Alternatives to (Enter System)

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Everyone loves comparisons. I mean just today, I compared this stale muffin to a fresh muffin and debated ever so briefly, should I eat the stale muffin, because it is blueberry and I love blueberry. In the end, the dogs got it. They love blueberry too.

Well over a month ago, on LinkedIn, I started a weekly series where I would select one learning system and compare it to a few other learning systems. The interest on this series has been quite high, and thus, I felt, let’s expand it into a whole post, with updates from the original (you can always update from those on LinkedIn), and newbies as well.

Alternatives mean

I kicked off this series because I was tired of seeing all of these sites “best of” “top X” “read me rankings” where they compare a learning system to others, and list it as “alternatives” or some other nomenclature. What most people do not realize is that:

  • Overwhelmingly the people behind these sites are not experts in the learning system space, nor have any extensive knowledge of L&D, Training, etc.
  • Many are affiliated marketing links – this is where a vendor sets up an affiliate program, and folks who are affiliates make money, when you click the link on their site to go to the vendor’s site. This is more common than you think in the industry. Not every vendor does it though, and you will eventually figure out who does it a lot, by checking out the sites.

As a result of the above two factors, I felt that an expert in the space should present an “alternative” to list for some systems, so that folks have options. While some of the systems can be found in Findanlms, for you to do a more thorough comparison, there are plenty on my lists that are not.

This “Alternatives” does not mean you ditch your system or that I dislike a system, no, not at all. Rather it is saying, “if you are looking at this system, you may want to consider these..”.

How I made the selections

A couple were based on readers asking me to do so, others were simply based on requests from folks who contact me, or that I know certain vendor X competes a lot against Vendor Y, and so forth.

I never listen to vendors who tell me, “oh we compete against so and so, because we get a lot of their customers.” – That does not mean you are a competitor. There are always factors involved here, budget, feature sets, support are just a few.

With my altertantives, when I can, I will add pricing ranges – which means the following – “based on multiple user range bases (data that I have collected), this vendor overall charges lower or higher than the system of said comparison.

Remember

  1. Always conduct due diligence here
  2. When comparing, compare accordingly – in other words don’t compare a talent development platform with a talent management system, two different systems
  3. This is just from my perspective. Not Mike’s down the street. Not Analyst World America Elephants. Not your dog, although I would be interested in that. Just me based on my knowledge of the industry, markets, and so forth.

I will note that some folks who follow me on LinkedIn, will see a few and be like “repeat”, and yes, yes you are correct. But I have added some twists here, uh, well, you will see.

Lastly, the list is in no particular order, so under the “Alternative to System Name” you will see a bullet list, in no particular order. I thought about alpha, but I’m too lazy.

Each vendor will have Five to consider.

Alternatives to Docebo

  • Learn Amp – Very strong system, with lots to like, metrics vastly superior (Product Review later this week – i.e. March 18th – Think Post St.Patty’s). Employees
  • SAP Litmos – Similar in many ways. Marketplace options not as many as Docebo, but on the flip side, stronger skills development capabilities, video skills validation component, and better Admin UI/UX. Employees and Customer education competitor.
  • Absorb LMS – Another similar to Docebo, metrics and administration a slight edge over Docebo. Overall though, a worthy consideration. Employees and Customer education competitor.
  • Fuse – With a new feature set soon to be released, I think some folks are going to start paying a bit more attention on Fuse. The system taps a lot into a community angle, so a true-true UI/UX to Docebo isn’t fair. For e-commerce, Docebo has the edge – Fuse, lacks it, but when it comes to Admin, Fuse clobbers them. If you are someone who is a big fan of metrics, Fuse will impress. Employees.
  • Thought Industries – If you are eyeing Docebo for B2B/B2C, customer education, partner training, associations – then TI is the one to compare. They also have a video skills validation and digital coaching component too.

Alternatives to EdCast XP (Enterprise version to large enterprise)

  • Degreed – But only if you are planning on using Degreed as a talent development platform, which means you are also planning on buying “Opportunity” – I recommend you do. If you though think they are very similar to one another, they are and they are not. Edcast offers e-commerce, Degreed does not. EdCast can go very extensive config (pricey but doable), Degreed does configuration, but not to that level.
  • Cornerstone Learning + Develop + Content Anytime – You want the three pack here. Develop full launch is this summer, content anytime is Cornerstone’s marketplace.
  • Fuse – Yes, patterns will start to appear here. Fuse doesn’t have the level of marketplace, EdCast does, but they still have enough of a system to be in consideration.
  • CrossKnowledge Learning Suite – You want the whole thing to match to EdCast XP.
  • Thought Industries – Hello again! Once again if you are eyeing EdCast for customer education, b2b/b2c, association – worthy competitor with an asterisk. TI does not yet have a content marketplace, which you can say, okay well, they are not an alternative, well add Open Sesame to your TI platform, which is a content aggregator, and whalla they have content.

Alternative to Workday Learning

In order to use Workday Learning, you have to have Workday. However, there is an exception if you wish to offer WL to your customers, partners and so forth. In that case, you still have to have Workday, but they do not. Rather, after you purchase the “extended enterprise” add-on for Workday Learning, your customers can now access uh, WL.

Workday like SAP and Oracle would prefer you stay with their system for a smoother configuration or whatever nonsense they like to espouse. If you have the right learning system with a track record of success with one of the three, then you will be fine.

If you are using WL for your extended enterprise (aka b2b/b2c or customer education), uh, why? No seriously, why? My alternative list here is split, three for employees only, two for customers only.

  • EdCast XP – For employees here. Yes, you can slot them for customer education too, but I think the employee is a better angle here.
  • Cornerstone Learning + Develop + Content Anytime – Legit competitor. Employees
  • SkillJar – Total customer education angle here. Although nearly 50% of their audience, are employee. But, I see customer education as a more suitable alternative. Thought industries – fits here too, look at the end of the day, if you think customer education, the system that currently sits #1 in the market is Thought Industries.
  • Schoox – Employees 100% here.
  • Degreed – Employees 100% here.

Alternatives to SAP Litmos

Whenever I think SAP Litmos, three vendors come into mind, as legit competitors, but because of the strangeness that continues with SAP, in a way there is a fourth, SAP SF Learning. This is due to SAP Litmos being within the SF department (they are still two separate systems), but now SAP salespeople will sell Litmos depending on the client’s needs. For whatever reason, SAP has in the past pointed large enterprise customers to SFL rather than Litmos, even though SAP Litmos can handle them as well. I will exclude SAP SFL here, because, well, you can read the former.

  • Docebo – One of the “three that match well with each other”
  • Absorb LMS – Two of the three that match well.
  • SkillJar – Another similar system, and they are nearly 50-50 customers/employees, which again aligns into playing in both segments.
  • Raven360 – Not that known in the wide side of the industry which is a shame. They can play strong in customer education/partner training and equally with employees. If there was a vendor would go jump into the “usual bucket of suspects err vendors like” – here they are. Your welcome.
  • D2L- The corporate version. UI and UX goes to Litmos, features and functionality goes to D2L, which continues to improve. Both offer a video skills assessment component, but D2L adds to that with scenario based video learning too. D2L offers multi-tenant and e-commerce, just as SAP Litmos.

Alternatives to Degreed

Degreed is a talent development platform, which I define as (READ). You want the opportunities add-on when you purchase Degreed. The systems below are all Talent Development Platforms OR have the components to become one with an add-on that they sell.

  • EdCast – This is EdCast XP with their career mapping add-on and Domo add-on. =
  • Juno Journey – Wow. I really enjoyed this system, and I could see a learner having fun on it – I know learning and fun? The content market matches well against Degreed, and I mean very well. Degreed is IMO the top TDP, but after seeing Juno Journey (Enterprise version), they need to be in that same discussion (Product Review coming in April 2021).
  • Cornerstone Learning + Develop + Content Anytime + Careers – You need the whole package here to turn this into a TDP.
  • Schoox – Legit competitor. Very slick system. I enjoyed testing out the system, and found it to be a top tier TDP.
  • SumTotal Learning Management + Performance + Succession – To match the TDP requirements. Percipio wouldn’t hurt, but there is more than enough of Percipio like in STLM, you can hold your money and just go with the STLM+P+S

Alternatives to Talent LMS

Remember when I said there were certain vendors who use “affiliate marketing” quite a bit? Well, let’s see some alternatives to Talent LMS. I based this on the feature sets, UI/UX, and price – since many vendors in the industry know that Talent LMS is at a lower cost than say you buying SAP Litmos with the same seat requirements.

Talent LMS will be launching a major update this year. These listings are based on current version of the system you see as of 3-15-21.

  • Knowledge Anywhere – I like this system, it can do quite a bit, including e-commerce, and while its UI/UX may not match Talent LMS, feature wise it matches and beats it.
  • MATRIX – UI/UX is better on the MATRIX side, features are similar, although MATRIX might have a slight lead.
  • The Brainier – Lots of functionality and capabilities. UI/UX is on Talent LMS side.
  • SmarterU – Legit competitor.
  • eLearning Brothers – They are not there yet, but if you are willing to ride the wave, then this Rockstar (uh it is is the name of the platform) will eventually match and likely surpass Talent LMS. They are really brand new.

Talent LMS vs Docebo LMS

On many of these sites, Talent shows up as an alternative to Docebo. Here is my take:

Honestly, Docebo is a far better system, but I see so many of these alternative sites compare them to Talent LMS, that after I stop laughing, I start to ponder. Okay, not really.

Price wise, Talent LMS is likely going to come in far lower than Docebo, especially once you pass 5,000 users. So the affordable angle can be tossed aside. And did I mention, Docebo is a better system?

Docebo has more feature sets, capabilities, and okay, like nearly everything compared to Talent LMS. And Talent LMS is a solid system, but it is not at the level of Docebo. Maybe SkyPrep. Okay, SkyPrep.

Alternatives to any system I have thought of

Random Lists, from one to three alternatives, and no, there is no reason on why only one is listed versus three.

Alternative to SAP SuccessFactors Learning

  • SAP Litmos – HA!
  • Cornerstone Learning + Content Anytime
  • EdCast XP

Best alternative to Totara Learn and Totara Engage

  • Learning Pool – They have their own system, so no more Totara Partner thing , buy LP and Add Stream LXP (owned by Learning Pool) – Now you have a legit threat to Totara Learn and Engage

Alternative to Brainshark (Brainshark is a Sales Enablement Platform)

  • Spoke – They are getting ready to bring out a new version with Hub360 (their SEP) and a digital coaching feature set too.

Alternative to Crowd Wisdom

After my latest viewing of Crowd Wisdom, I see that it has a lot of potential, especially if they can grab an audience that goes beyond just the folks using the association management platform by Community Brands. Crowd Wisdom is the key player in the association market, one that is gaining a lot of interest from vendors across the board. That said, here are two today that truly worthy alternatives

  • CourseStage – CEO is a Packers fan, but besides that, this is a very good system for the association market
  • D2L – My #1 association learning system for 2021, a lot to like for associations, trade too (most folks only know of professional)

Alternatives to LinkedIn Learning

Who says we have to stick with learning systems. Sure LL is one, but they are also a content provider to other learning system vendors (i.e. vendor has LL in their content marketplace)

Here are three alternatives who do the same thing (i.e. access direct on their system, and offers themselves or their library to other vendors)

  • GO1 – Nearly half of their audience accesses the platform directly, that’s too high IMO, as this is a legit content aggregator and its strength frankly
  • Biz Library – They have an LMS, and are building a skills platform to launch sometime in 2021, they also have content – their own and a few other providers
  • Skillsoft – I debated with them honestly. I mean yes you can buy Percipio and yes you can buy Skillsoft content and get Percipio, but if you go to the marketplace of a vendor and see Skillsoft, is it really Percipio? You be the judge.

Bottom Line

In the eighties, us Gen Xers knew we were onto something. It wasn’t Dad’s rock, nor the seventies easy listening rock, it was what we called New Wave. That wave today is referred to as alternative rock.

Well each of my alternatives listed above, are legit alternatives to the system they are compared to. Not because of affiliate marketing, nor web clicks.

Rather on concrete information.

And analysis.

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