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Selecting an LMS Provider

The LMS market is large and constantly in flux leading people to the questions, “What is an LMS and do I really need one?”

As there are so many factors involved in the decision to purchase an LMS, the purchase of an LMS can be frustrating, making it nearly impossible to compare suppliers. It is important to consider that high-end options don’t ensure quality, and some low-end solutions provide quick and easy-to-install versions that handle basic functionality but still may not offer everything your organization may need in the future. This becomes even more confusing as a result of the high rate of mergers and consolidations within the LMS market.

A robust LMS should be able to do the following:

  • centralize and automate administration functions
  • allow for self-service and self-guided services
  • provide a single location for the ability assemble and deliver learning content rapidly
  • consolidate training initiatives on a scalable web-based platform
  • support portability and standards
  • support social learning activities
  • support your Talent Management activities
  • be applicable on all mobile devices.
  • be constantly developing around the needs of the ever changing market

Questions to ask when considering an LMS purchase:

  • Does the LMS provide for ease-of-use?
  • What feature and benefits do I need?
  • What features and benefits does I NOT know I need?
  • What reporting capabilities does the LMS host?
  • Does the LMS support Talents Management Capabilities and contain a competency module
  • Does the LMS cater for Blended Learning environments which cater for events that combine aspects of online and face-to-face instruction?
  • Has the LMS provided solutions for a similar case scenario?
  • Does the LMS fit well into your industry vertical?
  • How long has the LMS provider been around?
  • What is the real annual cost of our current LMS?
  • What kind of training and support services will I receive initially to expedite the transition to a new LMS and on-going?

As important, an LMS should be able to integrate with other enterprise application solutions such as those used by HR and accounting, enabling management to measure the impact, effectiveness, and overall cost of training initiatives.

So how can organizations make smart purchasing decisions about learning management systems? Although every implementation is different, both at the back-end installation and at the logic and requirements level, these are some common factors to address when evaluating the right LMS for your organization.

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