Technical Whitepaper

Pluralsight to Degreed Integration

V1.0 last revision 1/30/2018
ProServ

Introduction

This document describes and provides examples of Pluralsight's integration capabilities as they relate to Degreed.

Why integrate with Degreed?

A full Degreed-to-Pluralsight integration provides a seamless, secure user experience that increases adoption and utilization. We accomplish this via Single Sign On and our customer-facing APIs.

User Anonymization

“Anonymization” of users may be proposed by Degreed. The objective of this proposal is to remove Pluralsight as a direct partner so that liability and risk assessments could potentially be removed. Pluralsight does not support user anonymization as it degrades the experience for learners and managers for the following reasons:

  • Support - Pluralsight needs to know who your learners are in order to provide tier 1 & above support. This includes everything from the basics of using the web and mobile applications to troubleshooting video players.
  • End User Experience - Pluralsight is designed to function with a specific end user. Throughout the application you’ll see reference to their first name and last name as applied by the SSO SAML assertion. If anonymized, these fields become convoluted and confusing.
  • IRIS (artificial intelligence) - At its core, Pluralsight is powered by our machine learning, artificial intelligence engine - IRIS. IRIS provides recommendations, Skill IQs, and much more based on user-platform usage data. Anonymization removes some of IRIS’ ability to provide this experience.
  • Analytics - as noted below, the only data that will be consumed by Degreed will be course completion data. Pluralsight provides so much more than this as The Technology Learning Platform. If anonymized, the value of Advanced Skills Analytics & Advanced Channels Analytics is removed as well as the entire Analytics user interface. These Advanced Channels and Skills Analytics provide insights into what is happening in relation to your key learning objectives and surface the brilliance within your organization using Skills IQ.

Our proposed integration solution is covered in detail below.

What does an integration look like from start to finish at a high-level?

Every integration is initiated by either the Account Executive and/or Customer Success Manager via a request to the Professional Services team. Working with the Pluralsight Account Executive and/or Customer Success Manager, the Professional Services Implementations Consultant coordinates a call with the appropriate customer and Degreed contact/s to better understand the customer’s needs, scope the integration, and assign ownership of responsibilities. Following which, the 3 main components of an integration are executed in the following order:

what an integration entails

First, we configure Single Sign On, which allows users to pass seamlessly from Degreed to Pluralsight without having to create and manage another set of credentials. SSO increases security, reduces barriers to usage, simplifies license provisioning and eliminates admin time and costs. Setup begins with the customer configuring and sending the Implementations Consultant their SSO metadata from their federated server.

Second, when SSO is in production, Pluralsight provides the SSO vanity URL to Degreed for input into their system. Degreed has already done the work of scripting against our Course API to extract the course metadata. SSO enabled course links are systematically generated within Degreed for use by the users. After passing through directly to a course, the users now have access to the full Pluralsight suite of features (Paths, SkillsIQ, Channels, Practice Certification Tests, etc.).

Third, Degreed closes the loop with a script that makes GET requests to our REST Reports API to pull course usage and completion data into the customer’s reporting tools. This centralizes learning events across all the customer’s learning providers.

Each component of the integration is covered in more depth below.


Degreed Integration Components

what a degreed integration flow looks like

1. SSO (Single Sign On)

what a degreed integration flow looks like

Single Sign-On (or SSO) allows for users to pass between two systems without having to manually type in a username and password while maintaining trust between the two systems. It involves passing information about the user to Pluralsight from which Pluralsight creates an account and/or authorizes access. It has numerous benefits, a few of which are outlined below.

  • Seamless Experience - When a user clicks an SSO enabled link, they are instantly taken to the content they wish to view with no additional identification, authentication and authorization needed. This helps increase adoption by placing Pluralsight side by side with existing internal applications.
  • Auto Provisioning - Users are provisioned a license automatically upon clicking one of the SSO enabled learning objects in Degreed, bypassing the manual license assignment process.
  • Issuance Criteria (Optional) - This allows us to accept or reject an individual requesting Pluralsight access based on attributes (i.e. role, team, department, etc.). It’s a simple way to set rules around auto provisioning. Any issuance criteria needs to be passed over as an attribute in the assertion.
  • Team Assignments - This allows for a user to be automatically placed into a Team within Pluralsight upon license creation. This further automates the setup and organization of your Pluralsight experience.

Pluralsight supports SAML 1.0 and 2.0 as does Degreed. In order to set up SSO, the Pluralsight Implementations Consultant  and customer (or Degreed, if Degreed will act as the IDP) will need to exchange federated server metadata. This is typically a .xml file with the information needed for federated servers to communicate. Pluralsight’s metadata is already preloaded in the app catalogues of Okta, Azure, PingOne, and One Login.

After the metadata is configured, exchanged and uploaded to the respective federated servers, the Implementations Consultant generates a vanity URL (e.g. https://app.pluralsight.com/sso/<SSO Identifier>) and sends it to the customer to test the configuration. Once the customer confirms the connection is working (Issuance Criteria or Team Assignment included where applicable), we are ready to move to step 2.

NOTE: Often times customers will choose to do all the initial SSO setup and testing in a stage environment prior to moving to production. If so, the production metadata must be configured and provided (after testing is complete in stage) to the Implementations Consultant who uploads the new metadata to Pluralsight’s federated server. The customer then retests the connection in production using the same vanity URL previously provided.

2. Course API

When SSO is in production, Pluralsight provides the SSO vanity URL to Degreed for input into their system. Degreed has already done the work of scripting against our Course API for the course metadata. SSO enabled course links are systematically generated within Degreed for use by the users. Your contact at Degreed can speak in more detail about the admin capabilities available for use with these SSO enabled course links.

After passing through directly to a course, the users now have access to the full Pluralsight suite of features (Paths, SkillsIQ, Channels, Practice Certification Tests, etc.). NOTE: Our Course API is open access and produces a .CSV of our course metadata. API token is not required.

3. REST Reports API

Pluralsight provides the course usage and completion data to Degreed via our REST Reports API. Degreed closes the loop with a script that makes GET requests to our Reports API to pull course usage and completion data into the customer’s reporting tools in Degreed. This centralizes learning events across all the customer’s learning providers.

In order for Degreed to access the customer’s data via the API, Degreed will need both the Plan ID and API token. For our Business Enterprise customers, this can be easily accessed by the Pluralsight plan Administrator/s via ADMIN TOOLS>Account>Integrations. For our Business Professional customers, this information will need to be requested from your Implementation Consultant or via a request to professionalservices@pluralsight.com.


What happens in the LMS

LMS

Now what?

Contact your Account Executive or Customer Success Manager and inform them that you’d like to engage Professional Services (professionalservices@pluralsight.com) to complete a Degreed to Pluralsight integration.