The best software for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is the software which is designed to help them run their operations better (more efficient or more effective), save on costs and replace manual processes. The million-dollar question for them is how much does the software cost and what is the ROI that one can expect.
As more and more companies seek to hold the line on their expenses, one area of discussion for training managers is how much capital to put towards a Learning Management System (LMS).
An LMS enables an organization of any size to benefit from solutions that do not involve large expenditures through scalable, consistent, secure and stable systems. SMEs can benefit in performance enhancement, adherence to regulatory compliance and continuous product and services improvement through timely and accurate training. The importance of an LMS cannot be underestimated as it remains a reliable and efficient way of imparting training, for organizations of any size.
Are there really different considerations for small and medium-sized enterprises as compared to large enterprises when it comes to selecting an LMS? Whilst there are some similarities in how both groups gain their knowledge about LMS, there are some fundamental differences when it comes to making their actual purchases.
Below mentioned are some of the key differentiators applicable to the SMEs:
1. Budget In Mind
By having an initial project budget in mind, your business can stay within reason, yet still adjust and adapt when necessary without spending too much money.
2. Flexible Payment Options
Always look for vendors who offer payment models which make it easy for you to use their product. Especially look for vendors who give you an option of subscription based pricing where you need to pay a flat monthly fee per learner. This way you are not burdened with an upfront cost loading and you are paying as per you usage and business growth.
3. Short Term Challenges Vs Long Term Gains
Although it is important to a have a clear idea of the bigger picture, it is very important to address the current challenges being faced by your business. Your first priority should be to ensure that the LMS you are evaluating helps you to overcome the challenges you are facing. You can always engage in a dialogue with the vendor on their product roadmap to ensure that your long term ideas are in line with the vendor’s plan too.
4. Ease Of Use
The more complex or expensive is not necessarily the best when it comes to LMS systems. Focusing on ease of use is more important than the number of features. So instead of burning your time on experiencing all the features, it is more important to thoroughly evaluate and understand the features which are relevant to your current business needs. The vendor might tempt you to buy all their features in garb of discounted price but you must buy only what you need. You can always get the other features as and when they are needed even if you might need to pay a little extra but you will be making that investment based on an actual need.
5. Hosted Vs Installed Version Of LMS
There are two types of Learning Management Systems – hosted or installed. The hosted type is a third-party server based solution and the installed version is set up on the company's local network. Opting for a hosted version will allow you to drastically cut down on upfront costs for procuring the required software & hardware environment for the LMS.
6. Vendor Research
Vendors should be researched well to see what is offered. They should be selected based on years of experience in the business.
Selecting a new LMS for SMEs can be a daunting task. If you wish to share your experiences or tips to be kept in mind while buying an LMS, we would love to hear from you. Please share your views in the comment box below.
Learning Solutions 2014 Conference and Expo | March 19-21 | Orlando, Florida, USA | Stand 214