LMS, LMS Trends

Questions to Ask Vendors Before Choosing an LMS Platform

by Debbie Williams

A survey shows that 48 percent of companies that use a learning management system (LMS) want to find a new or different learning technology.1 Inability to scale, sub-par customer service, poor collaborative learning tools, high cost of maintenance, inadequate analytics -- these are just a few reasons why companies are dissatisfied with LMS platforms. No matter the reason for wanting to switch to a different learning management system, businesses can be more successful in their quest to find and implement a system better suited to their company if they ask the right questions when talking to LMS vendors. 

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A few questions LMS seekers should always ask vendors

Talking to LMS vendors is part of the process of finding the right LMS system for your company. Before chatting with a vendor via phone, web conference, or email, compile a list of questions to ask. Here are a few to get you started: 

  • “Do you offer a robust reporting feature?”
  • “What is the total cost of LMS ownership?”
  • “What level of customer support do you provide?”

Read on to find out why it’s important to ask these specific questions.

1. “Do you offer a robust reporting feature?”

It is vital that you know the ins and outs of an LMS platform’s reporting feature before purchasing it. Jodi Harrison, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Interactyx, said the main questions she receives about TOPYX (the LMS platform Interactyx develops) are related to LMS reporting. “Robust LMS reporting is very important,” she explained. “At the end of the day, if you can't report on training, that training has no value.” 

It is essential that instructors, managers, and executives have access to reports 24/7 from their LMS. This process should be hassle-free. A quality reporting feature will allow you to navigate reports intuitively, and will also enable you to customize your reporting dashboard and schedule reports. 

“Clients love to schedule reports because it makes their jobs so much simpler,” Harrison explained. “With scheduling reports, clients can ‘set it and forget it,’ while at the same time provide the training department with a dotted line to other departments. This is relevant because the training department supports so many areas of a business.” 

When speaking with LMS vendors, be sure to get all the details about their software’s reporting and analytics feature. This will help you pinpoint which LMS platforms allow administrators to perform functions that are key to business success, such as customizing reporting dashboards and scheduling reports.

Related Reading: How to Perform an LMS Features Comparison

Find The Perfect eLearning Solution With The LMS Comparison Tool

2. “What is the total cost of LMS ownership?”

Our previous blog article How Much Do the Best LMS Systems Cost reported that 59 percent of organizations spend more than they expect to on their LMS. This is a sign that many LMS purchases are incorrectly budgeted. The article also reported that the average annual spend for an enterprise LMS is $70,614, and despite the high cost of LMS ownership, half of all companies are dissatisfied with their eLearning solution.

Total cost of LMS ownership can quickly get out of hand, and it’s not at all uncommon for businesses to find they are in over their head financially with an LMS. This can be avoided by asking vendors detailed questions about the total cost of platform ownership before making any commitments. 

“It’s critical that you understand what the total cost of LMS ownership will be over the period of time that you will use the platform,” stressed Simon Cooper, CEO, Interactyx. “Keep in mind that vendors may not always declare all of the costs upfront. They may not tell you that they charge per user, for example. There can be many add-ons with LMS platforms, especially for companies that have tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of users. Look for an LMS that includes everything for one flat rate.” 

Make the total cost of LMS ownership one of the first topics you visit when speaking with a vendor. This is a surefire way to stay within your training budget and not invest in a remote training solution that you can’t afford.

Related Reading: How to Increase LMS Adoption for a Remote Workforce

3. “What level of customer support do you provide?”

Many clients are seeking a high level of customer support from an LMS provider, but that isn’t an option with every vendor. If your company requires a lot of input from an LMS provider and needs help with implementation and LMS management, it’s even more important that you find out how fully each vendor supports clients. 

LMS vendors offer varying degrees of customer support. Some provide a basic customer support line that any client can call for help, whereas others provide dedicated customer support teams for each client. TOPYX LMS is an example of a vendor that provides a high level of client support.

TOPYX clients are assigned a dedicated customer support team from the start. That team remains with the client for as long as they use the product. The support team is there to answer any questions the client has, as well as to ensure LMS implementation goes smoothly. They also train each customer personally in how to use the LMS, record that specialized training, and upload it into the LMS for later viewing. Six new hours of training are uploaded into clients’ sites annually. 

Additionally, the TOPYX dedicated customer support teams are responsible for branding clients’ sites. “At TOPYX, all the branding work is handled (by these teams). We work closely with clients to bring the right brand experience to life within the LMS. Branding is always included as part of the setup and does not cost any extra fee,” said Cooper. 

The quality of client support an LMS vendor offers can make the difference between your business experiencing success or failure with an LMS. That said, don’t shy away from asking in-depth questions about client support when talking to vendors. 

Explore our Customer Success Stories.

Know the type of learning experience you
want to provide before talking to LMS vendors

It’s more than helpful for LMS seekers to ask vendors the right questions before deciding on a learning management system. But Harrison has a question for LMS seekers: “What learning experience do you want your users to have? You need to know the answer to this before you seek a new LMS platform. You are the expert on the experience you want your users to have, and you need to be able to communicate it to a vendor.” This will help you determine whether or not a vendor’s product can meet your company’s needs. 

TOPYX LMS ticks all the boxes of a top-performing, lower-cost LMS platform: it offers a robust reporting feature that enables clients to customize reporting dashboards and schedule reports; it features a flat-rate pricing model; and it provides full customer support via dedicated customer support teams at no extra cost. 

Additionally, TOPYX is usually up and running fairly quickly. “TOPYX is usually ready to go in eight to twelve weeks, but it can be live in as short as two weeks, depending on a company’s needs,” explained Harrison. 

Request an LMS demo to learn more about the TOPYX platform.

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Debbie Williams

Debbie Williams

Director, Marketing