Road from Optima to Priima – When it’s time
Discendum’s roots as a learning management system provider go way back to 1996. This is when the Telsi learning management system was published in the University of Oulu. Our long-time CEO Eric Rousselle along with his team were responsible for the development of the product. People from that team are still working at Discendum and developing the Priima learning management system.
Even back in the mid-90’s, we strongly thought that a learning management system is best built as web-based so that only a browser is needed for using it. This model was called Application Service Provider (ASP). Nowadays, we talk about SaaS and cloud services.
We found it important to commercialise the services developed in the university. Due to this, the ownership of Telsi services transferred to Sonera in the beginning of the 21st century. Our short time at Sonera and the colleagues that left with us gave us valuable experience on business fundamentals. We needed these experiences as we established Discendum in autumn 2001.
Along with our new company, we published a new learning management system service Optima, that in the beginning was called Telsipro3. Optima gained success fast and by the end of 2002, over 100 organisations were already using it. The number of users grew quickly and altogether over a million people have studied in Optima.
We made four big revisions to Optima during the years that answered the feedback and development needs of our customers. We were known for making extensive development work by listening to our customers. Also, our technologies worked securely and in all situations. For us, this same philosophy is still true today.
Changes and new beginnings
There is a time for everything and it’s just not possible to make revisions indefinitely. In 2015, we began to deliberate Optima’s next version. The needs of our customers had changed considerably over the years. Certain teacher-centered structures didn’t bend towards new and agile ways to produce training. After a long consideration and analysis, we came to the conclusion that it is time to start over from scratch.
We told our customers about our plans in Optima customer day back in 2016. The reception was encouraging but also a little reserved. We were direct about the fact that we are facing an extensive endeavour and it would take at least two years. We published the first customer version of Priima in 2018. This summer, it will be updated already to version 3.0.
Many wondered why we took on a big challenge. Why we didn’t do as many others did and just updated the user interface. Our long experience with learning management systems and how they are used showed us that a user interface update was not enough. Especially, if we wanted real changes. Sooner or later, old ways of doing and thinking would eventually pop back up.
Over 20-years of experience with developing learning management systems in close connection with our customers is a capital that only a few can use. Our product development and a product that is completely owned by us are an unbeatable combination. Thanks to these, we have taken a giant leap further from others.
The big decision to begin developing Priima has paid off. The customer satisfaction level is top notch and Priima has been examined to be a secure, accessible and truly device independent service. In addition, it enables many modern ways to learn and agile process management.
We continue developing Priima in a tried and true way, together with our customers. You can hear more about this and other Priima’s development steps in Priima Akatemia Live and its recordings. See you there!
With nostalgic regards,
Tuomas Kuusivaara, CEO