SumTotal Systems

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SumTotal Systems, Inc.
Industry Software
Founded 1985
Headquarters Gainesville, Florida, USA
Key people
Bill Donoghue, CEO
Jeffrey Laborde, CFO

SumTotal Systems, Inc. is a software company based in Gainesville, Florida that provides human resource management software and services to private and public sector organizations.[1] The company delivers solutions through multiple cloud-based channels, including Software as a Service (SaaS), Hosted Subscription, and premises-based licensure. The company has regional offices in the US, Canada, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region.[citation needed]

In September 2014, SumTotal was acquired by SkillSoft, a provider of online learning to corporate training organizations.[2]


The company now called SumTotal Systems originated in the 2003 merger of Click2learn (Asymetrix) and Docent Software.[citation needed]

1997-2002: Background as Asymetrix[edit]

Asymetrix Learning Systems, based in Bellevue, Washington, was founded in 1984 by Paul Allen and funded through his Vulcan Ventures.[3] Asymetrix then spent around ten years developing software for online education.[3] Among the first products from this development period was ToolBook.[4] Other titles included Asymetrix Librarian and the e-Learning Network - an early software as a service product. Additionally, an early three-dimensional rendering system Asymetrix 3D F/X was released in 1994 and later renamed Web3d.[citation needed] Asymetrix also produced a variety of screen savers for a short period,[citation needed] and developed Compel (a graphical presentation and prototyping program).[5]

The company was recapitalized in 1995 with more funding from Allen.[3] In October 1996, SoftBank invested about $3.8 million in Asymetrix. In September 1997, Asymetrix acquired Aimtech for about $3.1M in stock. In October 1996, the company spun off its client/server tools into a newly created wholly owned subsidiary, ASX Corporation, which was renamed ConQuer Data, Inc. It was later renamed Infomodelers, which was then sold to Allen.[citation needed] Further acquisitions followed. In September 1997 Asymetrix acquired Oakes Interactive Incorporated, Acorn Associates Incorporated and TopShelf Multimedia for approximately $2.1 million. In the first half of 1998 it acquired New York-based Meliora Systems and Illinois-based Strategic Systems Associates.[citation needed] In 1998 Asymetrix went public. The June initial public offering (IPO) raised approximately $31 million. After the IPO, Allen controlled about 45% of the shares.[3] Asymetrix was listed on the Nasdaq exchange with the ticker symbol ASYM, with a lukewarm market reception.[6] In September 1999 Asymetrix issued $10 million in preferred stock to Vulcan and Marshall Capital.[7]

In October 1999 Asymetrix's name was changed to, when James A. Billmaier was its chief executive.[8] Between 1995 and 1999, like many companies in the dot-com bubble, Click2learn reported growing revenues but continued operational losses.[citation needed] Kevin M. Oakes took over as chief executive in January 2000.[9] In early 2000, the company spun off its graphics and rendering software as InfoModelers and was acquired by Visio Corporation.[10] Other noteworthy acquisitions included the May 2001 purchase of IntelliPrep Technologies, Incorporated and Meliora who made Ingenium.[citation needed] As products were consolidated into their Aspen Enterprise Productivity Suite, losses continued through 2002, resulting in operational cost control measures including reductions in workforce.[11] In 2003 click2learn (formerly Asymetrix) and Docent announced intentions to merge.[12]

1997-2002: Background as Docent Software[edit]

Docent Software was founded in 1997 and based in Mountain View, California.[13] David Mandelkern and Pardner Wynn founded the company, with Wynn as chief executive and Mandelkern as chief technology officer[13] The company developed business-oriented training software. Pardner and Cynthia Wynn (then married) had developed Stanford Testing Systems in 1994, doing business as TestPrep,[14] which was incorporated into Docent software holdings.[citation needed] Docent was funded by venture capital in six rounds from investors such as Norwest Venture Partners, Advanced Technology Ventures, and Invesco. It had operating losses for 1997, 1998, and 1999.[13] David R. Ellett replaced Wynn as chief executive in July 1998 on the cusp of the dot-com bubble. In 2000 Docent filed for an initial public offering (IPO) and went public on NASDAQ on September 29, raising approximately $85 million in the process.[15] Later, Docent acquired gForce Systems in October 2001 for $5.3 million, which included about $4.7 million in debts and liabilities. Following the years of operating losses, R. Andrew Eckert joined as president in December 2001 and ultimately replaced Ellett as CEO in April 2002.[16] After growing to over 200 employees at the time of the IPO, by 2002 the company had reduced its staff by 20% to cut costs.[17]

2003-2004: Formation of SumTotal Systems[edit]

In 2003 click2learn (formerly Asymetrix) and Docent announced intentions to merge. click2learn's shareholders received slightly more than half of the stock in the merged company - former shareholders in Click2learn owned about 52% and Docent about 48% of the shares. At the time of the merger, click2learn employed over 300 people, 100 of which in Hyderabad, India and Docent employed an additional 170.[12] The combined company became Hockey Merger Corporation in February 2004 while a new name was planned.[18] On March 18, 2004, the new name SumTotal Systems was announced for the combined company,[19] with headquarters in Gainesville, Florida. The merger was completed in 2004.[citation needed] Shares in the new company were listed on the Nasdaq exchange with symbol SUMT (previous symbols were CLKS and DCNT).[19]

2005-2017: Acquisitions[edit]

In October 2005, SumTotal acquired Pathlore, a mid-market learning management systems company with a focus in state and local government and healthcare.[20] In 2006 SumTotal acquired the privately owned software company MindSolve Technologies, founded in 1994, for about $12 million. Mindsolve focused on performance management software.[21] In May 2009 Vista Equity Partners, the largest software-only private equity fund, agreed to acquire SumTotal for $160 million[22] and closed the transaction in July 2009.[23]

On January 5, 2011, GeoLearning was acquired by SumTotal.[24]

In July 2011 SumTotal acquired CyberShift, a Parsippany, New Jersey software company focused SaaS multitenancy workforce management and expense solutions, and Accero, an enterprise payroll and benefits solution provider.[25] The two acquisitions added features to SumTotal's employee life-cycle management software. At the time of the acquisition, CyberShift's 1000 customers grew SumTotal's customer base to around 3400, and employees to around 1000.[26]

In August 2014, Skillsoft Limited, a computer-learning software and content provider, announced that its subsidiary, Skillsoft Corporation, has entered into an agreement to acquire SumTotal Systems, LLC from affiliates of US-based private equity firm Vista Equity Partners.[27] In September 2014, SumTotal was acquired by SkillSoft.[2]

Products and services[edit]

SumTotal's solutions include learning management, workforce management, talent management, HR, planning, analytics, payroll and benefits.[28] The company delivers its solutions through multiple cloud-based vehicles: Software as a Service (SaaS), Hosted Subscription, and in some cases premises-based licensure. The company has multiple regional offices in the US, Canada and outside of North America including Europe and APAC.[citation needed]


  • Named to the Deloitte 2008 Technology Fast 500, a ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications and life sciences companies in North America.[29]
  • Software as a service for talent development, ResultsOnDemand, placed on KMWorld's Trend-Setting Product List of 2009.[30]
  • Called one of the top vendors in talent management systems by Bersin & Associates in its report, Talent Management Systems 2010: Market Realities, Implementation Experiences, and Solution Provider Profiles.[31]
  • 2012 Excellence in Talent Management Initiatives, Asia's Best Employer Brand Awards.[32]
  • Named top LMS vendor by Aberdeen Group, with 75 percent of its surveyed customers citing satisfaction with their company's learning program in 2012.[33]
  • Leaders Quadrant by Gartner, Inc. in 2012.[34]
  • SumTotal elixHR named Top HR Product of 2013.[35]
  • 2013 Best of Elearning! Awards in Four Categories - Best Learning Management System (Enterprise), Best HR Solution, Best Simulation Tool, Best Development Tool.[36]
  • 2013 Gold Brandon Hall Group Excellence Award for Extended Enterprise Learning in conjunction with USA Funds.[37]
  • Leader in Forrester Research Inc.’s Talent Management Wave in 2013.[38]
  • Top 20 most popular software solutions for both LMS and Talent Management Software in 2013.[39][40]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SumTotal Systems, Inc. | Company profile from Hoover's". Archived from the original on 2010-07-07. Retrieved 2010-07-05. 
  2. ^ a b "Skillsoft Acquires SumTotal". Forbes. October 1, 2014. Retrieved October 1, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d Asymetrix Learning Systems (June 12, 1998). "Prospectus for initial public offering". Registration Number 333-49037. US Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  4. ^ "List of ToolBook versions which have previously shipped". ToolBook knowledge base. SumTotal. Retrieved June 15, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Design and Implementation Considerations for an Interactive Multimedia Kiosk: Where to Start" Archived 2014-02-28 at the Wayback Machine., Cranston, Clayton, and Ferrands, Central Queensland University, 1996[dead link]
  6. ^ "Asymetrix generates little enthusiasm after IPO at $11", Wall Street Journal, (article mirror)
  7. ^ Asymetrix Learning Systems (September 30, 1999). "Securities Purchase Agreement". Form 8-K. US Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Asymetrix renamed". Puget Sound Business Journal. October 11, 1999. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  9. ^ Click2learn (March 1, 2000). "Annual Report for Fiscal Year Ending December 31, 1999". Form 10-K. US Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  10. ^ Duncan Dwelle (January 29, 2000). "InfoModelers acquired by Visio!". Applied Information Science. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  11. ^ Click2learn (March 1, 2002). "Annual Report for Fiscal Year Ending December 31, 2002". Form 10-K. US Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "Click2Learn, Docent ink merger pact". India Times InfoTech. October 29, 2003. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c Docent (September 29, 2000). "Registration of initial public offering". Amendment Number 3 to Form S-1/A. US Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Company Background and How to Reach Us". Original web site. Stanford Testing Systems. Archived from the original on May 22, 1997. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Docent Inc (DCNT) IPO". Nasdaq. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  16. ^ Docent (March 24, 2003). "Annual Report for Fiscal Year Ending December 31, 2002". Form 10-K. US Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Docent slices staff". Silicon Valley Business Journal. May 17, 2002. 
  18. ^ Hockey Merger Corporation (February 11, 2004). "Registration of securities, business combinations". Amendment Number 3 to Form S-4. US Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  19. ^ a b SumTotal Systems (March 18, 2004). "Acquisition or Disposition of Assets". Form 8-K: Current report. US Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Acquisition of Pathlore completed by SumTotal Systems (Pathlore Software Corp)". Telecomworldwire. Retrieved 2011-08-03 – via Highbeam. 
  21. ^ "SumTotal Acquires MindSolve Technologies". Press release. Elearnity. November 14, 2006. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  22. ^ "SumTotal Chooses Rival Bid From Vista". Dealbook. The New York Times. May 27, 2009. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  23. ^ SumTotal (July 24, 2009). "Deregistration of Securities". Form S-3. US Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  24. ^ GeoLearning, Sumtotal Systems, archived from the original on 2011-07-22 
  25. ^ "SumTotal Systems Acquires CyberShift and Accero". Business Wire. July 7, 2011. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  26. ^ "SumTotal Announces Acquisition of Accero and CyberShift". Bersin by Deloitte. July 7, 2011. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  27. ^ Acquisition,, August 2014, retrieved March 11, 2017 
  28. ^ "SumTotal Systems, Inc.". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  29. ^ "Winners" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 5, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Trend-Setting Products of 2009". KMWorld. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  31. ^ "Talent Management Systems 2010: Market Realities, Implementation Experiences and Solution Provider Profiles". Bersin & Associates. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  32. ^ "SumTotal Awarded for Excellence in Talent Management at Annual Asia-Pacific Event". Archived from the original on February 10, 2013. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
  33. ^ "The Rise of Learning Management Systems in Talent Management". Archived from the original on January 2, 2010. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Magic Quadrant for Corporate Learning Systems". Retrieved September 13, 2012. [dead link]
  35. ^ "And the winners are...". HRE Online. Retrieved January 3, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Best of Elearning! 2013 Award - Winners Named" (Press release). Retrieved January 3, 2014. 
  37. ^ "2013 Excellence Awards". Retrieved January 3, 2014. 
  38. ^ "The Forrester WaveTM: Talent Management, Q1, 2013". Retrieved January 3, 2014. 
  39. ^ Top LMS Software, Capterra, archived from the original on 2013-12-12 
  40. ^ Top Talent Management Software, Capterra, archived from the original on 2014-01-30 

External links[edit]