Grant Thornton Leverages Existing IT Infrastructure to Create an Enterprise eLearning Environment Powered by Centra

July 23, 2002

LEXINGTON, MA (July 22, 2002) – Centra (NASDAQ: CTRA), the leading provider of business software solutions for eLearning and real-time collaboration, today announced that Grant Thornton, the leading global accounting firm serving the needs of middle-market companies, has deployed the CentraOne( Web collaboration platform to enhance an innovative program that leverages the firm’s investments in IT infrastructure to provide a robust enterprise continuous learning environment.

Grant Thornton began with Centra when a team led by David Holyoak, the firm’s Chief Information Officer, implemented Centra’s Web collaboration tool that utilized their existing network infrastructure, facilitated significant cost savings, and resulted in a rapid deployment throughout the organization. “We felt that this strategic initiative was a wise technology investment in the face of shrinking budgets for business travel and the increased demands on our profesionals’ time,” commented Holyoak. “Now, the use of Centra is helping us reach our business goal of creating a continuous learning environment for all of our employees.”

As part of a learning innovation initiative, Bob Dean, Chief Learning Officer, focused on how to leverage this technology so that the firm could deliver multiple channels of learning, augmenting traditional classroom teaching with virtual learning and collaboration. Grant Thornton has recently launched Grant Thornton University (GTU), a one-stop shopping point for learning that integrates a learning management system with content and delivery channels.

“The ability to interact with practice and technical leaders across the firm was a key driver in our decision to implement this technology,” said Dean. “Shortly after implementation, we were able to deliver critical knowledge to our tax and assurance practices in a matter of days, not months. The Centra-powered solution has changed the culture at Grant Thornton, giving us new ways to deliver learning and business communications that are more efficient and cost-effective than ever before.”

In addition, Grant Thornton is taking advantage of CentraOne’s robust content creation and management features to exploit the firm’s investment in training content and other organizational knowledge assets. Learning designers use interactive design techniques, storyboarding and presenter coaching to deliver learning that best meets the needs of their end-user community. With combined capabilities for real-time collaboration in CentraOne, featuring integrated IP audio and video conferencing, learners can interact with subject matter experts in real-time to share best practices. Today, these live online sessions include technical updates, information on accounting and tax practices, new product education, change communications, and other business skills. For those who cannot attend scheduled sessions or who require self-service access to refresh and review materials, sessions are recorded and archived for on-demand viewing.

Scaleable Software Solution for eLearning and Collaboration Used by more than 850 companies, government agencies, and universities worldwide, Centra’s scaleable software solutions are based on CentraOne, an open and extensible Web collaboration platform. Leveraging the core capabilities of CentraOne, Centra offers a suite of compatible, real-time Web collaboration applications, content composition tools, and knowledge delivery systems that can be quickly installed on-site using Centra’s rapid deployment methodology, or conveniently accessed through Centra’s secure, full-service ASP. Centra’s application interfaces – including those for interactive Web meetings, virtual classrooms, and large-scale conferences – ensure universal access to users through firewalls and proxy servers, and deliver full-performance IP audio and video conferencing, application sharing, and dynamic multimedia over low-bandwidth network connections through a standard browser interface.

“More and more, we are seeing companies whose CIO and CLO are working together to marry investments in IT infrastructure with a shared vision for connecting people and information through eLearning and collaboration,” said Leon Navickas, Chairman and CEO of Centra. “Grant Thornton provides yet another example of how a well thought-out collaboration strategy can lead to competitive advantage and top-line growth.”

About Grant Thornton

Grant Thornton is the leading global accounting, tax, and business advisory firm dedicated to serving the needs of middle-market companies. Founded in 1924, Grant Thornton serves public and private middle-market clients through 50 offices in the United States, and in more than 650 offices in 109 countries through Grant Thornton International. For more information, visit

About Centra

Leading with an undisputed track record of helping millions of users to increase revenue and improve overall business performance, Centra provides Web collaboration solutions that enable the delivery of information in a variety of live and self-service formats, and add value through unmatched capabilities to capture interactions and content, personalize and manage this information, and instantly re-use it across the enterprise. Today, hundreds of global organizations across every industry and market sector choose Centra, including Cingular Wireless, Cadbury Schweppes, Citigroup, AT&T, Procter & Gamble, McKesson, Merck, Nationwide Insurance, Sysco, and Stanford University. Centra’s products are bolstered by a vital ecosystem of strategic partners, including PwC Consulting, Deloitte Consulting, EDS, KPMG iLS, Microsoft, SAP, Siebel, Cisco, and SmartForce. Headquartered in Boston’s technology corridor, Centra has sales offices throughout North America, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit

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