E-learning service provider hopes to offer SMEs a platform to learn anytime, anywhere
IT is not easy to squeeze in time for formal learning once you step into the working world.
iPraxis Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Thiyagu Krishnasamy, 51, knows this. But he also understands the importance of continuous learning.
He founded iPraxis, the e-learning service provider, in late 2010 to help companies provide continuous training for their employees despite their hectic working schedule.
The idea for his e-learning service was birthed from his 20 years of working with various multinational companies (MNCs) in the information technology industry. In that industry, he says, it is common for MNCs to have e-learning platforms to keep their employees updated with the latest trends to improve their productivity.
“We will always find time to log onto the e-learning platform and learn something new wherever we are,” he says.
However, while talking to some of his friends, Krishnasamy found that the practice was not so common among local companies.
“I feel people should be able to continually learn something to improve themselves wherever they are,” he says.
Thinking that this could be a business opportunity for him, he started working on a prototype of a web-based e-learning platform in 2008 whenever he had some free time in between projects.
He hired three part time developers and made himself busy with the platform even on weekends.
“I also got some of my friends to become testers of the platform and I made them test it so rigorously that they crashed the system. I suppose if I were the one to test the system, I would likely have tested it in a safe manner and would not have discovered all the flaws,” he says.
In 2011, when the e-learning platform was ready, Krishnasamy approached some colleges and non-profit organisations to help him populate the portal with various materials.
From there, the respective users would be able to learn and do their assessments and assignments from wherever they are as long as they have an Internet connection.
This would save users from the hassle of commuting to training venues and cost too.
Krishnasamy got his first client at the end of 2011.
As the company became more stable, he resigned from his position as a SAP consultant in 2012 to become a full time entrepreneur.
Transitioning from a part time entrepreneur to a full time one took quite a bit of an adjustment for Krishnasamy.
“At first, I was surprised at why there were no funds in my account when I put in my ATM card. Later, I realised I had not transferred my salary payment from the company account to my personal account,” he laughs.
By 2015, the company was serving about 20 clients.
But Krishnasamy wanted to be more self-reliant as he was concerned that his company would face difficulty to grow if people stopped uploading their content onto the platform.
Hence, he began negotiations to purchase training and development content from an American soft skill content provider.
“People say that content is king. After 10 months of negotiating, we finally have the rights to use the content for classroom and online training,” he says.
The content covers seven main areas from human resources to sales and marketing with about 100 courses on offer. It comes in multimedia format where users can access the learning files in audio, video and powerpoint presentation formats.
To add to the company’s revenue, Krishnasamy also looked into software development.
Krishnasamy, who is also an approved Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) training partner, adds that pricing for the courses ranged from about RM450 per person to RM5,000 for a classroom training for a staff of 20.
He started marketing them at the end of last year and has six clients to date.
“We have to work hard to convince SMEs that e-learning is as effective or sometimes more effective than classroom training. For instance, if they do not understand, they can replay a lesson and there are accompanying assessments to be done after that,” he says.