This is part two, of the series – Out with the old LMS into the new.
Methods to find a new BFF LMS
- Identify specifics of what you need – create a list, including pricing if that is a concern, plus whatever else is a concern. Make sure you have a realistic list because “Super Person” LMS may not fully exist, although they all claim they do.
- Start searching out LMS vendors that meet the list criteria, specifically the ones you must have/otherwise they are deal breakers.
- To find a list, options include subscribing to the Brandon Hall Research Center, which contains 118 LMSs, including synopsis and details; Google search by typing in “LMS directory’ – go to Business.com and search within there, do your due diligence in what you want. Example: Social Learning. Type “Social learning LMS” in your search engine or “Social Learning” in your search engine and start going into the pages and not just looking at page one.
- Once you identify your LMS potentials, you can create a RFP or RFI with specific details you need and additional information on the company, etc. This document does not have to be 20 pages, it can be as short as two pages. You identify the date you need them back by, who to contact at your company – which is you – for additional questions, and how they are to send back the RFP/RFI.
- Some people will tell you to find out their financial information, but be realistic here – no one is going to open up their books for you to verify that they are going to be there next week or they are about to be bought out – which happens.
- I love it when they say, “We have been in this space for 10 years” as though that means something. For all I know you are about to be bought out by someone else. Do you think you will tell me or that you are going bankrupt?
- Ignore the RFP/RFI official process, and seek them out on your own: You know what you want, so find them, however – “Require a live demo” and ask your questions.
- Do not see a taped webinar. Follow up with an email of questions – you will probably have some after they have answered your original ones, since more tend to pop-up, especially if you see other vendors. In this option, I select my top four, then narrow down.
What if they offer me lots of new features or promises to stay on?
Remember you are leaving them for a reason or multiple reasons, so why would you want to stay on, especially if you are fed up with them and their services. Who is to say that they will make significant changes and honor them, since they may have mislead you at the beginning (common, BTW – and a reason people often want out of there).
The LMS vendor will either say, “Stay with us and we will blah blah” OR “Ok. I understand, after you explain to them why you want out.”
You do not have to tell them anything on why you leave. A significant portion of the LMS vendors you are leaving, will have their VP of Sales or whomever at that level call you to see what they can do. Here is your time to complain or again, just say I want out and leave it at that.
Go Live with your new LMS
You want the switch to be as painless as possible, hence final Q/A. So the day your contract ends, the next day or morning you are Live with your new LMS. Make sure you make this clear in your contract with the new LMS. You will not start paying or you want the invoice to identify that the start date is X., and not the date you signed the agreement – VERY IMPORTANT. Leverage is fun and you can often get your new BFF to grant you 45 days or 60 days before the first invoice.
How do I get my money back, with my current LMS if I signed a multi-year deal and paid up front?
Have them pay you back. They have to, unless in the contract you have it written that you forfeited the money to them. Some vendors will pro-rate for you, depending on your switch out date -i.e. you do not want to wait until the contract renew date – I personally wouldn’t recommend this. Pro-rate can be deadly for you, since vendors who amazingly send out their invoices on time and if you were late called you, tend to enjoy the angle that you have to chase them for the $$$.
New Features Coming Soon
1. A 30 second demo from the up and coming LMS providers, highlighting key features of their system. This is not a marketing or sales pitch angle, and that has been made clear to the vendors.
2. Documents you can download containing API information, Social media sites – by category, Other search engines you can use
3. Dreamweaver Killers – They exist and best of all 99% won’t cost you a dime – this will be a separate page on my blogs
One Final Note: I believe that as more LMS vendors push heavily into the Social Learning/Social media space (since they are intertwined), a new category should exist: Social Learning Management Systems.
It makes sense, since there are LMS vendors out there who have a good LMS, but have significant features and capablities with social media, thus social learning; compared to other vendors who have social learning, but frankly it is not a strong capability nor push within their LMS.
Examples: Topyx LMS and Upside LMS should be in this new space, Cornerstone – no – since their features have not matched those – especially Upside LMS, even with their top of the line package.
Next week: The truth about open source LMSs (example Moodle) – What you need to know before heading down that path