Choosing an LMS can be difficult. There are many vendors and technologies out there to choose from and a lot of them will not suit your business’s requirements. There are a number of things you can look out for to help you decide what solution is best. Here are 5 things you can consider before selecting a vendor.
Consider the vendor’s support and implementation
Support and implementation are some of the most important elements when selecting a vendor. Most of us would have at some point had a negative experience when dealing with customer support teams. For your business it is critical that you reduce the chances of such experience as much as possible. Negative support experiences can be crippling for your business and your learners. You also want to know that the implementation will be short, so you can get up and running as soon as possible. For a LMS you may experience issues that hinder your ability to provide your learning offering to registrants. When this happens, you want to know that your vendor has responsive and accessible support.
Find out what support options are available, phone support, email, documentation before signing up. It is also a good idea to use review sites such as Capterra or G2Crowd, to find out what the vendor’s current and past customers have said.
How much maintenance will the system require?
Every LMS will require some maintenance during your usage. However it is good to know how this maintenance will affect your business. Will there be a number of outages, will your data be at risk, will you be required to do anything?
Not only will vendor led maintenance need to be considered, but how much maintenance will you be required to do in terms of managing your data and your other business systems? If your LMS does not integrate with your CRM or registration tool, you may find yourself needing to enter large amounts of data manually. Maintaining clean records is important, but with disparate systems can be difficult. Ask your potential vendor about integration options prior to signing up.
Understand the pricing well and get a free trial
Unfortunately many vendors do not have transparent pricing. Either the pricing is not on their website, or there are hidden costs around extra features or support. Many of Arlo’s customers have come from vendors with hidden costs and long unbreakable contracts. At Arlo we don’t hide our pricing, and our integrations, features and mobile apps have no hidden costs. We don’t need to talk to you before showing you our pricing unlike other vendors. Make sure you get the full picture on pricing, with all the features you will require.
Trialling the software is also very important for you to test the system. Arlo offers a free trial for anyone, other vendors don’t take this open approach, or provide a very limited trial with few features. In fact, at Arlo we encourage our prospects to undergo user acceptance testing to ensure you get a system that works. Get a free trial before signing up for a LMS. You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes without trying them on, don’t do that with your LMS software.
Your website matters
Many vendors now market a website integration solution. This means their software is able to display information stored within their LMS platform on your website, and take registrant information entered on your website and push it onto your platform. However, functionality of this is often limited, or the styling is dated and will not match your website.
It’s not good enough for a vendor to only offer registration forms. Ask potential vendors how you can customise registration forms, how information displayed on your website will be styled to match your existing brand, and whether you can customise course page’s URLs. Arlo’s website integration is seamless and matches your brand exactly, down to the finest details. Headers, footers, colours and fonts can all be styled by our Web Team to match your website. Check out some examples of our website work.
Know your requirements
It will be difficult to find any system that suits your needs, if you yourself don’t understand what your needs are. To find out what your needs are start by defining your process from the marketing your courses to delivery. How do registrants find your courses, how and what information do you need to gather? What information do you need to send to registrants? How do registrants pay? What systems does this information need to sent to – your accounting system?
Once you understand your requirements, make sure you talk to all your key stakeholders, and understand what they need in a LMS. Every stakeholder will have different needs. Executives and management will be interested in reporting options, administrators will be interested in course management, your registrants will want a seamless registration experience. Understanding these different needs will help you make the best decision possible.
There are a number of ways you can increase the chance of successfully investing in a LMS. Using the tips above will help you understand what a good vendor looks like as well as what you need from a vendor. To find out more about the Arlo solution, why not contact us today!