Infosys LeX : On adopting Sunbird
Infosys LeX is a platform developed by Infosys limited. It is a next generation learning solution to help organisations accelerate their talent transformation journey. It is a cloud-first and mobile-first solution that is designed to be accessible anytime, anywhere and on any device. Learners can interact with the voice-enabled ‘learning assistant’ for learning guidance. With an ever evolving range of curated content, it facilitates learning based on interest, skill set and function/role. Learning modules are a combination of instructor-led, assisted learning and self-learning sessions. It aids talent in navigating their next by creating an environment for continuous learning to acquire the right and relevant skills. In a series of videos, Thirumalai Arohi - VP of Education, Training and Assessment, Infosys ltd. talks about his journey with Sunbird. What is the future of learning in the context of Infosys? At Infosys we always believed learning is the bedrock of everything we do. Right from the time I enjoyed we believed that Continuous learning and education is what will make me relevant at my job. I truly believe that we are living in a time of transformational opportunities for everyone. If you look at the market today, there are many disruptive forces that are impacting the talent needs of an organization. Emerging technologies, new delivery models, changing talent demographics and geo-political challenges, these are some of the forces that are disrupting the talent needs. At Infosys we always had various learning platforms and learning engagements, But a couple of years back we reviewed what had to be done in order to scale up our learning. Reskilling was identified as one of strategic pillars for the organization, hence it was important for us to develop a platform which could scale to needs of the entire organization. We then grouped and did a design thinking exercise to determine what does an employee really want? What does a learner seek? This led us to some really interesting observations, it was a two-week activity we concluded with different focused group sessions which encompassed employees, managers, leaders and including our clients. What emerged from this exercise was that a next-generation learning platform should basically be built on 4 core tenets. What we also realized was that today’s learners do not just seek learning content or scheduled sessions and training programs, they seek experience. That actually is a very critical point we need to bear in mind when we develop the platform for learning. There are many learning management systems in the world, but truly a learning experience platform is what we aspire to build for ourselves. All this led us to develop our next-generation talent transformation platform, what we call as Lex within Infosys. It is built on 4 core tenets as I mentioned earlier, the first principle is Make it Convenient, which translates to Anytime, Anywhere and Any Device learning. It’s not just learning when you have network, even when you are off-network the platform should be made accessible for employees. The second principle is how do we Make it Relevant, which means how do we make sure that employees get real-life, best-in-class curated content which is personalized to them including safe practice environment so that when they learn, they feel so much more confident that it is relevant for them and it is actually what makes them perfect in their work. The third principle is very important Make it Engaging and Fun, this brings in elements of Gamification, contests, Educator Engagement even on digital channels where being a digital channel you are learning alone, how do we leverage the power of social learning as well as the power of synchronous and asynchronous way of engaging with educators so they can learn in a much more engaged and fun way. In fact, most of the gaming platforms today allow multiple gamers across geographies to connect with each other and learn, this principle is all about bringing that in the sphere of learning. When we talked to our employees, something important that came up was how does the learning helps them to basically progress in their professional journey. And that’s where the fourth principle comes in to play, which is what we call Make it Matter, this tenet led us to make sure that the learning platform is tightly integrated with the HR Systems and it helps employees progress in their professional journey as they are learning all the relevant skills that is needed by the organization. These are the four principles that we looked into and I am very happy to say that our Lex platform has been widely and warmly embraced by the employees, we have over 205,000 employees using Lex today. And we witness 10,000 employees login into the platform every day learning for an average time of 35 minutes and learning skills that is important not only for them but also for the organization. Why did you choose to adapt Sunbird and extend it to Lex? We were very fortunate to have the guidance of Nandan (Chairman, Infosys Limited) when we set out to build this platform. He had very clearly laid out the principles and important aspects to be considered to scale this platform. And that context we had an opportunity to look at Sunbird, the open-source platform that we leveraged to build Lex. We had many conversations with the Ek Step team Pramod and Sanjay, where they articulated what constitutes a scalable and powerful learning platform that can address the growing skills needs of today as well as the future. When we had these discussions with Pramod and Sanjay what really stood out clearly was Sunbird as a platform had an extensible schema that promotes reuse and collaboration. Essentially there are lot of loosely coupled and generalized content structure that allows one to cater to multiple use cases. For example, we use this entire concept to build 4 levels of collections of learning content, we have a resource which constitutes a micro-learning content, multiple resources put together form a learning module and multiple Learning Modules then are curated to create a Course and Finally, many courses put together form a Program. The entire flexible schema of Sunbird allowed us to be able to leverage this effectively and it actually solved the need of creating micro to macro learning paths were seamlessly created and curated using the platform. So, that was one of the important powerful features of Sunbird that we leveraged. The other important element that we loved in Sunbird was the ability to get content from multiple sources. Whether it is an internal source or an external source we could very easily integrate with internal solutions we had before Lex like Infosys Learning Platform and Digital Tutor and at the same time we were able to integrate content from external sources like Pluralsight, Coursera, YouTube and TedX. This actually eased our process and solved our second principle that we had set aside, Making it relevant for our employees. Not only were we able to provide best-in-class content for our employees we were also able to powerfully create micro to macro learning paths and employees were able to leverage it for their anytime, anywhere learning. The other important aspect of Sunbird is its architecture itself, very scalable, it operates at internet scale and it has really helped us to extend it to multiple client subsidiaries and the fact that you can integrate users using common identity management and you actually integrate from multiple systems where there is a very good data collection and processing pipeline and the power of Telemetry, it is extremely rich in Analytics. Data is very essential to provide user experience, the power of Sunbird Telemetry helped us to build Learning Analytics in such a way that we were able to really look at many insights emerging from the learning patterns of our employees and this actually has helped us figure out what learning interventions have to be introduced into the platform as part of our release pipeline. To add to all things I mentioned, the fact that Sunbird is an open-source technology where it allows everyone to innovate and an engaged community to support it was something Infosys was extremely delighted to leverage and build up on. How did you build LeX, key lessons and challenges? The journey towards developing Lex, building it and rolling it out to our employees was a very memorable journey for me personally. Right from the time we initiated discussions with Ek Step team Pramod, Sanjay and team in understanding Sunbird Architecture and leveraging it to build Lex for Infosys, it was truly fantastic. We learnt a lot of concepts around what drives learning behaviour, what actually drives learning patterns and how do you scale it and release it were some valuable lessons we learnt in our journey of developing and deploying Lex. We started in a very agile, iterative fashion, we took about three releases to complete the entire product backlog for the first release. When we deployed it for our organization, we initially launched it to a subset of our audience, we looked at our Sales unit, two powerful Sales team within the company. We rolled out Lex as a pilot for them, based on the feedback we improved on certain aspects of user interface changes as well as some additional changes in terms of how Analytics have to be performed and post that we rolled it out to the entire organization. This was rolled out as a webapp as well as an Android and iOS app. Once we started talking about the four principles of digital learning and also getting feedback from our employees on the content they liked, there also was continuous feedback around creating focused learning kits for the Digital Roles of the future. So we developed 34 Digital Tags, which were skills Infosys believed we should invest in and where growth is happening. We created full-fledged learning paths for these 34 Digital Tags which included practice playgrounds, assessments and certifications to guide our employees to the Digital Future. This also helped us to focus on what should be our Skill Proficiency Index, what should be the Skill Learning Index, what should be the learning paths and certifications, what are the playgrounds we need to create so learning is not just theory, but learning is about practice and honing the individual skills. Lot of good feedback has come from employees, clients have looked at what we have developed as a platform and how we have used it to reskill at scale. We have now taken the Lex offers our clients as Wingspan and we have four clients that are using Wingspan. According to me the feedback loop for the platform is complete. We have internal employees giving us feedback, we have feedback from Analysts and we have clients who are looking at what we have done for competency development using the platform. All this feedback has been ploughed back to the product backlog and we have started further enhancing the platform and its features. How did you resolve integration with the existing applications? The important thing we realized when we launched Lex for employees, was how do we decommission our old systems or how can Lex perfectly integrate with all the other systems we have within Infosys. The beauty of the architecture of Sunbird and what we built on top of Sunbird is that everything was built using the concept of Microservices, API’s, so that integration itself to other systems was very easy and seamless. More importantly once we figured how to seamlessly interact and integrate with other systems either through the Single-Sign on (SSO) integration across different systems or integrating our content through the concepts of linking and rendering this helped us to seamlessly crack the integration challenge. We also looked into the content architecture of Sunbird and Lex, and when we looked at decommissioning our old platforms, we developed automated migration scripts which allowed us to migrate our existing content and our existing meta into the Lex platform. We were able to carry out this migration effort within two months, where we were able to seamlessly bring in content and meta from our old platforms, we were able to integrate our Lex platform with our HR systems. We were able to integrate it with our learning registration systems. And thereby it was not your conventional standalone learning which was serving just one purpose, but it fitted quite well with the entire organization ecosystem.