Relationships of all stripes rarely go from good to a break-up overnight. More usually, it’s a drawn-out rollercoaster ride of exuberant highs and brutal lows that continue until one of the parties says, “I’ve had enough.” Technology partnerships are no different, especially with your current learning management system (LMS) vendor.
Relationship Cycle of an LMS
Think of your ride with your current LMS vendor, it likely follows this pattern:
|DAY 1:||“Wow, I’m so excited to have signed our agreement! This is going to be awesome.”|
|DAY 21:||“This implementation is pretty painful. I didn’t realize I’d have so much to do.”|
|DAY 45:||“We went live today. Woohoo! This technology is going to take our organization to a new level!”|
|DAY 60:||“Ugh. A bug! Why isn’t this working?”|
|DAY 90:||“Hey support, any news on that critical bug fix?!?!”|
|DAY 475:||“Fees to break our contract? Are you kidding me?!?!?!?”|
|DAY 525:||“What a relief that nightmare is over. I’ll never do business with that company ever again.”|
How to Start Over with a New LMS
So, you’re back in the market for learning technology. The good news is that you’re now wiser than when you started. You know what you want, and won’t make the same mistakes twice. Here are some tips to help you avoid the issues you encountered with your current LMS.
Tap Use Cases to Evaluate Systems
Often Request for Proposal (RFP) questionnaires are poorly designed, making them a terrible way to select technology. You’ll read hundreds—maybe thousands—of pages and still lack an easy way to compare systems.
Instead, force vendors to follow a script demonstrating how you plan to use the system. Unlike an unscripted demo that allows the vendor to only show you the strengths of their system, vendors have no place to hide when presented with use cases they must demonstrate.
By using use cases and scripted demos, you’ll get to hear some vendors say “our LMS doesn’t have that feature.” This creates true differentiation between platforms and gives you something to consider when deliberating your choice.
Try the LMS
Ask LMS vendors to open fully-functional demo portals for you. Then, take your time to try the system yourself. Load courses, add users, create reports, test and ask questions regarding their LMS features. Beware: some vendors will limit the time you have access to the system, so request an extension if you need more time. They always say yes.
Evaluate the Service as Well As The Product
In trying out the system, you’ll surely have questions and the vendor’s sales representative will be super eager to answer them. After all, that person really wants you to become a client. Consider, though, opening a trouble ticket or two with the vendor’s tech support team. The support team may not be aware you’re a prospect, so this will be a good way to evaluate the level of service you’ll receive.
No matter the relationship, it’s a big red flag to wait three days for a reply. Slow response times and/or a lack of issue resolution should call into question the vendor’s ability to service your needs.
Read the Fine Print
You know all the fine print you don’t bother reading, but are forced to accept when you sign up for something on the internet? Well, be sure to read these terms and conditions when selecting an LMS. Sure, it’s filled with obscure “legalese” that was likely written by Martians. Nevertheless, take the time to see what it says about the commitments and responsibilities on both sides.
You’ll Find Your LMS Match
While you might be tentative to embark on a journey with a new vendor after your poor experience, take heart. It’s absolutely possible for your organization to have a rewarding relationship with your next LMS provider. I’m sure you have no intention of manually administering your training program with spreadsheets or—perish the thought—paper. So, spend time and do your due diligence in the selection phase. It’s worth the effort.
Oh, and don’t fall in love too quickly this time.
Get a fresh LMS Start with Absorb
If you’re considering a new vendor, we’d love if you considered Absorb. Sure we’re biased, but we’re confident you’ll find our attentiveness, support and features to be a great fit.