I am excited to announce that Envisia Learning has reached an agreement with Synermetric to acquire their 360 degree feedback and survey business.
This part of their business and their customers is not new to us. Synermetric (formerly ConsultingTools) is a company that has been distributing Envisia Learning’s products for almost 2 decades and I’d like to share how we got here. It is a unique story.
Our Roots Run Deep
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Andy Parkinson. I am the CEO of Envisia Learning, but I began my career working for Synermetric as a contractor doing web development almost 17 years ago.
Back then Synermetric was called Advanced Teamware. I met Mike Perrault, co-founder of Advanced Teamware, on December 22nd, 1997 (It was also my 17th birthday). Mike wanted to put the data collection process online for his off-the-shelf assessment called LeaderView360.
Back in the 90’s, 360 degree feedback reporting was done using desktop software. Surveys were faxed or mailed in and a team of administrative assistants would manually key in all the data. Mike realized that he could use the web to collect this data and cut out a huge chunk of processing effort.
Mike was referred to me by his son, who was in my Chemistry class and impressed that I programmed chemistry formulas into my TI-82 graphing calculator. He asked how I learned to program calculators and I told him I was a web developer.
A few months later Mike told his son about his plan to put LeaderView360 online and my name came up. His son set up a meeting.
Big Break #1
This was my shot at my first real project with real business people. The meeting went well, but I had no idea what to charge. I worked through Christmas and New Years to build the system Mike wanted. It took me 20 hours. At my standard $35/hour rate, that meant a $700 quote. A small fortune.
I remember vividly the call where I delivered my $700 quote for this project. I also remember Mike’s special way of saying “I… uh. I think I can pay that” with a bit of shock. At the time I thought I blew it, but later realized it was the complete opposite.
We launched the LeaderView360 online system with real-life clients about a week later. As far as I know, Mike and I had developed the first online 360 degree feedback survey system.
The Custom Years
A couple years later, Mike was preparing for retirement and sold his share of the business to his partner and co-founder John Dutton. John lives in the UK and Synermetric naturally began to focus primarily on the UK and European market.
In the US, most companies are happy to buy off-the-shelf 360 assessments. In the UK, they tend to prefer customized 360s, with each customer using a different competency model and slightly different reports.
The state of customizable 360 feedback technology in early 2000’s was dreadful. Synermetric would get a custom project, then I would develop a custom data collection system, then a desktop software developer would create a semi-custom piece software to handle reporting.
Synermetric’s scoring bureau did an excellent job handling all of the detail and hiding the complexity that went on behind the scenes. If Synermetric could find a better way of doing things, they would have. It just didn’t exist.
Big Break #2
John realized that this was not a scalable model, so he offered me an opportunity to partner up and develop a next generation of web-based 360 degree feedback. Even though I was doing web development on my own back then, I have always been an entrepreneur. I saw great potential in the opportunity and quickly agreed.
I hired our first employee, and current Lead Developer, Filip Craciun to help build it. A few months later Filip and I had the first version of CustomView360 ready to go. Our first project was for Surrey County Council in the UK and involved several hundred managers.
Filip and his team have been working to make CustomView360 a little bit better every day for the last 12 years. Today CustomView360 is being used by coaches, consultants and organizations to develop leaders all over the world.
The Origins of Envisia Learning, Inc.
I met Ken Nowack, Co-Founder of Envisia Learning, through Mike Perrault. In the mid-90’s, Synermetric was a distributor of Ken’s standard 360 assessments (ManagerView360 and PerformanceView360). A few weeks after I finished the LeaderView360 project, Ken contacted me and I put his assessments online.
Over the next few years, I continued to do various projects with Ken and we always worked well together. At this point I had CustomView360 and he had 3 off-the-shelf assessments. We decided it was worth a shot to partner up and form a distribution company to represent my CustomView360 and his off-the-shelf 360s in the United States.
Ken and I officially formed Consulting Tools, Inc. in October 2003. In 2009 we rebranded as Envisia Learning, Inc.
Ken and I have spent the last 11 years building Envisia Learning in the United States. Synermetric has represented our products in the rest of the world through a partnership network they have cultivated that spans over 30 countries.
Combining Synermetric’s 360 degree feedback and survey business with our business represents the final consolidation of a partnership that began almost 20 years ago.
So What Happens Next?
John Dutton will continue to run Synermetric, with a focus on Personality, Style, Career and Recruitment solutions. I am eternally grateful to John (and Mike) for putting their trust in a nerdy teenager and offering me so many great opportunities. We will continue to collaborate with Synermetric on future development projects.
The Synermetric team that has been responsible for supporting 360 degree feedback and survey customers will be joining our new UK company, Envisia Learning, Ltd. They will be working in our new office in Cambridge, United Kingdom.
- Matt Pocock joins us as our Managing Director of UK & Europe. Ken and I have worked with Matt for over 16 years and are thrilled to have him officially join the team.
- Anna Ward will be joining us as Global Partner Manager. We’ve enjoyed working with Anna for over 9 years and can’t wait to do more together.
- Helen Palfrey will be joining us as our UK/Europe Client Project Coordinator. She’s been keeping our EU 360 feedback customers happy for the last 3 years.
What started for me as a scary $700 development project has ended with me being a CEO with an incredible team of 20 psychologists, developers, writers and customer service professionals scattered all over the world.
Together we’ve run projects for thousands of companies in over 25 languages and 30 countries. We’ve processed well over a million surveys and played a part in developing hundreds of thousands of leaders.
Over the coming weeks, we will be reaching out to our long-time Synermetric customers to answer any questions about Envisia Learning and the future. We want to make sure you have all the information you need to continue receiving the support you’ve been accustomed to. If you’d like to reach out to me directly with any comments, concerns or questions, I’m firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Envisia Learning of today has developed out of a rich history of strong partnerships and collaboration. The addition of the Synermetric 360 feedback and survey team finally brings all the key players together under one umbrella.
We have great things planned over the coming months and can’t wait to share them with you.