Thinking Smart When Choosing A Learning Management System
There is a widespread trend of organizations unhappy with their current Learning Management System. According to The Brandon Hall Group, only one-third of companies plan to renew their current Learning Management System provider, and 38 percent are actively looking to replace their solution. Why is this? Because the learning system didn’t meet their needs. Plain and simple. Organizations who find true training success think strategically when choosing a Learning Management System:
- What are our corporate goals and objectives? How does training tie into them?
- What kind of IT infrastructure is currently in place? Will a Learning Management System complement or conflict?
- How can we exploit current technologies to create value for our organization and efficiency of spending?
These are just a few of the questions companies should be asking so as not to fall victim into buying a Learning Management System that does not truly fit their training needs, organizational needs, and IT needs. It is crucial to look at the broader picture when choosing a learning management system.
Choosing A Learning Management System: Get Strategic By Starting Backwards
Instead of choosing a Learning Management System by what you want in features alone like social or blended learning, try working backwards. What tools are already in place from which to build on within your company?
As the old saying goes, you can’t put the cart before the horse, and the same holds true for choosing a Learning Management System. It’s crucial to look at the foundation that is already built and your IT/business strategy is going to play a big part in the effectiveness of your learning management system. This could potentially save your business time and money in the long run.
For example, let’s look at the case for cloud-based systems. They are touted as a cost-effective solution and the wave of the future. This may be the case for a select few but for many this couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, there is little to no price advantage for organizations who already have internal IT and hardware capable of running an application.
In addition, keep in mind that most companies will not fully be able to move one hundred percent to the cloud, leaving a hybrid scenario as the only option. And, therefore, the cloud is not more affordable if you’re utilizing both cloud and on premise.
Knowing what your IT strategy is from the beginning will be a huge advantage in the long run. Before choosing a feature like the cloud, you need to first find out the following: are you in a highly regulated industry with sensitive data? How much control over your data does your company want? Do you need customization, security of stored data or third party extension integration?
The answers you discover will be your guide to narrowing down a Learning Management System that will ultimately be the right fit for your business.
Training Success Happens When All The Pieces Fit Together
As we all know in business, nothing functions as its own entity and neither should your Learning Management System. One of the key things that companies do that think strategically when choosing a Learning Management System is utilize existing assets and ensure that their Learning Management System plays nice with all the other systems in the business landscape.
Let’s put it in perspective. Most companies have multiple systems running at any given time from HRIS, ERP, CRM, content management and IT and security systems to name a few. And, all of these systems must work together or face big challenges ahead.
CorVel, a leading provider of risk management solutions, is a great example of a company that dialed into what their business and IT strategy was, utilized current assets and ultimately created value for their business.
From the very beginning, they analyzed what their IT strategy was. Since they are a highly regulated industry, compliance was a big issue for them and keeping data protected was of the utmost importance. With IT infrastructure and hardware already in place, it didn’t make financial sense to move to the cloud. They knew they needed a Learning Management System that was on premise with the option to go hybrid at some point.
They also analyzed what technologies they already had that they could expand upon – big picture thinking. CorVel already had significant investments in SharePoint and utilized it for content management and other key business processes. Since SharePoint was already integrated into their Active Directory and other management systems, they knew it would ‘play nice’ and there wouldn’t be any trouble.
Using out-of-the-box SharePoint capabilities, InfoPath and a little custom code, CorVel was able to create a homegrown Learning Management System for their training needs. However, within a few years, their needs expanded and business critical requirements overwhelmed the system.
Additional features were needed, so rather than move to a completely different system that would have been less compatible with their other enterprise systems, they chose a Learning Management System based on SharePoint.
As a result, CorVel saw a cost savings of about $500,000 in the first year of implementation. Their Learning Management System fit into their IT/business strategy, fully integrated into all of their business processes and was fully scalable and adaptable.
Choosing a Learning Management System based on features alone will only get your business so far, but changing your strategy and looking at the big picture will catapult your training efforts. Before getting wooed by the latest training buzz word, arm yourself first with the knowledge of your business: what is my IT/business strategy, how can I connect the pieces of what is already being utilized within my company, and finally, get granular and choose the features that will enhance your training goals.