Buying an LMS is a big investment (both money and time) and it will impact everyone in your organisation. Because you’ll be doing a lot of research before making a decision, you might encounter a few pitfalls. Although every organisation is different, some of these drawbacks are quite universal so you’ll want to take them into account.
Going out of your scope
- You’ve created your user stories and prioritised your features. When you’re overwhelmed by all the cool features that vendors will offer you, always go back to your must have vs nice to have list as a starter point. Ensure that the LMS has the minimum requirements you must have – and ensure that you’ll have the flexibility to add new functionality later on.
Going by the price only
- Let’s be honest: the price of an LMS is one of the first things management might ask about; after all, it’s a big investment. However, a very low price might mean that support will be scarce once you’ve signed the contract with your vendor – and then you’ll find yourself stranded. Service and support are as important, or more, as the LMS you’re going with; and good service providers do charge for good support.
Sticking to internet reviews
- While internet reviews can undoubtedly help reinforce your decision making, nothing compares to talking to vendors. A vendor will understand the business and learning needs of your organisation and will be up-to-date with the latest and best LMS available in the market to better provide you with what you need. Additionally, many vendors are happy to provide you with client references so you can hear from their clients first-hand.
Avoid vendor lock-in
- An LMS should evolve with your organisation. However, sadly that’s not always the case and you might end up tied down to an inflexible platform. Why do we say tied down? Becauses some companies will require you to use third party software embedded into their platform that makes it very complex or even impossible to change to a different provider or software should you ever want to. If you choose to go with proprietary software, be aware that you might get locked in with a vendor and it might be costly to switch to another platform.
Not giving up on data and content ownership
- This is very related to vendor lock-in: if you don’t own your data and your content, it will be very painful and costly to change to a different platform. Do ask your vendor about this, and request to see all the fineprint as well.