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2 min read

Corona challenges

By Leiv Kåre Johannessen on May 25, 2020 7:00:00 AM

Even though the corona pandemic represents an opportunity for TERP, we have faced some short-term challenges. We canceled all international travels on March 4th and stopped traveling domestically one week later. At the same time, we closed our offices and started working from home.

As we are a distributed organization, the shift to working from home was smooth. However, not being able to visit customers became a challenge both in terms of sales sales and implementation.

After the lockdown, the implementation of Abooks with new customers was even more challenging as the schools had no prior setup to efficiently communicate with students remotely. The lockdown also
had economic consequences as our customers had no personnel available to process our invoices. However, we have compensated
for the delayed payments by reducing costs and renegotiating the terms for our loans. Now schools and universities are re-opening.

The lockdown in March effectively stopped all maritime education
in the Philippines as they had no contingency plan. According to the signals we have received, it looks like the next semester will start in August, two months later than planned. We expect that the delay forms a
new standard where the semesters that used to begin in June and November move to August and January. If so, we will only have revenue from one semester in 2020 as we will deliver our products and services for the second semester at the beginning of 2021. On the other side, the delay will enable us to prepare more content and develop more features supporting distance learning, contributing to higher revenue next semester. Besides this, the corona situation provides us with a surge of new customers. It is too early to conclude if these factors will compensate for the “lost” semester in 2020, but the issue is technical. The overall picture is that the company will be in a much better position despite that the revenue in 2020 might not be as high as previously estimated.

An immense challenge we are facing is the software development capacity. To satisfy the early majority long-term, we have to develop additional features to build a whole product. We have to at least triple the development capacity to deliver according to our tech roadmap. The first step was to acquire the training app company InfoGym. We have integrated their tech team into ours, and we have a setup that allows us to build a larger and more cost-efficient development team. We make ourselves independent of consultants and expect to double the number of development hours we get out of each US dollar invested.

The acquisition of InfoGym brought us much closer to having
what the organization needs, but we might have to strengthen our organization even more. The market is moving very fast due to the current situation, and certainly much quicker than we anticipated when we completed the last funding round. It may be in both the company's and shareholders' interest to acquire additional funding to take full advantage of this unique window of opportunity.

Topics: Blended learning technology challenges Corona
1 min read

Crossing the chasm

By Leiv Kåre Johannessen on May 11, 2020 7:00:00 AM

The corona situation has given us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cross the chasm from the early adopters to the early majority. In other words, we have the chance to evolve from being an enticing solution for innovators to becoming a recognized standard in the mainstream market. Most technology companies never manage to cross the chasm.

It is a chasm because early adopters and the early majority are very different from each other. While early adopters are visionary innovators who test new technologies to make a potential leap and separating themselves from competitors, the early majority are pragmatic. They want proven solutions tested in the market. Preferably a solution provided by the market leader.

Crossing the chasm is not possible unless we define a small beachhead market we can dominate fast. Our beachhead market is maritime education in Southeast Asia (Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam). There are 110 maritime schools and universities in this market. When we get 33 of these schools as customers, we will become the undisputed market leader with a 30 % market share. As we already have 18; we just need 15 more before we have crossed the chasm.

Besides defining a small market, the key to crossing the chasm is to develop a whole product. Our core product is the web-service enabling customers to create a-books. Along with our content, this forms our generic product. The early majority, however, expects more. They want a complete solution that is easy to implement and that fits seamlessly into their operations. We have to build that solution over the next 12 months.

Topics: Blended learning TERP technology Corona distance learning crossing the chasm diffusion
1 min read

Corona framework

By Leiv Kåre Johannessen on Apr 27, 2020 7:00:00 AM

After the coronavirus outbreak in March, we created a framework to analyze the corona pandemic's consequences, defining three phases.

We observed how the need for digitalization increased in phase one. Processes that used to take months and years were settled in days. Simultaneously, everyone faced challenges as national authorities used lockdowns to get the pandemic under control.

We assumed that the drivers for digitalization would remain strong in phase two. Partly because of the measures necessary to avoid the spread of the virus until a vaccine is in place and partly because of the need to implement contingency plans in case of new waves of infection.

The last weeks have shown us that our assumptions about phase two were spot on. In many countries, authorities have started to re-open the society, including education and training, but with restrictions. On April 13th, the Philippines' authorities, which is our core market, communicated that schools had to implement measures to maintain social distancing when re-opening. That message caused an explosion of inquiries from schools, universities, and training institutions looking for a solution to implementing some degree of distance learning.

Phase one and two lead to a situation where the masses have adopted technology previously reserved for innovators. New standards on how to organize education and training will evolve during the pandemic. We will not go back to the old ways when entering phase three after we have a vaccine. The use of new technology will reveal better approaches to teaching and leaner operations, thus defining a new normal.

Topics: Blended learning TERP Corona distance learning teaching