9 Criteria For Choosing The Best Extended Enterprise LMS For Your External Partners

XLMS.12. EXPERTUS-9 Criteria For Choosing The Best Extended Enterprise LMS For Your External Partners
Summary: Do you know which features to look for in your next extended enterprise Learning Management System? In this article, I'll share the 9 criteria for choosing the best extended enterprise LMS for your external partners.

How To Choose The Best Extended Enterprise LMS For Your External Partners

External partners can be big brand advocates if they understand your product and are confident in selling it. They can also provide customers with superior service and help you grow market share. In some cases, they may even develop, manufacture and deliver your products or services. As such, these partners require high quality online training resources to meet the demands of their job.

An extended enterprise LMS gives you the power to provide this valuable, easy to access support. Here are 9 key criteria to keep in mind to choose the best extended enterprise Learning Management System.

1. Multiplatform-Friendly

Chances are, your external partners are primarily sales professionals who are always on the go. At the very least, they use mobile devices to stay in touch and get the latest news. As such, your extended enterprise LMS needs to be multiplatform-friendly to stay on the cutting-edge. Your external partners should be able to access online training resources anytime, anywhere. Some LMS platforms even allow for offline mobile viewing. External partners simply download the online training materials, complete them at their earliest convenience, then resync with the LMS. Then the LMS automatically updates their progress, performance and assessment scores.

2. Robust Reporting & Tracking

An extended enterprise LMS should have built-in reports and analytics, which allow you to track a variety of metrics, from partner engagement and performance to online training assessment scores. Some even feature customizable reports you can use to monitor specific online training trouble areas. You should also look for an LMS that turns your stats into charts, graphs and other data visualizations. For example, pie charts that highlight partner learning completion rates or bar graphs that track their task simulation times.

3. Contextualized Online Training Paths

A key advantage of using an extended enterprise LMS is that you can diversify your online learning program. Sales partners, franchisees, vendors and consumers each have access to contextualized, digital learning resources. You're able to develop online training content based on their needs and preferences, then create separate groups to ensure that everyone gets the skills and knowledge they require. However, your extended enterprise LMS must support customizable online learning paths and user grouping.

4. Social Learning Support

An effective extended enterprise LMS offers social learning integration, which allows you to add peer-based online collaboration to your partner learning strategy. External partners can share ideas, feedback and tips with their remote coworkers. They can also post valuable learning resources and engage in online discussions via closed groups. Additionally, you can integrate forums and corporate learning blogs to facilitate social learning and knowledge sharing, or host live webinars to interact with external partners and get their feedback in real-time.

5. Brand Integration

Certain extended enterprise LMSs support brand integration, meaning that you can incorporate your logo, color scheme and other branding elements into your partner learning interface. Branding enhances the credibility of your learning programs and creates a more cohesive online training experience. As a result, external partners get a true sense of your company's message and public image, which allows them to accurately represent your brand when dealing with customers and clients.

6. eCommerce Features

If you plan on selling training to your partners, your extended enterprise LMS must have robust, built-in eCommerce features, such as an integrated payment system and course catalog. Also, make sure the eCommerce system uses the latest in global enterprise commerce design making your commercial training more appealing and easier to find and buy. Lastly, if your partners are based around the world, your LMS’ built-in eCommerce tool needs to support global currencies and tax calculations.

7. Data Security

Data security is a key requirement for any Learning Management System. However, it is particularly important for an extended enterprise LMS because they involve an expanded network. For example, sales partners or franchisees who are located all over the world, instead of solely in-house employees who access the LMS on your local network. Your extended enterprise LMS platform should have data encryption, password protection, and other security features. Ideally, you should also be able to assign specific clearances to members of your team. For example, admins can access the developer's dashboard, while sales partners are limited to online learning resources that pertain to their user group.

8. Certification & Compliance Support

External partners' training typically involves compliance and certification programs. Compliance training helps prevent violations and ensures that your external partners are knowledgeable about company policy, while certification programs equip them with the skills and information they need to improve productivity. Your extended enterprise LMS must be able to track certification paths and monitor compliance completion rates. In some cases, the LMS platform may feature automatic renewals whereby external partners receive a notification when their certificate is due to expire. The LMS stores the data for future audits, as well.

9. Intuitive User Interface

One of the most essential LMS features is a user-friendly interface. Ideally, the LMS platform should align with the skill sets of your partner teams. For example, it should provide the perfect amount of creative control without sacrificing an intuitive dashboard and design controls. Online training developers must be able to use all of the LMS’ built-in tools to get the best extended enterprise learning ROI. Get input from your team before making your final decision. They'll be able to tell you which features and functions they need to create memorable online learning resources for external partners.

Picking the right extended enterprise LMS for your external partner training may take time and a fair amount of research. However, it is well worth it. These solutions have the power to increase profits and loyalty by providing contextualized training to every partner, reseller and distributor across your extended enterprise.

If you’d like to see how one of our customers rapidly scaled their partner learning engagement and performance with a modern LMS, read this case study. Or, you can use these 9 criteria to choose an extended enterprise LMS that offers the best features and functionality for training your external learning audiences.