The Top 9 Questions To Ask Your Prospective LMS Vendor

The Top 20 Questions To Ask Your Prospective LMS Vendor
Summary: If the eLearning industry has abundance in one thing that is definitely LMS vendors. This makes the task of finding the right LMS vendor for your eLearning project an extremely challenging one. However, there’s a set of basic questions you can put forward to make sure you’ve acquired as much information about your prospective LMS vendor as possible. In this article, I’ll share the top 9 questions you can ask your prospective LMS vendor to make sure you have made the right choice.

Important Questions To Ask Your Prospective LMS Vendor

If you’re reading this, chances are you have already taken a look at learning technologies such as an LMS, as well as performed some research on software technology portals. Docebo’s free LMS Project Toolkit was designed to inform you as to what to look for when searching for a prospective LMS vendor. Doing market research involves asking all the right questions to prospective LMS vendors to determine if they are the right fit for your eLearning project’s needs. When the time comes to make a decision, you won’t be alone. Different stakeholders have different perspectives, different priorities, and unique sets of requirements.

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The first step for moving a collective purchase decision forward is not about solutions or tools. It’s about the business problem or opportunity you want to address. At a high-level, there are typically three stages to purchasing technology, namely “Define the problem you aim to solve”, “Identify a solution”, “Select a supplier”. The potential of failing to reach an agreement can occur at any of those points. To avoid this, ensure there is clarity around the business problem or opportunity that your company needs to tackle, and that everyone involved in the decision has a shared set of priorities around that problem. Once all stakeholders agree that they have a problem, it’s time to think about the solution.

Extensive research conducted by CEB shows that this first step is the most difficult step in the decision-making journey, without taking suppliers into account. This is where most misalignment occurs. The second stage to purchasing technology is to identify and align on a solution. Supplier selection is the easiest part of the purchasing process if you perform much preparation.

However, reaching group consensus with stakeholders and aligning on a solution can be tricky. According to CEB, an average of 5.4 individuals  in today’s B2B purchase decisions. One of the biggest risks is falling into the trap of the lowest common denominator. You can avoid this and build consensus by understanding that consensus building is a manageable process. This process intends to create a common language to better understand mutual issues. It also intends to identifies shared learning experiences to expose common priorities.

Docebo’s free LMS Project Toolkit is here to fill you in on everything you need to ask your prospective LMS vendor to make sure they are the right fit for your eLearning project’s needs. When considering a prospective LMS vendor or investing in an LMS, organizations will need to examine the following questions related to resources.

  1. What is our budget, what are we currently investing and what are we planning to invest in learning management technology?
    Determining your organization’s learning budget is critical before moving forward with selection. When companies invest in on-premise solutions, IT departments typically are responsible for HR technology. When companies invest in SaaS or cloud solutions, the L&D function usually becomes responsible for the budget. In thinking about the budget, companies should consider past, current and future expenses.
  2. What is the cost and pricing model of a next-generation system and what happens if the price escalates after the first year?
    After determining the budget, understanding pricing options is a critical component for selecting a system and Docebo’s free LMS Project Toolkit is here to help. Since many factors influence pricing, it is nearly impossible to compare different pricing models for these systems. Most importantly, companies need to evaluate a prospective LMS vendor regarding what they are spending for all product aspects. When thinking about the learning technology budget, companies should consider what they have spent in the past, what they can spend today, and what is realistic for the future. Companies can combat this challenge by asking very detailed questions about pricing. They also must plan for additional costs such as implementation services, training or additional users.
  3. What are the most important aspects of the LMS implementation?
    Implementation is challenging for many companies and frustrating when you have expectations about when and how you will be able to use your system. Docebo’s free LMS Project Toolkit was created to cover that aspect as well which will influence your decision as to your prospective LMS vendor. Companies must develop a plan for rolling-out their technology, possibly by region or by business unit. They must also be patient when implementation does not go smoothly and have additional resources available, if needed.
  4. When do we need to revisit our existing contracts with our technology providers or upgrade our technology?
    Companies often look to replace technology when it is time to upgrade or renew their existing technology. They should look at all available options. They should also determine if a new system will be able to meet its individual workforce needs. Considering a timeline will depend on a company’s existing technology, its resources, and its readiness to change. Organizations must develop a plan for rolling-out their learning technology again, possibly by region or by business unit. They must also be patient when implementation does not go smoothly and plan accordingly with additional resources if needed.
  5. What is our preferred delivery model and what resources do we need internally to support a SaaS or cloud-based system?
    Many organizations have a delivery model preference or requirements based on their overarching company strategy and policies and they communicate it to a prospective LMS vendor accordingly. For example, industries with high security needs require an on-premise or hosted model. The majority of next-generation learning management system providers offer an on-demand Software as a Service (SaaS) model or a cloud-based solution.
  6. How will we handle integrations and what existing solutions do we need to integrate with?
    This high-degree of integration in learning can become overwhelming for organizations who are feeling pressure to select and implement a system in a short period of time. In order to maximize the level of investment in these systems, organizations need to consider the long-term implications of an integrated strategy. They also need to begin any communications and change management to support this strategy before investing in a system.
  7. How do we measure the real impact for our organization? 
    In order to maximize the level of investment in these systems, organizations need to consider the long-term implications of an integrated strategy and begin any communications and change management to support this strategy during prospective LMS vendor evaluation and before investing in a system.
  8. Which metrics do we need to measure the effectiveness of our learning management system?
    Metrics include both traditional learning metrics such as course completions and course satisfaction. Defining metrics to evaluate technology is a challenge. It may seem clear why cost, time, and quality are important. However, how can organizations ensure their solutions are improving these areas? Organizations should define the metrics they want to track in advance and determine how to communicate these metrics with key stakeholders.
  9. How will this solution improve the learning experience and is the technology simple and engaging?
    Organizations of all sizes are looking for ways to engage with candidates on a daily basis. In fact, a 2015 Aon survey reported that nearly 60% of companies found that enhancements of learning technology had a significant impact on their employee engagement scores. Technology solutions should provide a simple experience that encourages better communication and engagement between employer and job seeker.

Knowing the right questions to ask a prospective LMS vendor is of the utmost significance. It can help you address important resource-related topics that will help you objectively evaluate your LMS vendor options.

Download the free LMS Project Toolkit by Docebo and gain further insight into how to build your business case to convince your executive team to invest in a learning platform. The free LMS Project Toolkit will also inform you regarding common LMS features as well as benefits of Learning Management Systems.

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