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Buying vs. Building an LMS


Organizations take a lot of considerations into account with regards to whether they should build a learning management system (LMS) in-house, or buy LMS software and customize it for their training purposes. There are many reasons why an organization might choose one over the other. On one side, there is the process of developing everything needed, ensuring that the platform fully fits the look and the usage of the company, while on the other hand there is the cost-effective method of finding an LMS that will be able to fit an organization’s needs. When deciding whether to build or buy an LMS, there are several things to consider when deciding what best suits your company’s needs.

Here are some of the questions that you should be asking:  


Does the Purchased LMS Meet My Business Requirements? 

The LMS you buy should meet at least 80% of your required functionality. If there are a lot of features that your company needs in order to do your online training effectively, look at another software provider or consider building your own. An important element of this is comparing the list of features and functions offered and evaluating each with a weighting of importance. Look for flexibility in the purchased LMS ensuring room for customizations and white labeling.


How Much Does It Cost?

Once you find an LMS that meets most, if not all, of your company’s requirements, evaluate the cost. Calculate how much it will cost you to build a custom-made LMS from scratch. Figure out what is required to design and develop an LMS – do you have the resources? After analyzing the costs required, determine whether it makes sense for your company to build a custom LMS.


What Are the Pros and Cons? 

One advantage of a purchased LMS is greater predictability with the overall time it takes to implement. Since there are less factors that affect the implementation process, it is faster to set up. If pressured for time, a purchased LMS leaves more time to develop your actual training as opposed to dealing with the technicalities. Building an LMS in-house leads to higher costs, as dedicated development, project management, and support activities are required. These support activities also require a lot of extra time.


Lastly, each project must have its risks and implementation procedure evaluated. For some organizations, building an LMS in-house, despite the higher cost and risk, will have better results, while for others, purchasing is the better option as the chosen LMS can meet their core capability requirements. Also, many organizations simply don’t have the money, resources, or time to build a custom LMS, regardless of how necessary they think it is.


Simply put, the best solution can be found after doing extensive planning and research to find which option is best for your organization. Also, remember that many LMS companies offer custom features built specifically for you, albeit at an extra cost.



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