Intrigued? Here are five things to take into account when weighing the costs and benefits of sticking with your enterprise training management system for your specific project or using a web-based training funded by monthly costs:
1. Training-dependent launch delays: Can you afford to wait?
You're a department manager in a Fortune 1000 company - or any large organization, for that matter. You want to deploy e-learning tools, either for staff, clients or maybe even your vendors. You've defined goals, set up a project plan, and assembled relevant subject details. You've got a tight deadline.
That's when you hit the bottleneck. Learning departments, training departments, and even IT departments have been decimated by the layoffs of the past two years. Because these departments were probably already operating at low staffing levels, their lead times are longer - much, much longer. (Chances are, companywide workforce reductions didn't take your department's project into account.)
Since training often can't be designed until a product or software implementation is near completion, it's naturally one of the last steps on a project plan. When training gets delayed, it can delay product launches or internal cost-saving software implementations, or even risk expensive compliance issues.
2. Customer training solutions: Do you want your customers to use the same LMS as your employees?
As a product manager, you might want your customers to experience the look and feel of your specific product, rather than the look and feel of the company as a whole. You may want to have customer training data separated from employee training data, keeping each statistic pure. Further, if this is an early experiment into training customers via e-learning, your internal training systems may not have adequate security to allow non-employee access.
3. Compliance: How close are you to compliance deadlines?
Government-imposed compliance deadlines frequently underestimate deployment time lines. What are the penalties and risks of non-compliance? What are the public relations and brand implications of non-compliance?
4. Temporary, quick time-frame training needs: Is the web-based training need permanent or temporary?
Training initiatives can be implemented by e-learning at rollout to quickly train large employee groups. A web-based learning management system that allows fast deployment can be cheaper than hiring consultants to implement temporary training needs into a corporate e-learning system.
5. Customization: Does your company's enterprise LMS meet your department's needs for this project?
Trying to fit a square peg in a round hole can only lead to frustration and delays. Working directly with the provider of your department-level LMS cuts through several levels of red tape and allows you to get exactly what you want, when you want it. And because the LMS is dedicated to a specific project, it is faster and easier to handle any upgrades or updates.
When faced with one or more of the above issues, a responsible manager may be forced to consider other alternatives to their existing corporate learning system.
What if the opportunity costs or hard costs of delay override the actual cost of the web-based training solution that could prevent the delay? What implications would this have to your project, your department, your boss, or your entire company?
If the implications of delay are large, then the ROI of an alternative training development solution can quickly become significant enough to gain top management support.
A number of vendors offer web-based learning management systems that can be used as a stand-alone LMS, and can eventually interface with an enterprise solution if necessary, when learning and IT staff become available.
A stand-alone, easy to access, web-based LMS supported by a monthly subscription may not only be cost-effective, it may also provide the custom solution for your particular need.
Has anyone out there gone this route? We'd like to hear about your experiences.