Extended Enterprise?
A new way to Collaborate

What it means to be an organization is changing.

 It is no longer defined just as a rigid, hierarchical structure of employees. The ways in which we organize and work together are now much more fluid, intertwined and porous. The advent of the gig economy and the ease of working remotely, across borders and jurisdictions means we are becoming more loosely associated.

At its heart, technology plays a powerful role in how we experience these new structures. Learning and orientating people around shared objectives, skills and behaviours is more strategically important than ever before. Indeed, learning is now a critical tool for engaging with stakeholders that sit outside the normal confines of the organization itself. Contractors, resellers, partners and even customers themselves all need orientation to build trust, confidence and advocacy in order to achieve a successful, large-scale coordinated effort.

This guide will explore the ways your organization can think beyond its traditional boundaries. You are no longer one entity, but an extended enterprise with many actors to consider, all of whom need to learn and perform as one.


An extended enterprise is defined as a loosely coupled, self-organizing network of firms that combine their economic output to provide products and services offerings to the market. This definition of a ‘firm’ can be extended further to include individual freelancers, contractors and even customers.

As organizations become increasingly porous, there is a growing recognition that training provision and engagement needs to move away from largely mandated programs, towards more persuasive, voluntary learning experiences.

“Extended enterprise refers to training content or performance support sold or delivered at no additional cost to non-employee audiences. This includes sales channel partners, retailers, distributors, franchisees, contractors and customers.”


Defining and supporting your extended enterprise ecosystem can bring significant benefits to your organization. These benefits include improved profitability, efficiency, quality assurance and customer advocacy. With all stakeholders operating to common standards of service provision, production and delivery and speaking with a unified brand voice, then your market presence will become demonstrably amplified.

Achieving this requires a learning and performance support solution that makes it easy for individuals to complete training to common standards, and to keep aligned and up to date with new developments in work practices, products and services offered. This could also include regulatory obligations, which may differ depending on region and jurisdiction.

Indeed, according to Brandon Hall, the top five objectives of an extended enterprise learning initiative are:


Let’s have a closer look at some of the different ways an extended enterprise can be served.

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