By Holly Sheldon, Senior Business Analyst, Expertus
If you’re into reality TV, you’ve probably noticed a surge in home renovation shows. The details vary, but the premise is the same. If you want today’s version of a dream house — open floor plan, hardwood floors, chef-grade appliances, master bedroom “retreat” — you can make it happen. All it takes is some time, money and elbow grease. With any luck, the improvements will add even more value to your property than you invest upfront.
It’s all very alluring. But hiding under the surface is a dirty little secret. When the walls come down, unexpected problems always emerge − a bad foundation, substandard wiring, antiquated plumbing. The list goes on. What looked like a quick flip often spirals into a frustrating money pit of structural repairs.
It’s not pretty. But it comes with the territory when you’re dealing with older homes. And it sounds a lot like the struggles our customers face when trying to upgrade or improve their aging learning management systems.
What’s Behind Your LMS Walls?
Chances are, you’re feeling a similar kind of pain about your learning platform. Here’s why:
- In a recent survey of 350+ corporate learning leaders, 30% told us their LMS is “very ineffective”
- Another 29% said their system is “somewhat ineffective”
- That’s nearly 60% of respondents who are struggling with their learning infrastructure!
It leads to an obvious question: Should you try to renovate your learning platform — or should you replace it, entirely?
Apparently, many learning decision makers are unwilling to ignore these problems any longer. 30% plan to replace their LMS by 2015. Why are so many moving to a next-generation platform now? As Bersin by Deloitte Head of Research, David Mallon, said in CLO Magazine, “no time is better.”
LMS “Fixes” Are Losing Their Charm
As a short-term fix, some companies have been implementing learning portals on top of legacy LMS platforms. But obviously, this doesn’t resolve core architectural weaknesses. What’s more, these portal add-ons can be costly and difficult for IT organizations to build and maintain. Risks include:
- Lack of existing infrastructure to connect a portal with an LMS
- Lack of APIs that provide real-time integration with web applications and enterprise systems (such as Salesforce, Workday and Sharepoint)
- Limited knowledge of how to leverage LMS functionality for meaningful business impact
- Insufficient resources to sustain portal support as organizational requirements shift over time
Even if a portal implementation can address all these issues, the question remains: Will an LMS “fixer-upper” really deliver the dynamic social, mobile, global learning experience your workforce, customers and business partners now expect?
A next-generation LMS architecture makes it possible to provide consistent, reliable, advanced functionality across all workflows and interactions — no matter where learners and training administrators are located, or what type of device they’re using. In contrast, a “bolt on” approach offers no guarantees of a seamless experience across applications and user environments.
Here’s an analogy: Imagine trying to keep your house warm by placing space heaters in every room, rather than installing a central, variable-speed furnace. That kind of patchwork approach may provide some comfort. However, it’s more cumbersome and inefficient — and in the long-run, it may even be more costly.
The Fast-Track to LMS “Home Improvement”
The time for DIY fixes is rapidly coming to a close. Patching, priming and painting the same old crumbling LMS walls simply cannot deliver the foundational integrity and flexibility that forward-thinking learning organizations demand.
If you have an aging learning management system, you’ll save time, money and frustration by avoiding further modifications. Instead, look for an LMS that is built specifically to support next-gen essentials like these:
- Advanced analytics
- Cross-application integration — for example, real-time data exchange with CRM apps like Salesforce.com
- A dramatically simplified learning environment
Whenever you make your move, don’t settle for less. Your learners, administrators and business stakeholders will value your investment in modern architecture that will serve your organization beautifully for years to come.
What Should You Look For In Your Next LMS?
A solid technology foundation isn’t the only key to a successful next-gen LMS. To learn more about how to avoid common LMS selection missteps, read our whitepaper, “Choosing an LMS? Avoid These Four Deadly Traps.”
Note from Kathleen: To see how the ExpertusONE cloud LMS can support mobile learning across your organization, learn more at our website or feel free to contact us anytime to discuss your needs and schedule a personalized demo.