I talk a lot in my previous posts about the choice between buying and building an LMS, and this time I’d like to consider a slightly simpler but equally important decision- when should you consider switching your LMS versus sticking with what you already have?
To start with, there must be a reason to consider change in the first place. Perhaps your requirements have changed, or the products now available offer features that were not possible when you made your initial selection.
There are three main steps in making this choice:
Step One: As always the first thing to do is to very clearly define your requirements. What business objectives do you need to achieve that cannot be supported by your current solution? Are there other benefits driving you to switch, such as usability benefits or better reporting? It may be that the decision is being forced on you because your current solution is no longer available, developed or supported.
Step Two: Given the requirements that you have defined in step one, what options are available to you? Can you meet your requirements by making configuration changes or limited customizations to your current solution? Is there a newer version of your current solution that would meet your requirements if you upgraded? Is there an alternative solution that would meet your requirements?
Step Three: You need to make a full comparison of the benefits, risks and costs of each option identified at step two. This should be just as thorough as the process you would follow to select an LMS in the first place. There are also some additional things to consider, some of which apply whether you’re upgrading or changing platforms and some which are only relevant if you’re changing suppliers.
What impact will this have on users? If they are familiar with your current system is there a risk that they will not respond well to a change? Will you need to spend time and money making the new system more like the old system? Will there be a significant need for training, and if so, how will it be addressed?
What about your existing data? If you’ve been using your current system for any length of time the chances are you have a lot of training data and you need to decide what to do with it. Do you need all of it to be imported into the new solution? If so, the cost of bringing this into a new system may be more than upgrading what you currently have. Be realistic about whether legacy data really needs to be imported into the new solution or if some of it can be stored elsewhere.
What about the relationship you have with your current supplier? This can often be a key factor in the decision-making process and can, and often should, be given greater priority than time and cost (within reason!). If you have a poor relationship with your existing supplier, that’s a pretty good indication that it’s time to move on. On the other hand, a good relationship that has taken time to develop is worth maintaining.
What might make you switch away from your current solution, or encourage you to look for a new one? Comment below and share your story.