Most companies who have worked with a learning management system (LMS) or who have read about LMS technology are familiar with one of the most common complaints in the industry: a lack of software support.
To combat doubts about support capabilities, many providers market themselves as a “partner.” They claim they will act side-by-side with their clients to make their training system the best it can be. But since lack of support is one of the biggest reasons companies go searching for a new LMS, it doesn’t seem likely that these providers are following through on their promises of partnership.
Is your vendor just saying that they’re your partner in success, or do they really mean it?
Do They Ask for Your Input in Regards to Product Enhancements?
True partners care about the evolving needs of their clients. They want their LMS to be able to grow with their clients’ needs, and they do that by listening. Does your LMS vendor ask for your input when considering future product enhancements? Do they seem actively interested in incorporating new features that will make your life easier? Do they have plans for making them a reality?
A true partner is interested in creating a working relationship with their clients that allows them to continuously improve the software together. If not, it’s more likely that you’re just another client, not a partner.
How Often Do They Release Software Updates?
It’s also worth asking how often the company releases software updates. Some LMS providers release them once a year while others will release them many times throughout the year. The benefits of the latter approach are two-fold: clients receive enhancements in smaller, more manageable batches that make incorporating them into their training program easier, and it’s more likely that client-suggested product enhancements get out to an LMS provider’s client base sooner rather than later.
Just think: if you recommended a product enhancement but had to wait an entire year (or more) before it came to fruition, does that really make you feel like your opinion and needs matter?
A partner invested in your success will value an up-to-date system that keeps current with technological developments and client needs, and releases these enhancements on a more frequent basis.
Do you Have the CEO’s Cell Phone Number?
How accessible is the upper management of the company? At eLogic Learning, the CEO commonly hands out his cell phone number to remain easily accessible to clients. It’s important to be able to discuss ideas, issues, and/or learning strategy with upper management. It’s how you know that your LMS provider is as invested in your success as you are.
Similarly, if you call the support line and it takes days just to get ahold of a human being (not including how long it takes to actually get your problem solved if it’s more extreme), then you know you’re not respected as a partner.
Will They Help You in Case of a Compliance Audit?
An LMS provider should be on your side if you face a compliance audit. Some provide compliance-ready reports that can be run at a moments notice, but if you need more than that then a true partner will be right there helping to extract the necessary data with you. Your LMS provider should make a stressful process as smooth as possible so that you can impress the auditors with the record-keeping capabilities of your training system.
Will They Help You Develop a Best Fit Solution?
An LMS provider is an expert in all the options you have for bringing your training program to life – and they can walk through your questions and concerns. They can help you develop a solution that suits your needs and solves all the pain points of your company’s training challenges.
Best fit solutions may involve:
- Custom course content – including different proportions of custom to off-the-shelf content
- Various software setup options – for example, whether you want it in the cloud, a private cloud, or installed on-site
- A license or contract that suits your budget
- Extended enterprise and/or e-commerce capabilities
Is Their Implementation Process Built with the Client in Mind?
Many companies have short or non-existent implementation processes that give you access to their software and then throw you to the wolves. A feature-rich LMS is a complex piece of software – it requires a lot of collaborative work between the LMS provider and the client, as well as upfront and continuous system training. Look for a company with an in-depth implementation program that guides you until you are ready to use it all on your own, as well as provides ongoing support and training whenever you need it. It will be way more efficient and painless then trying to figure it out by trial and error.
Look for a True Partner
Seek out an LMS provider that will act as a true partner, one that stands with you every step of the way, and whose employees- from the support staff to the CEO- are invested in your success. Make sure the provider you’re getting involved with has created an implementation process that will help you get started and will be on your side when things go wrong – from a software bug to a compliance audit. And, most of all, make sure this provider makes you feel important and as if your success is paramount to their own success.