Each enterprise has different types of employees, and in turn, each of them has varying training needs. Training your employees is important but other aspects of the enterprise depend on training too. You would like to teach your buyers about your service and product. Your distributor partners may need to grasp the selling process more thoroughly. This is your extended enterprise. A report by Aberdeen group on the extended enterprise reported that companies that concentrated their training activities solely within the enterprise had reported a 5% year-over-year rise in sales per Full-Time Equivalent (FTE). Those that had some form of training services geared towards their clients or associates reported a 7% higher sales growth per FTE. But those that saw the best impact- the companies with structured training and learning systems for both clients and associates saw sales increases at 9% year-over-year per FTE. So, how to reach this extended audience with their varied needs for training? Each category looks at training for different purposes. The experience that each demands is different. So, of course, is the content that they need. And you need to do this quickly and efficiently while making sure the whole process remains uncomplicated. This is where organizations turn to tools and technologies. Tools like the LMS. The LMS becomes the platform for delivering the training. A fully-functional LMS could be commonly utilized by the human resource departments as the centralized platform to manage the resources for education. Apart from managing the training resources and the courses, the LMS becomes responsible for user management, access permissions, role definition, etc. But this is just the start. LMS’ are hard to implement. They take time to customize. It’s sometimes expensive to add users. It isn’t always easy for the functional folks to understand how to use the LMS. Security becomes hard to implement when user management becomes a complex mesh. Perhaps you see where this is going? What happens when the would-be trainers from the areas of sales, customer support, channel management, or finance and compliance look around for a resource for goal-oriented training purposes? Unless all these disparate teams and departments under an enterprise agree to and devise workable protocols to work together, it will inevitably result in numerous LMS’ making their way into the same enterprise. Each will become a little enclave in itself. Data silos, duplication of course creation work, complex transitions for users, inconsistent user experiences, and chaos will ensue.
Doesn’t sound plausible?
Well, we’ve worked closely with one of the best-known technology companies in the world that has no fewer than 40 LMS’ working hard to deliver training across their extended enterprise. This is not smart. Of course, there are alternatives.
Practicing a wide spectrum approach to training and learning programs is doable. An expanded enterprise LMS is a resource to solve the education and training demands of multiple groups under one program. These are generally known as multi-tenancy LMSs, meaning you can break the LMS into separate, smaller LMS ‘portals’.
A portal is a web-based gateway to the LMS program, which the users can gain access to for their training requirements. With registration and signing in, they can gain access to their own accounts and would be able to consume the training sessions they signed up for. LMS portals can be arranged according to precedence or in a hierarchical order. This hierarchical order allows you to create further new subsections under the parent portal with new training courses for various individualized or nuanced aspects of the enterprise as appropriate. By designing each parent or subsection training portal to fit the user, you can optimize for their specific experience. If you are targeting external customers, this is critical. For instance, when you are educating consumers or onboarding them to your products and services you would want to show your brand in the best possible way.
The big problem
So, it would appear that you don’t need 40 LMS’s to drive training needs. But, is adopting a new system so easy? Perhaps no. The key challenge in all these approaches is connections. How to get the required information about users into the LMS from the disparate business systems? How to provide insights about training effectiveness across systems and programs to the business? How to map the impact of the training and feed that back into the training content when that impact will only be reflected in other business systems like CRM’s or distributor assessment reports? These are all formidable problems to solve. So, if the premise is that you don’t need to have multiple LMS’ to accomplish the numerous training related issues for your company then you must look to address the connectivity problem. Custom integrations are hard to make calling for a range of technology skills that are often above the pay-grade of business users. They take time to develop and are clunky and messy to maintain. Clearly, building custom connectors every time an integration is needed is not a scalable option for an enterprise faced with an array of business, learning, and performance management systems. There has to be a simpler way to spin out connectors if the scary vision of 40 LMS’ has to be dispelled.