SWITCHING AN LMS?
An experienced LMS user—someone who understands its role in creating an organization-wide culture of training and development—knows the importance of selecting the right LMS the second time around. The importance of user experience for both administrators and learners cannot be underestimated.
WHY SWITCH TO A NEW LMS?
As an existing user, it’s important to consider your current experience in managing LMSes before opting to switch to a new one. Determining the reason to switch LMSes helps in identifying a successor. Do you have a business problem that your current LMS isn’t solving? Are there any ‘must-have’ features that your current LMS is missing? Is there a major reason why your learners aren’t benefitting (for example, poor UI/UX or the lack of an offline mobile app)?
The shortcomings of your existing system, the experiencing of working with an LMS for a few years, and a shortlist of the features that you lack in your current LMS helps makes the process of switching easier until you find the right fit vs. finding the right LMS the first time around.
SWITCHING TO A FUTURE-PROOFED LMS
The time and effort required to select, migrate user data, courses, and reports from the old LMS, and the cost of implementing a new system often reiterates the fact that an LMS is a long-term investment. It is integral for the selected LMS to be future-proofed and stay relevant for an extended period.
SOME MUST-HAVE FEATURES IN A MODERN LMS
Training should be accessible while on-the-go.
Smartphones, tablets, iPads, and laptops—all devices should be supported.
A clutter-free interface and easy navigation is essential for good user experience while looking futuristic for years to come.
POWERFUL REPORTING MECHANISMS
Learners should be able to upload videos, audio, and other supported files of their learning, while the administrators assess the overall outcome of the training.
The LMS should be able to integrate and communicate with third-party systems, transferring useful information with regard to changes, additions, and deletions of data commonly shared by these systems.
CREATING A DATA MIGRATION PLAN
An LMS data migration plan must be created which involves migrating users, courses, and reports.
When switching an LMS, a system which readily accepts user data, existing course material, and reports is a good option. This saves you the time and energy required to manually enter user data or bear additional costs to re-create courses. Ensuring a smooth transition of legacy courseware helps in recycling useful content from the existing system while setting up the new LMS with ready-to-go content.
It is important to migrate only that data, which is critical to your training and development initiatives since the transfer of unrequired data will make the new LMS a sluggish platform.
THREE APPROACHES TO DATA MIGRATION
LIMITED DATA MIGRATION
Focus on existing user data and courses and find a way to access old course records and certificates via a data export. This would probably be the fastest and cheapest route.
FULL DATA MIGRATION
Add user data or switch API integration from your existing LMS to your new LMS. Upload courses to the new LMS and integrate old reports natively within the new LMS for seamless reporting. This takes more time and may involve data integration costs.
HYBRID DATA MIGRATION
This is the middle ground where you bring in users and courses and find a way to access and retrieve your legacy reports within the existing system without full seamless integration. Your legacy report formats will show up in the format of your old LMS database structures vs. the new one, but you can access it within your new LMS. Moderate costs can be expected with this approach.
When it comes to migrating data from the existing system, it is important to ask your current vendor on how they plan to help you. At the same time, it is vital to discuss data importing options with your new vendor. See which of the three options is right for you.
SELECTING THE RIGHT VENDOR
Often, organizations find themselves working with vendors who are very rigid in what they will and won’t do. Poor vendor support forces organizations to switch their LMS. These LMS companies aren’t keen on customers below a certain size, and even if you do get onto their system, they may offer you very little with regard to after-sales support.
Often many customers choose a ‘vanity vendor’. The brand name has the right tassels, but they may not value or care for a client of a small size or transaction value, and may aspire to work with only the Fortune 100 only. Who is the vendor that is right for your organization?
If you find yourself in such a situation, it results in you buying and paying for an LMS over which you have very little control. Even worse, they consider you too small to address your queries and support needs. Moreover, the licensing model based on which you are charged isn’t flexible or economically viable.
Carrying out a detailed background check on the vendor’s after-sales and support services is an excellent way to safeguard yourself from future hassles.
WHAT YOUR NEW VENDOR SHOULD HAVE
CUSTOMER SUCCESS TEAMS
This is a team which ensures your new LMS is a success.
Looks for strong customer support that doesn’t consider you too small to address regular issues.
FLEXIBLE AND ECONOMIC LICENSING MODEL
Look for flexible licensing plans which make your LMS an economically viable system to use and implement.
SUPPORT FOR DATA-MIGRATION
Your vendor should be willing to give you a realistic plan with your data migration needs. This is an excellent way to gauge if you are on the right path with selecting the right vendor.
By considering these factors while switching an LMS, you, as an organization, can ensure the same mistakes aren’t repeated with your new system.