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Leaving the evaluation solely to either the IT or Business teams

By Stephen Nunn (SumTotal), Indresh Chauhan (Sify), KC Rajkumar (Sify)

Evaluating and selecting a learning platform or learning management system (LMS) can be challenging, especially if it is something new to you. Even when you want to update or replace an existing system, your perspectives and expectations may be prejudiced by your prior experiences. For both situations, you need to identify your needs, improve the evaluation process and avoid pitfalls (or “Sins”) while doing so. In this article, we start with Sin #7 and work our backward to the most important one to avoid.

Sin #7– Leaving the evaluation solely to either the IT or Business teams

The first thing to avoid is only asking questions about cloud versus on-premises, security, integrations, migrations, third-party apps, etc. Don’t forget the business processes and workflows are just as important, if not more.

Early on, there should be a formalized governance committee established with representatives from all invested and impacted departments and teams.

Two examples here:

  1. Too often business owners will go out on their own to research and engage with vendors. This may be a very lengthy evaluation process where all their use cases and scenarios are very clearly defined; and the vendor may meet those requirements extremely well and everyone is excited. However, the final signoff is typically the IT department who either might be responsible for maintaining the solution or who just needs to sign off on whether the solution meets all corporate security requirements. This alone can immediately kill the deal should they uncover something that does not meet their specific criteria, and ultimately be the cause of many wasted hours on both sides.
  2. Conversely, the IT team may be leading the evaluation and determines that the solution meets all their specific needs but is not fully involving the business owners until much later in the evaluation process. So again, a huge disconnect happens that can negatively impact the evaluation process.

Therefore, having a governance committee made up of the business owners, IT, the marketing department, end users (including individual contributors and managers), admins, and supported by executive leadership will help to ensure that the evaluated solution meets the needs of everyone earlier on. It will also help with a more seamless evaluation process and experience, and also the overall implementation, as most everything will have been discussed and planned out well in advance.

Who should lead the governance council or committee? Since solutions like LMS or HCM have a strong people or human resources focus, it is advisable to have someone (such as the head of HR) lead the evaluation process with inputs from various departments, IT, procurement, & legal.

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    Indresh Chauhan
    Indresh Chauhan,AVP at Sify eLearning

    In helping Learning Development leaders gain clarity on how to make the most efficient use of training dollars to improve performance, morale, and business results Indresh brings industry best practices and design-thinking in eLearning and Instructor Led Training (ILT). His expertise is most useful to Fortune 1000 companies that have multiple product lines in highly competitive markets. With thousands of employees and customers across geographies - their success or failure depends upon the "human" performance.

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