What is the best LMS for your needs?

25 June 2016 by Paul McElvaney

LMS learning management software

With over 300 LMS solutions successfully implemented, we’ve seen what works for our customers – and what doesn’t.

Here, our CEO Paul McElvaney shares five top tips on making the right selection to get the most value from your LMS.

1. Start with understanding the business objectives – don’t race to solutions

Organisations need to start by considering the business objectives that an LMS is going to support. This may be onboarding people faster and more consistently, supporting a change programme or new products. Most importantly organisations can think through the outcomes they want to achieve such as reducing staff attrition, standardising processes, reducing costs, improving access to training and so on.

We find that organisations can benefit significantly from a two day workshop where we work together to understand the context and the objectives. At these workshops we can ask questions, probe and start to draw out key requirements, drawing on our experience of over 300 LMS implementations. There is very rarely just one way to design a solution and so it’s good to talk through the options and explore alternatives.

CEO Paul presenting

It is always useful to think about the user journey and how it will work for different user personas. We will often wireframe and even build simple prototypes to help test and communicate ideas.

Finally, research what the market can provide. There is a lot of change taking place so have a talk to other organisations about their experiences and talk to suppliers about what is possible.

2. Only start formal procurement after the investigation stage

Many organisations start the formal procurement process too early – before they have fully established their requirements or are aware of what the market can provide. Doing this can narrow options if it doesn’t allow flexibility.
Instead, talk to suppliers before any procurement process takes place.

The very process of discussion can help organisations and suppliers decide if the project is a good fit for them. Often suppliers will self-select and opt out if they feel the project is not for them and a discussion at the outset can save both sides time and money.

3. Think about constraints and what you need to provide

There will often be constraints such as time, resources and budget, so you need to be clear on your must-haves as part of the LMS solution. Some things to consider are:

-What format is data in and will it need to be cleansed;
-Be clear on systems integration required;
-How many staff can you dedicate to the project. Don’t underestimate the size of the team you will need to create, administrate and support;
-Get all the right stakeholders on board particularly IT and communications;
-What might cause a delay on implementation. Be realistic about timeframes as delays on your side will add costs to the project.

4. Ensure you’re resourced and empowered for effective implementation

Ensure you have the resources and authority to implement effectively – have you identified a product or project owner that is empowered to make decisions?
You’ll need to have someone responsible for communications with people inside your organisation and to also think about legacy records and data. If you’re migrating from another system, do you have a plan for migration?
Finally, don’t underestimate the size of the team you need during the implementation phase.

5. Implementation never stops

For the best results, manage your LMS as a live service – not a one off implementation. We work in partnership with our clients with this, producing a 12 month rolling plan with a clear 3 month objectives.
Remember one of the main benefits of the open source model is that clients can and do move partners. So make sure that you constantly review the service you’re getting.

For more tips and techniques to help you on your journey to acquiring the best LMS experience, here’s a handy infographic with the keys to a successful implementation.


Paul McElvaney
Executive Chair
Paul is Learning Pool’s founder and Executive Chair. Since 2006, he has grown the business from a modest team of 5, to the success story it is today, with 6 sites and over 300 employees. Paul’s ambitions centre on providing world-class customer care to our 1,100+ global clients, driving continuous innovation through Learning Pool’s product set and nurturing the talent within his team.
Paul was awarded ‘Director of the Year’, from the Institute of Directors in 2016.
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