A Learning Management System is one of the most important tools for company growth and honing the employees’ skill set today. However, choosing the right LMS as per your set budget is not exactly the easiest task.
Identifying how much you can spend on a new LMS is only half of the equation. Narrowing down your must-have LMS features, licensing types, hosting options and determining if there are any hidden fees can be a time-consuming task, especially with hundreds of options available in the market.
So, to make sure you don’t end up paying for things you don’t even need, let’s look at which LMS cost considerations you should keep in mind when making the buying decision.
1. What kind of LMS do you need?
It’s the features of an LMS that form the main cost in a budget. It’s an investment that reaps sustainable and long term benefits for the company training and for the purpose of expanding the employee’s interest to learn.
Among the many options that are available in the market today, it can get quite overwhelming to pick out the best one for your organisation and its employees. However, streamlining the necessary features that your LMS absolutely needs is bound to facilitate your decision.
There are a few must-haves while choosing the correct LMS that you can keep in mind, like the functionality of the LMS and its features that aid the training without extra funds spent on it. It should also possess versatility to adapt to the company goals and user feedback and not remain rigid. Ease of usage is always an advantage as everyone can use it efficiently.
Different LMSs offer different features and specializations; you need to choose according to the needs and goals of your organization.
2. Set up fees
This is charged by the LMS vendor to install & configure the system. Simply purchasing the LMS isn’t the end of it but its correct installation into the prevailing systems of the company is what’s important.
The price varies, based on the LMS type, special features purchased and add-ons. Your LMS might cost you a certain amount but you also need to consider the costs of installation and added features like extra storage and in-app purchases. These charges are usually levied as a one-time amount or can also be a periodic installment.
You can choose from the various hosting options of self-hosting, cloud-hosting or SaaS. Self-hosting gives the company direct control of all the ongoing proceedings while also giving them the power to customize the features according to the company policies. Though, in the long run, self-hosting can get costly for the company.
Cloud-based hosting, on the other hand, requires you to pay a lump sum amount and offers you all the features. It also helps with storage by freeing up space from the company’s hard drives.
SaaS, however, helps one scale back their subscription needs according to the company’s benefits and outlines instead of having you pay for an LMS without customizations.
4. Licensing fee
Some vendors charge licensing fees; this varies from vendor to vendor. Before selecting the LMS, you need to check if the vendor charges licensing fees or not.
You also need to check if there is a licensing agreement and if so, what is the cost and frequency of payment. The payment here may be a one-time payment or a periodic cost.
Another thing you need to know is how many users can access the LMS as per the licensing agreement. Is there a particular limit on how many users can access it or is it unlimited? Such questions need to be identified and answered before selecting the LMS.
5. Integration, Maintenance, And Upgrades
It’s important to confirm with the vendor if the LMS integrates smoothly with the different software you’re using in your organization. The higher the compatibility, the lower the overall cost may be, as one may not need to make extra changes for integration.
The maintenance of your LMS can be overseen by either the vendor or your IT department. If your organization is set to deal with the maintenance and upgrades, you need to determine if the IT department can handle the burden and combat any problems that might occur.
6. User Training & Customer Support
Another factor to determine here is finding out if there’s training available for the LMS and how much it will cost. Moreover, it is also imperative to consider the necessary ongoing support throughout the life of the LMS.
Depending on the LMS vendor, there may be a separate service charge for the customer service. This could be a flat rate, or per request, and hence, one needs to do their homework on the training and customer support.
The availability of customer support is also a factor to consider – whether there is a 24×7 support team or is it available only during certain hours of the day.
Most often reports, social media integration add-ons are requested but there are many different add-ons available like Office365, Big Blue Button and many more, each with different charges.
You also need to be aware of all the different add-ons the LMS can handle and the charges for the same before you make a decision for choosing the LMS for your organisation.
Over to You
You see? It is so important to do your thorough homework regarding all the small and large factors that come with buying an LMS and the costs they incur. You should strategically make a decision according to your budget and constraints. By comparing the pros and cons of several LMSs and their offerings, you can determine what’s best for your organisation and of course, the set budget.