There are a few things that organizations take for granted when implementing a new employee training LMS. They assume that it will be easy for their team to use. That the price on the “tag” is the one they’ll pay. However, there are extenuating circumstances at play. For example, some LMS solutions are free but require hefty upkeep and customization costs, while others may not be accessible on mobile devices or involve a steep learning curve. This guide can help you select the right pricing model and deployment type for your employee training management software (and avoid trial and error).
SAAS (software as a service) platforms are typically hosted on the cloud. Your back-end team can develop and deploy resources remotely while your front-end users can access support tools on the go. This makes it ideal for geographically dispersed organizations, as well as those who train external partners. Some of the main concerns that companies have about SAAS options are data vulnerability and lack of customization. For this reason, you must verify that the vendor has advanced data safety measures in place and that you can personalize the platform to some extent, such as being able to incorporate your branding.
A self-hosted employee training LMS is installed locally. You’re in charge of setting it up and maintaining the platform. This usually provides greater customization options (if you have an experienced IT team or vendor support). You can also custom-tailor the security protocols to protect sensitive data, as well as incorporate your branding and scale the system based on your evolving needs. The downside is typically accessibility. It must be installed on your servers, and your team may not be able to access content remotely.
Another deployment option to consider is an LMS app that’s either mobile or desktop-based. Learners can participate in online training activities even when they’re offline. The system automatically updates their progress when they reconnect. In the case of mobile LMS apps, employees have the opportunity to upskill and bridge knowledge gaps on the job. For example, when they’re meeting with a client and need to refresh their product know-how.
You pay a one-time fee to download the software and obtain the license from the LMS vendor. Then you get to use it in perpetuity. This also means you’re responsible for upgrades, updates, and other maintenance costs. For example, in five years you may have to purchase a replacement or newer version of the software to improve functionality. The upside is that you don’t have to pay a monthly fee (which may fluctuate over time) and you own the platform outright. Depending on the vendor’s policy, you may also have complete creative control of the software. For instance, you can modify the coding to scale the system and make it your own.
Subscription-based employee training management software involves a monthly or annual fee. So long as you keep your account current, you’re able to access the system. Typically, cloud-based solutions follow the subscription payment model. The vendor usually takes care of the software updates and notifies you when new versions are available. The catch is that the fees may go up or the vendor might add/remove features. But that flexibility also applies to your terms of ownership. For instance, you can switch to another tool if the platform no longer suits your requirements (if you’re not locked into a contract), or even add on additional users and integrations to maximize functionality.
These employee training LMS solutions are free to download. However, they include fee-based features and add-ons. If you’re content with the basic package, it may be a viable option for your organization. However, the expenses can quickly pile up if you need to unlock the additional functions. Scope out the platform to see what’s included and look for the fine print. For example, you may not want to go with a tool that watermarks everything you export or won’t allow you to incorporate your own logo. Take a test drive to experience the tool’s limitations yourself to avoid implementation delays later on.
Some organizations jump at the chance to download free employee training software. But this usually comes at a price. Open-source platforms are backed by a team of developers who offer them to the public at no charge. Their involvement usually stops there though. They may have a user community or basic FAQ. However, you still need programming knowledge to customize the tool for your L&D program. There are also maintenance costs to consider, as well as implementation times. For example, your team needs a month to get the software up and running before they can even begin content development. Or your front-end users require a few weeks to master the interface. These are all delays that take a bite out of your budget and impact workplace productivity.
Choosing the best employee training management software is an involved process that requires everyone’s input, even as early as the training needs analysis stage. However, you can minimize implementation stress by creating a budget and evaluating the needs of your L&D team. Find the pricing model and deployment type that provides the ideal balance of customization and user-friendliness while still allowing you to stretch available resources and stay within your price range.
Our directory features all the popular pricing models and deployment types, as well as narrow your search to platforms ideal for your niche and use case.
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