Choosing an LMS: Finding True North
November 13, 2012 Leave a comment
When to Take the Plunge and Commit to New Learning Technology
By Caleb Johnson, Director of Strategic Accounts, Expertus
In recent years, we’ve seen a fundamental shift in how professionals view enterprise learning. It’s no longer considered synonymous with a series of training events. Instead, it’s now widely embraced as a learner-centered process.
In keeping with this evolving mindset, L&D leaders are re-envisioning all aspects of their organizational development strategies – including their LMS platforms. It’s wise to consider new technologies that can better align with evolving business needs. But these days, the task can be daunting.
Navigating a Sea of Confusion
Learning decision makers shouldn’t have to be overwhelmed or frustrated by the selection process. But unfortunately, too often, they are. The complexity and perceived risks can paralyze even the most motivated organizations. Contributing factors arise from within the enterprise, as well as from external sources. For example:
- Weak IT standards
- An uncertain infrastructure roadmap
- Miscommunication with technical staff or disagreement about business requirements
- The rapid pace of industry change and technology innovation
- Inability to track or evaluate the vast selection of available platforms and tools
- Confusing or conflicting messages from various vendors about features and functionality
Raising the Stakes in a Brave New Enterprise World
One very visible challenge is the ongoing industry debate about the relevance of LMS platforms in an era of cloud computing, the social enterprise and an increasingly mobile workforce. Late last year, we hosted a Think Tank about this issue, featuring key trends from Bersin & Associates and reactions from top learning executives. (Download “Talent Management Trends and Best Practices of High-Impact Learning Organizations.”)
This year, the discussion moved into high-gear, after several large-scale talent management suite vendors acquired LMS platform providers. Analysts continue to weigh-in on the implications for learning management systems in the talent management mix. For example, former Gartner Group learning technology expert, Jim Lundy, recently suggested that “resistance is futile” and standalone LMS offerings “will be absorbed.”
Other observers seem eager to declare the demise of LMS platforms. However, as I explained in a recent post, this would be a mistake.
Learning industry advisor, Craig Weiss, agrees. Recently he debunked the “LMS is dead” myth in deep detail. While outlining the capabilities of 500+ learning management systems he tracks, Craig offered this summary:
“The LMS is not dead. It’s not dying. It is not requiring an extensive set of variables in order for it to grow. It is not requiring talent/performance management to be an essential feature. It is not becoming a human capital management system. It is becoming something people need and want. And that is a fact…”
Waiting For an LMS Safe Bet?
All these varying opinions beg the question: Is it wise to commit to technology that seems at risk of becoming obsolete?
The truth is – waiting to choose a next-generation LMS is probably your riskiest move. Technology decisions are naturally complicated, and the context surrounding innovation is inherently complex. Therefore, in a world where workforce skills, knowledge sharing and performance improvement often lead to competitive advantage, delaying a learning platform decision can be more costly than moving forward with the best fit among today’s strongest contenders.
A smart way to get started is to learn more about how next-generation platforms are transforming learning in real-world environments. For example, to find out about the benefits of dynamic, cloud-based platforms like the ExpertusONE LMS, I recommend you download the Bersin research bulletin “ExpertusONE and the Dawn of the Continuous Learning Management System.“
Or to learn about continuous learning in action, read case studies like this: Software Giant Lowers Training Costs and Improves Readiness of Global Tech Team with Virtual Learning. (No sign-up required.)
And of course, whenever you’re ready to discuss your needs with learning technology experts, we’re happy to help you consider available options.
Whatever you do – I recommend you get started now. A whole new world of learning lies ahead.
Note from Caleb: To see if a cloud-based continuous learning platform like the ExpertusONE LMS makes sense for your organization, learn more at our website or feel free to contact us anytime for a personalized consultation and demo.