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Investing In A LMS 6 Questions To Ask

What to ask yourself before investing in an LMS

The LMS fulfills several roles in every company. They use it to develop online training materials, but it also serves administrative functions. You can use your LMS for office task tracking, new employee onboarding, personnel record maintenance, and employee appraisal. If you end on the wrong one, it is an expensive mistake to undo it. Don’t just rush to find “free” options. You may not need anything out of your pocket now, but in the long run you often have a lot of hidden expenses. Also, find out if you can do a test run before investing in an LMS. Here are 6 more queries you can ask.

6 Crucial Pre-Purchase Questions for LMS Buyers

1. Why do I have to invest in an LMS at all?

This may seem like an obvious question, but it’s an important one. Do you have any money left in your budget? Is the IT crew hurrying to spend the surplus at the end of the fiscal year? Do you currently have an LMS and what’s wrong with it? Is it a new management option that you just considered? Are there cheaper ways to achieve the same goals? If you don’t have a clear why, you’ll be shopping in circles. You need to conduct a training needs assessment to find out why you are investing in a learning management system in the first place. Even if it is a reasonable effort right now. Could it be that all you have to do is upgrade your existing platform or buy add-ons to maximize its functionality?

2. What is the purpose of the new system?

This is slightly different from the previous questions. It assumes that you have made the decision and that investing in an LMS has been seen as a worthwhile expense. But what exactly do you want to do with it? We’ve already mentioned some of its features, here are a few more. Compliance modules, online reference libraries, remote access, multiplatform compatibility, certification and gamification options. You may need e-commerce functionality, in-house analytics, integrated data linking, or branding skills.

3. Where is it hosted?

The most popular deployment methods are self-installed and cloud-based. With a cloud-based LMS, all you have to do is log in and access it from anywhere. However, you need to check that it allows mobile logins. If some of your employees are working away from the office, you should also confirm that the LMS is working offline. There are certain features that may need to be accessed when internet is not available. Then there are self-hosted systems that require you to download the software and keep it on your own servers. These generally allow for greater customization, but this requires an in-house setup and maintenance team. At the other extreme, if you buy an open source module, you have to buy a separate hosting package for it. These can get quite expensive and have built-in limits. Check the available bandwidth and the number of users your web host can accommodate.

4. How much am I ready and willing to spend?

Some purchasing teams will start with this question, but there’s a reason it’s so far down. Just getting estimates of the ballpark is not helpful as you will be selecting candidates without the full picture. You could take some out of the running without knowing why they are so expensive. Or you can shortlist cheap ones with no other criteria. Start with your technical list of must-haves. Then you can leave out software that lacks these features, no matter how tempting the price. Also, if you can, you should also do a free trial before investing in an LMS to make sure it actually includes the features listed.

5. How much time and money am I willing to spend on LMS maintenance?

Software updates fall into different categories. Are there any industry-specific developments that need to be taken into account? This may require updates to features and content. Has your operating system been updated? It may no longer work well with your LMS, causing glitches and crashes. Does your cache need to be cleared manually or are there bug fixes to close loopholes and vulnerabilities? Will your LMS provider provide these updates itself, and if so, what are the costs? Can your in-house team do the upgrades? Do they have the skills or the time to do so? Make sure you know how to handle it before investing in a learning management system.

6. Is the LMS supported by a reliable provider?

It’s not just the system that you need to consider, but the LMS provider behind it if you want to maximize value for money. Check out LMS providers by reading reviews from previous users, evaluating reviews, and scheduling a meeting with your shortlist. They should also evaluate their support services and the overall customer experience. Will they work with you to set the system up and make sure every member of your team knows how to use it? Are there at least tutorials and other online resources to help you master the features and explore the features? You need to invest in an LMS that is industry proven to avoid buyer’s regrets.


Your LMS is a great investment, both in terms of money and work ethic. Ask the right questions to guide your decision. Start with why you want an LMS in the first place. A clearly defined reason will shape your purchase. Think about the specific tasks you need to do and how much you can afford. Consider hosting it in the cloud or buying a server. Find out how much (if any) maintenance your LMS needs and whether your IT department can handle it. Estimate whether any third-party upgrade is required and confirm the cost. Upgrading your system could be an exorbitant amount of work that you didn’t plan on.

Now that you know what questions to ask, start building your own shortlist of LMS candidates. Our online directory features the top platforms to help you find the right software for your business based on features, deployment type, and pricing model.


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