Our industry is awash with options for learning platforms – elearningindustry.com for example lists some 469 different vendors! How do you know what is right for your organisation?
I recently undertook a market review to look at a learning platform that was to be predominantly customer facing and this exercise was useful in helping to understand what the key decision points were for that organisation. Before looking at any vendors, it is vital to understand what the Business outcomes are that this new system needs to support and to describe them in terms that relate to your business, not getting caught up in Learn Tech terminology such as: we need Extended Enterprise, multi tenant and ecommerce.
To give you some context: This is an organisation that is selling training to customers and partners; it uses “Training Units or Training Credits” as a way of paying for those courses. Here’s some of the high level business needs we wanted to address:
- To be able to recognise revenue and attribute to the customer/partner organisation that purchased it.
- To be able to surface platform functionality in other applications such as SFDC, Customer & Partner portals or the .com site.
- To ensure that customer users only have to sign in once they have made a purchase decision.
- To ensure that Partner only content is not visible to general customers.
- To have full access to all of the data via api’s.
- To work with our SSO solution both for access and just in time provisioning of users.
- To be able to provision the customer and partner organisations so that there is always a match between the user and the org that is funding their purchase.
- Paypal integration for those that are not currently aligned to a customer organisation or who wish to purchase outside of the Training Credit process.
Most of the above will be familiar to those of you who perhaps have procured one of the mainstream LMS applications which generally, have a long experience particularly in the Customer/Partner area. But where do this new generation of LXP’s fit with these sort of requirements? Simply put, many of them don’t!
Using both the resources at elearningindustry.com and findanlms.com, we came up with a short list of around 20 vendors. An initial desktop review reduced that further and I spoke in person with around 12 of these vendors whilst I was at the Learning Technologies Conference in London. Most of these conversations were somewhat short as they failed to understand the key requirement around how organisations like ours deal with the way corporate customers purchase training!
“Yes, we can do that using our ecommerce integration with xyz and use coupons.”Most vendor responses heard at Learning Technologies Conference 2020
Sorry, but that simply doesn’t work for many reasons!
Just one vendor understood the question at all! Sadly, once we got to talking with them after the event, that turned out to be “On the roadmap”!
We did eventually find a vendor who could meet all of our requirements but it wasn’t one of the 20 we had originally shortlisted from the 2 resources quoted earlier.
Every organisation has different needs so it is inappropriate to identify the vendors reviewed in this exercise. The moral of this story is simple: Identify your business requirements in terms that you understand and don’t make the mistake of assuming that the vendors understand this in the same way that you do!