11 Tips To Create A Winning LMS RFI

11 Tips To Create a Winning LMS RFI
Summary: In many respects, an LMS Request for Information (RFI) is the first step in the LMS research process, and it can give you the opportunity to formulate an eLearning plan and budget before you even begin assessing potential LMS vendors. In this article, I'll share 11 tips to create a winning LMS RFI.

How To Create An LMS RFI Based On Your Company’s Needs

While creating an Learning Management System Request for Information can be a tedious task, it will often allow you to get a clear sense of which LMS vendors should be included on your list of potential LMS providers and which you can cross off. Unlike the LMS Request for Proposal (RFP), an LMS Request for Information (RFI) is simply meant to get an idea of the budget, time frame, and functionality considerations for your new Learning Management System (LMS). As such, it doesn't have to be extensive, but it does have to be concise and specific so that you can get the information you really need to move forward.

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  1. Always provide a general overview of your company or organization.
    You should be as specific as possible about your company's background, mission statement, and what products or services you offer. This information will help potential LMS vendors to create a response that accurately details an estimated budget and time frame for the completion of the deliverable. You may also want to specify how many employees you currently have, where you are located (in the event that they will eventually need to be physically present for demos or LMS launch), and outline your current training strategy.
  2. Specify what you hope to achieve by purchasing a Learning Management System.
    Let the LMS vendors know your expectations for the project. What are you trying to achieve with your new LMS and training strategy? What are your learning goals and objectives? This doesn't have to be in great detail, as you will be explaining this at great length in the LMS RFP, but you will want to be as clear as possible when describing what areas you're trying to develop or improve within your organization.
  3. Clarify your organization's key wants and needs.
    There are things that your company will truly need within a new LMS, and then there are always things that you can do without. Be clear about your organization's key wants and needs, so that the LMS vendor can have an idea of whether or not they can help you to achieve them and how much it will cost.
  4. Be as specific as possible about the LMS features you are searching for.
    Don't be vague when describing the LMS that you are looking for. Include the features and functions you have in mind, as well as any other information that will eventually help the LMS vendor to create a solution that works best for your company.
  5. Mention any technical requirements you have.
    Include information about current applications or systems you are using now, so that the LMS vendors can determine which LMS solutions would blend well with your current tools or programs. Also, mention any tech requirements that you may have, as well as which platforms your learners will use to access the eLearning courses. For example, do you want them to be able to access the eLearning courses on their mobile phones or tablets?
  6. Ask about their support and hosting options.
    Don't forget to ask about what support options they offer, as well as what hosting packages they can provide. You want an LMS vendor who can offer you the support you need at a cost that you can afford. For example, if you feel that your organization is going to need round the clock client support because your development team isn't experience in LMS roll outs, then the cost may be higher but you will receive more assistance. (In case that you are looking for a Cloud-Based Learning Management System you may find valuable the Ultimate List of Cloud-Based Learning Management Systems).
  7. Ask for examples and/or references of their past work.
    Include questions that pertain to the LMS vendor's past clients or projects to gauge if they have the experience and skill sets you're looking for. You may even want to ask for references, so that you can verify that you can speak with clients they have worked with in the recent past.
  8. Include a response form that includes basic questions.
    Include a handful of questions that will allow you to evaluate what the LMS vendor can offer, such as which solutions they have in mind for your company’s eLearning needs. This will give you a clear indication of how their products or expertise will be useful to your organization, and if they can help you to achieve your eLearning goals.
  9. Ask them for the estimated cost per deliverable.
    Though you won't be able to get an exact cost per deliverable until you submit an LMS RFP, you can get a general idea of the costs involved with your LMS RFI. Ask them how much they think it will cost to create the deliverable you are asking for, and request various bids based upon different packages or solutions.
  10. Develop an outline for LMS vendors to follow when responding.
    Create an outline that LMS vendors can use when they are responding to your LMS RFI. Be sure to leave spaces for them to answer any questions that you've posed, as well as their basic contact information. This will be useful when you're ready to make a decision or to submit requests for proposals in the near future.
  11. Be clear about how they should respond and if there is a deadline.
    How do you want them to respond to your LMS RFI? Would you prefer that they mail in a response, contact you via your site, or send you a detailed email? Also, be specific about any deadlines for the LMS RFI that you might have. You wouldn't want the LMS vendor to take the time to develop and submit a response, only to find that your organization has stopped accepting LMS RFI responses.

Once you've received the responses of the LMS vendors and you have formulated your budget, your LMS needs, and development time frame, it's time to start developing your Learning Management System RFP. Hopefully, these tips will allow you to create an LMS RFI that narrows down your choices, so that you can short list the LMS vendors who will help you to achieve your organizations L&D goals. This way, you are one step closer to choosing the proper Learning Management System that will allow you to get the most out of it.

Are you looking for a new Learning Management System? Would you be interested in a LMSs comparison checklist? In the article Learning Management Systems Comparison Checklist of Features you will find a list of 99 LMS features that you can use to compare LMS Vendors.

Do you need additional help in finding the right Learning Management System? We’ve got you covered. Here is a comprehensive list of the best Learning Management Systems in the market. You can also get an LMS quote tailored to your needs in as little as 3 minutes. This simple 5-step process will help you find the Learning Management System that works best for you. Whether it's your first time with a Learning Management System or you are looking to transition from your current Learning Management System, we are here to help.