Advice and guidance on how to manage IT projects to successful outcomes can be found in many places, and support from experienced and trusted IT partners should be sought for complex projects or when internal expertise is not at hand.
Selecting and implementing the right Learning & Knowledge Management software contains some unique aspects and criteria - in this paper we will look at the most important of these factors.
What you should NOT do when choosing & implementing your Learning & Knowledge Management software
To preempt the many common mistakes organizations make when selecting and implementing Learning Management Software (LMS), here are a few tips on what to avoid:
- Don’t consider LMS as an ‘IT Systems Purchase’: Many organizations (especially in Thailand) look primarily at the technical IT specifications and requirements when selecting the software. While technical criteria are certainly an important factor, this can be a dangerous distraction from the main reason to introduce such a system…which is to make the right learning and knowledge easily available at the right time, and independent of the knowledge that comes and goes with people. As an organization, you don’t need to be particularly IT savvy, but you need to be exceptionally clear about your learning and performance outcomes.
- Don’t delegate ‘digging deeper’ to an unqualified person or to the IT department: For the same reasons explained above, the task to work out the exact requirements of the system should not left to someone insufficiently qualified for this task, or to an IT person whose focus and expertise is only technical. Instead, select someone who has the skills, relationship and imagination to map out the learning & knowledge requirements for LMS functionality.
- Don’t sign an order before a “full trial access”: Any system considered for purchase should be tested rigorously, technically, functionally, and from a holistic integration, stakeholder and end-user point of view. This is possible only with a so-called ‘full trial access’, where you the customer are given access to a fully functional trial version of the product. Most vendors will allow you such access, for a pre-defined period or with some other time-bound element. Such a trial period needs be used to test the system systematically and rigorously. Naturally you won’t be able to trial each and every potential aspect but it will give bring you a whole lot closer to a realistic view on the tools potential and match to your requirements, and will serve to compare tools to each other.
- Do not leave the planning & thinking to the vendor: often organizations assume that that Thailand vendors will take care of every possible need or eventuality. Certainly the vendor should be experienced enough with the product to answer important questions honestly and critically, but not all vendors have the in-depth experience or the interest to help you maximize the success if your LMS decision. They also do not know the unique ins and outs of your business and processes. So the task of scoping and describing your requirements as detailed as possible, to identify the required customizations, work-arounds or LMS limitations is by and large up to you, the customer. Ideally this task must be completed before the vendor gets involved, so that the two parties can have some healthy conversations about your requirements and about the capability of the software. By being prepared and by sharing your well-defined requirements this way you will maximize the opportunity for making the vendor a more capable and supportive partner in this undertaking.
What you SHOULD do
There are a few critical actions an organization must take and questions to answer before choosing the right LMS.
- Take stock of your current & future needs: What are the managerial and leadership goals for the Learning Management System? How many employees will use, benefit or be affected by the system, now and in the future? To what extent will trainings and classes be conducted online or in a classroom format?
- Research both the system AND the vendor first: What is the vendor’s reputation? Are they successful with offering this and other systems? Are the willing and experienced to customize your system and in what ways? Can the vendor estimate how long it will take to build the system, make it available to users and go live with it? How easy is the data transfer to the system? And don’t forget to walk through the ‘standard user experience’ with guidance from the vendor.
Download this articles as whitepaper HERE.