Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Is LMS a corporate competency?

I've recently had a number of conversations with some corporate L&D leaders where we've been debating the ability of large organisations to effectively implement and manage enterprise LMSs. I say debate, but most of the time they have been lamenting their organisations inability to "do LMS things properly". That's not to say that they weren't serious about it - they were very earnest in their procurement processes with requirements documents and business cases coming out of their ears. In fact, to mix my metaphors, they were struggling to see the woods for the trees (or at least the printed ITT responses!).

This prompted me back to some research we did a couple of years ago, when we questioned the approaches and skills/expertise that many large organisations were applying to their enterprise LMS projects. (click here for the original article). In this we highlighted a number of common failings, many of which are still true today.

  • Large corporates, particularly in the UK and Europe, are generally too slow in embracing LMSs and too limited in their aspiration for them. For large organisations, LMSs are fundamental to enabling a viable and sustainable future for corporate learning.

  • Many corporate LMS implementations are too focused on reducing the admin burden and not sufficiently focused on enabling the business to meet its future challenges.

  • LMS decisions are often plagued by corporate politics, poor organisational alignment and a lack of strategic understanding and vision, resulting in long and expensive procurement processes with a limited chance of delivering real value.

  • Corporates struggle with a lack of skilled implementation resources and poor support , focusing too heavily on technology, and insufficiently on process and cultural change.
How many of them would you recognise from your organisation or customers today???


mklofurno said...

David I see where your views are coming from but here at SyberWorks, Inc. we work with our customers each step of the way for rexcellent results. We have had many successes in the past and you can even listen to them on our podcasts in our Online Media Center. While I can see how your views can occur our trained staff will always put forth their best to satisfy the customer anyway neccesary.

David Wilson said...

I hear what you say, and I am sure you do have successful customers using your systems (as does every LMS vendor), but that's not my point. For all the good intent and expertise of a good supplier, they still need the corporate to play ball ... or more than that, to be understand what they really want and to execute against that in a consistent way. Unfortunately this doesn't often happen, and often the vendors can do little to change it.

Our research still shows that many corporate projects lack depth of understanding and experience at the strategic level, and result in poor decisions, a lack of resources at the critical periods, and a strong tendancy not to learn from best practice or prior experience.

I sat in a couple of interesting discussions at Elliot Masie's LMS 2007 event in Vegas. One with a group of vendors who all described their ability to work effectively with customers and to always get successful outcomes. The other was with a group of corporates who were all on or moving to at least their second (and frequently third LMS), only one of which claimed to happy to completely satisfied with their LMS implementation. Spot the difference?

We see and hear comments about vendor inadequacies frequently, but very little comment on how poor the customer can be sometimes. The point of targetting corporates in this piece was to balance up the discussion.

Scott said...

For me LSM implementation and the difficulties encountered are much the same as other HR related transformations. A recent study highlighted some of the issues - which I am sure we have all seen many times in client. Here is a summary on my blog:


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