3 Factors To Consider When Choosing Your SMB Learning Management System
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Choosing Your SMB Learning Management System: 3 Factors To Consider

Finding the right Learning Management System for your small or medium-sized business is imperative. You need to choose the system with the most robust features and best data hosting capabilities. It is also critical to find an LMS that will support your business as it grows, without going over budget. Here are a few of the different types of SMB Learning Management Systems that you should consider for your business.

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This Free Ultimate Guide can help you examine various aspects of SMB LMSs.

1. Type Of SMB Learning Management System: Free, Open Source, Or Paid

Some LMS companies offer their base systems for free to users. Often, these systems have optional add-on plugins and features to make the LMS more useful. If you have a reliable IT team, you might be able to use a free, open source LMS. These LMSs are developed and released to the public to develop and deploy online training courses. This means your business will be able to take the software and tailor it to your business needs or just use it as it is. However, if you aren’t well-versed in making software modifications, such as programming code, this option might be problematic. Without dedicated user-support or an IT helpdesk to guide you, an open source LMS may be difficult to master, and a paid option may better match your needs. Check with your IT team to see if they think they can support the SMB Learning Management Systems you are considering.

2. Subscriptions Vs. Licenses

If you want an SMB Learning Management System that is fully supported and fairly complete right away, a paid option might be best. These SMB Learning Management Systems tend to be polished, meaning you are not likely to encounter many bugs or errors. You will also typically get full support from the LMS vendor. They will guide you through the process of customizing the product and help you define the best path for your business. If your users run into issues, a paid LMS should come with comprehensive user support. As such, you won’t have to be on call 24/7 to help your staff. Paid options also often come with customizable features that are tough or time-consuming to build yourself. Here is a breakdown of the most common payment structures:

a. Monthly/Annual Licenses

These LMS platforms involve a monthly or annual fee in order to retain the license for the product. It's a great option for small to medium-sized businesses that don't have room in their budgets for sizable upfront costs. Or those who are still unsure whether the tool is right for them. For example, you can try it out for a month without having to worry about a long-term commitment.

b. Purchase Outright

Some LMS vendors give you the opportunity to purchase the software license outright. You can customize the SMB Learning Management System however you wish, and don't have to worry about expiration dates or renewal fees. However, this usually requires a more significant investment in the beginning, and you may have to pay for upgrades in the future.

c. Pay Per User

The last option is pay per user. For example, you will only have to pay for each employee that accesses the SMB Learning Management System, which makes it a great solution for smaller organizations who need scalable online training. Just remember that the fees will grow along with your workforce. Thus, you may need to switch to another LMS pricing structure as your business expands.

3. Hosting Options

Another important consideration of an LMS is hosting. You should decide whether you want to host it on site or have the LMS vendor handle that task. Again, this is where talking to your IT team is critical. They will likely have an opinion on whether they want to have the SMB Learning Management System hosted within the organization or not. Here is a closer look at the two most popular options:

a. Locally Installed

Some benefits of hosting your SMB Learning Management System on site is that there is more control. Your IT team can handle everything from user support to customizing the LMS. This can also help you to keep costs down. Hosting your own SMB Learning Management System means you will be able to decide which changes are critical versus nice-to-have. With hosted SMB Learning Management Systems, updates are typically rolled out in batches. That means you won’t get to cherry-pick the changes you want to make.

b. Hosted (Cloud-Based)

On the other hand, hosted SMB Learning Management Systems can be helpful for a small business without a full IT team. Even a medium or large business may find this type of LMS cost-effective. Server upgrades, data storage, and other hosting concerns are the LMS vendor’s job. This is great for businesses that don’t have the space or resources to have dedicated servers. Some SMB Learning Management Systems are even hosted on the cloud. Cloud hosting allows users to gain access to the SMB Learning Management System from absolutely anywhere. That can make your workflow much simpler if your employees are spread out or remote.

Picking the right LMS vendor can be time-consuming and stressful. Thus, you may want to consider these options and read reviews of different SMB Learning Management Systems to narrow down your list. Once you delve a bit further into your options, you will begin to notice what LMS features appeal to you and which you can forego. You also may want to get your team’s opinion about SMB Learning Management Systems you are considering to see what they think. After all, they're the ones who will be using the SMB Learning Management to deploy meaningful online training courses for your staff.

Is it time to move your training online and reap the rewards of learning technologies? Download our Free eBook: The Ultimate Guide To Find The Ideal LMS For Small And Medium Businesses (SMBs) to discover tips on choosing the right Learning Management System for your SMB. We'll also explore the pitfalls of integrating a new SMB LMS and tips to avoid them, as well as the must-have features to look for in your LMS platform.

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