Stress-Free LMS Shopping: Best Practice To Compile A Shortlist Of LMS Contenders
LMS shopping is often filled with time-consuming research, needing analysis and a fair share of RFPs. There are multiple segments to consider in the quest for the best LMS. Price, mobile capacity, bandwidth usage, compatibility with existing systems, tools, features, functionality and accolades. These are the obvious ones. But even in a grid that includes all these elements you have to cut it down. From hundreds down to ten and eventually to one. So how do you skillfully shrink that shopping cart and obtain the right fit for your business? Here are some stress-free tips to quickly compile a shortlist of LMS contenders.
How To Create A Time-Saving LMS Shopping List
1. Identify Current Objectives And Gaps
There are lots of different reasons why you’d buy a new LMS. You may be following an industry trend or you may simply be upgrading your existing software. Assess the tools you’re currently using in-house. What do you like about them and what do you feel is missing? Are there any particular features you’d like to include? What about the ones you can’t do without? It may also be helpful to think about the training and non-training needs your system will fulfill. Make a comprehensive list before you start shopping, labeling each one as mandatory, optional, or ‘can most definitely do without’.
2. Use An Online Directory
Search an online directory to determine which platforms meet your criteria (and cross others off your existing list). A credible directory should give you the opportunity to filter results and compare your top choices. As well as a full feature list that you can weigh against your own must-haves. You could also do a quick Google search like ‘Top LMS for 2019’, enhancing your results by mentioning specific features. Or, better yet, skim the top 20 lists in the directory to find systems that offer the best UX and CX.
3. Read Online Reviews
The directory will give you a starting point of maybe 20 LMS. Look into each one of them, reviewing testimonials and online reviews. Pay close attention to users with a similar use case, experience level or sector. Assess whether their pros and cons are relevant for your business needs. For example, you might be looking for a multifunctional tool that provides advanced support options. And a review indicates that the platform was lacking in the CX department. The process might also involve visiting each software website to learn more about their offerings.
4. Talk To Industry Peers
If you’ve been working in your field for a long time, you will have acquired contacts. They could be colleagues who moved to competing firms but still keep in touch with you. Or people you went to school with as you trained for your niche. They may be people you networked with at seminars and industry mixers or faced off against at trade shows. Find out what LMS they’re using, what they like about it and what they feel could be improved. They might even connect you with their vendor or account manager, helping you get a better deal. Additionally, you can join a social media group to ask for recommendations. Or read what others have to say about their past experiences.
5. Spend Time With Your Techies
This should probably be your first move, but many corporate leaders have a problem deferring to anyone. However, your IT is best-placed to advise you on software purchase. Other departments can list the functionality they need – like time sheets, roll call, asset management, tracking tools, and more. But if the LMS needs configuration, it’ll fall to your techies. And you may not know if their coding skills (or lack thereof) are compatible with in-house tech capacity. They’ll tell you the level of expertise each software requires, and whether they possess stated expertise. If they don’t, they may recommend consultants or new hires that do. Alternatively, they can suggest low-tech learning management system options.
6. Reach Out To Vendors
Don’t hesitate to contact LMS vendors with a list of targeted questions to see how they stack up. This also gives you the chance to see how they address your concerns and articulate their answers. For example, are they able to give you a detailed response regarding the setup process or what’s included in the package? They may look customer-friendly on paper but reaching out gives you a firsthand look at their service (or lack thereof).
7. Get A Free LMS Quote
Request a free LMS quote to receive a list of top vendors who meet your requirements. You just have to provide some basic info. Such as how many users you need to train and your estimated budget. In return, you get a shortlist compiled for you. No stress involved. Which is a great starting point for organizations who are unsure about how to begin their LMS shopping spree.
When you first start the hunt for LMS, you might have tens or even hundreds to choose from. Each one has its own selling points. And while a free trial can be helpful, you can’t do a hundred virtual tours. It’s impractical and too time-intensive. So how do you cut down your list to a more feasible test set? List what’s missing from your current LMS and note any new features you’re on the look-out for. You can also write down the features you’d like to carry forward from your existing system. Check industry directories and do advanced online searches. Read reviews, and if you can, talk to past-and-present users of your target LMS. Consult helpful industry peers and tap into online networks. Finally (or ideally, firstly), talk to your IT team. They know best.
Get your free LMS shortlist by requesting a free quote. No personal information required. You simply need to tell us a bit about what you’re looking for in a new LMS and your price range. One of our experienced LMS consultants will provide you with the top platforms on the market today based on your criteria.