling has been essential to building resilience into any people operation. To offer a sense of scope of this challenge, before the pandemic the World Economic Forum reported that 42% of the core skills required for jobs will change by 2022. As the pandemic accelerated this digital transformation, the need for reskilling only grew.

How do business leaders ensure their workforces retain the skills they need for a successful future?

Elevating and Integrating Learning and Development

Companies must create comprehensive and dynamic learning programs that are based on their needs and goals. According to a study from McKinsey, “Companies rely on their learning and development (L&D) functions to help workforces learn fast. But, often the function itself needs a transformation.” While in the past L&D functions sat siloed from the rest of the organization, today it is critical that learning is intertwined within the overall strategy and talent processes.

Today, digital learning is the most effective and efficient way to meet an individual’s needs – with the added bonus of positively impacting an organization’s bottom line. In 2019, e-learning prompted an expansion in income for 42% of U.S. organizations.

At the same time, learners’ needs are changing, particularly as we shift to remote work. The demand for an effective digital learning experience has soared and learners look for quick, bite-size ways to acquire the knowledge they need, when they need it, wherever they might be. According to the Journal of Applied Psychology, microlearning makes learning 17% more effective. Compact content allows learners to meet their objectives and retain key information quickly.

A Comprehensive Learning Program from SAP

Here at SAP, we’re also transforming our learning strategy to address the changing needs of tomorrow’s business environment, both for our own workforce and for everyone within the SAP ecosystem. Today, the SAP Training and Adoption portfolio consists of various offerings to support continuous learning, performance, and validation.

Our goal is to provide our customers, partners, developers, and employees with tools and resources to acquire the skills needed to be successful. Cultures of continuous learning build employee engagement and inclusive business practices, as well as drive innovation and sustainable impact. Regular training and development can help our customers unlock the full power of their SAP software by enabling mastery of technologies – ultimately leading to improved performance, lower costs, and greater innovation. In the end, we aim to equip tomorrow’s workforce with the knowledge they need to capitalize on opportunities and thrive in a digital future.

Adapting Learning and Development to Stay Dynamic

If there is one lesson from the past year, it is the need for organizations to be nimble and flexible with their structure, processes, and plans. This is no different for L&D as we work to keep pace and adapt with the evolving needs of learners.

At SAP, we continue to make investments that will simplify access to learning for all. By lowering the barriers to learning, we will make it easier for our ecosystem to invest in SAP solutions in order to maximize the business value of the software and enhance deployment of the solutions. As we’ve seen with the tremendous enrollment and activity, as well as the outstanding learner satisfaction in openSAP, there is significant demand for easy, accessible, and impactful learning. openSAP is a free learning platform that delivers innovative learning with expert-led content through massive open online courses (MOOCs), microlearning, and podcasts.

We will continue to enhance and expand the portfolio and make our offerings more accessible so learners can gain essential knowledge and skills in a manner that is innovative, engaging, and impactful.

Maxwell Wessel is executive vice president and chief learning officer at SAP.