How to mitigate the risk of switching your LMS provider

18 October 2019 by Andrew McMonagle

In 2018 Brandon Hall estimated that around a third of organisations wanted to replace their current LMS and 45% within the next year.

Maybe you’re one of that growing band of organisations unhappy with their current LMS provider, but are worried about the consequences of switching?  What you need then is a reassurance that switching can work and that there are ways to mitigate the risk.

What went wrong?

There may be any number of reasons for your dissatisfaction with your current LMS provider, from hidden additional costs, poor customer support, to a general sense that it isn’t fit for purpose. Treat these factors as valuable lessons and use them to focus both on what didn’t work and where the gaps lie.  This post-mortem is an important stepping stone in the process of producing detailed requirements for what you need from a new provider, in both functional and strategic senses.

One conclusion you’ll almost inevitably arrive at is that over time your requirements altered as business circumstances changed.  Inflexibility then became a major problem, so that what once might have worked was no longer adequate and there was no easy way to change tack.  

That inflexibility may not be primarily technical. Most LMSs can be upgraded as new features become available.  The most likely cause of the growing disparity between what’s available and what’s needed derives from an inability or unwillingness on the part of the provider to evolve and develop as your organisation needs to evolve and develop.  

The critical factor is the relationship between provider and customer.  The scope, health and durability of that partnership are, in turn, the key factors in any switch to a new provider.

Preparing for the switch

Your starting point in any move to a new LMS provider is not to end up where you are with your current one.  Once you’re clear on what you need from a new LMS – and experience is a great teacher – you’ll be better placed to begin the move.

The overarching objective is to prioritise the relationship with the new provider rather than the technical versatility of the actual LMS.  This is because you’ll have your own unique business challenges, requirements and needs and you may need to change those as your organisation evolves.  Above all, you want to make a decision you can live with and that doesn’t need revisiting every couple of years. It’s not like changing energy providers and looking only at reducing your bills.  

An LMS is something that has to work for you and continue to work for you.  Choose the right provider and you dramatically reduce the risk of switching and maximise your ROI.

Choosing the right LMS provider

If the key to the switch is finding the right provider who can stand over the right product, it helps to have a checklist to guide you.  The list here isn’t exhaustive, but it highlights the main areas that need attention and investigation.

  • Experience:  You’re looking to establish a relationship and a partnership with your new provider.  You want to avail of their experience. How long have they been in the LMS market? Do they work with similar organisations on similar projects?  Providers shouldn’t be just re-sellers but should add value with their expertise, experience, technical and market knowledge.
  • Customer-focussed:  A lack of concern for the customer once the deal has been signed is a frequent cause of dissatisfaction.  Look to see what the provider offers you as a customer. Is their focus primarily technical (the bells and whistles) or do they have a detailed support and development strategy to offer?  
  • Customer satisfaction:  Testimonials and references of other customers’ experiences are vital in assessing your levels of satisfaction.  Talk to other customers. Ask if the provider offers access to or is part of a community. The adage about a problem shared applies here too.
  • Recommended product:  Obviously you’ll need to assess the LMS providers recommend and explore their reasons for doing so.  But check the fine print too. Make sure you’re not locked in from the start. You’ll need flexibility.  Check out the prospect of an open-source product that facilitates customisation and offers adaptability and technical versatility.
  • Transparency:  Having been burned once, you’ll not want to suffer the headache of hidden costs again.  What exactly are you getting from the deal and what will it cost if you need more (item by item)?  Transparency also applies to future business needs. Strategise upfront with your new partner to look at scenarios for how you might meet future challenges.
  • Accreditation and recognition:  Doing due diligence in finding and engaging a new provider means performing checks.  Look for evidence of accreditation, like ISO. Has the provider been acknowledged by the industry with awards and citations?  Is the provider a recognised and approved reseller?
  • Dedicated support:  Signing the deal is just the start.  Make sure you know what support is in place and what extra support lines are available in times of crisis.  Does the provider offer a dedicated back-up team with a single, direct point of contact?
  • The right approach: You need to feel you’re in the right hands.  Regular meetings and contact are critical. Do you have access to and a say in the provider’s road map?  Will you have immediate access to new features and upgrades when they are released, and at no or minimal additional cost?  Will the provider act as a consultant to advise when business and not just technical issues arise? Collaboration is better than confrontation and the relationship has to be two-way.

We have what it takes

We believe we tick all the boxes on that checklist – and more.  With Learning Pool you not only get high-level, quick-response technical support but also the real benefit of our experience.  We look to partner with companies and introduce them into our community with all the shared benefits – technical, strategic, business – that that entails.  And as we and you grow, we look to evolve together.

We offer 24×7 monitoring by our team of experts and guarantee 99.7% uptime.  Updates are delivered regularly with no downtime and disruption to service. Our systems are fully secure and protected again malicious attacks and cyber-crime.

Our customer support has won awards.  We offer a dedicated UK-based team ready to help you and we give you unlimited access to a helpdesk 7 days a week.  You’ll have direct access to a single point of contact.

We’re not in the business of nasty surprises.  Our cost structures are completely transparent.  There are no additional set-up fees.

Our focus is always on the customer.  Our customer satisfaction rate is at 98%, but we’re always willing to go further.  We’re looking to engage in new partnerships and are committed to continuous improvement for mutual benefit.  You’ll have access to our road map and Community. We host regular Learning Pool Live events to bring groups of our customers together to share best practice and ideas.  We learn from our customers and they learn from each other. That dialogue translates into new features, fresh content and innovative approaches.

This customer-centric focus has been recognised across the industry in a number of awards, including two Golds at the 2018 Learning Technologies Awards for Company of the Year and Learning Platform Implementation of the Year.  We were also Totara’s Top EMEA Seller in 2018 and have been Totara’s Top Global Partner for three consecutive years.  And we not only win awards, but we also run our own awards (now in their 11th year) that recognise our partners and customers impressive achievements and successes.  And we’ve no intention of resting on our laurels just yet.

But don’t just take our word for it.  Hear what some of our customers have to say.

 

 

Andrew McMonagle
Product Manager

Since joining Learning Pool, Andrew has worked in the Customer Success Team, Project Delivery and is currently a member of our Product Management Team.

Andrew mainly works with our LMS and has worked with the likes of Tesco and the Football Association on the LMS implementations.

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