Tuesday, July 08, 2008

LMS - In or Out? Are you re-considering your hosting arrangements?

With the trend towards software as a service increasing its momentum, what is happening in the world of Learning Management Systems?

Corporate cost reduction pressures are increasing by the hour, the value chain and outsourcing is increasingly making learning solutions stretch beyond the immediate boundaries of internal corporate networks. Materials need to be available to partners and even customers. More often than not, they now need to be accessible 24/7 from a mobile, always ON and agile employee base.

So, are these pressures really translating themselves into fresh thinking in your e-learning team about your LMS? Or, have you already made the switch from internally to externally hosted to enable this to happen?

If you have, we'd love to hear your thoughts and reflections about making the transition and the challenges you’re continuing to face.


mike said...

I'm in the middle of a big LMS implementation and I lobbied hard for an externally hosted system but lost the battle. Their logic was that our internal resources have a cheaper hourly rate - but what they fail to realize is that when they repeatedly spend 3x the number of hours on the same problem they actually cost MORE. And that's after you jump through all the IT hoops to even be able to talk to them in the fist place which is much less responsive than the vendor would be.

That plus the factors you mentioned put me very squarely on the side of hosted solutions. In my case not everyone else is there yet.

David Perring said...


I think you've raised a critical point here about the competence of internal IT groups to adequately support specialist tools.

Most IT groups have neither the willingness or skills to deliver the levels of expertise you really need. Most good hostings provide 99.9% uptime 24/7. I've never seen that matched by an internal IT group. It's not their bread and butter and you usually have to survive on best endeavours, which is fine up until there's the hard deadline of a product or systems launch.

Internal IT rarely provide you with the depth of resourcing levels you'd expect from a contractual agreement. And they are often going into unchartered territory when it's time for an upgrade or a service patch.

So, my question is how do we overcome IT departments that act more like an empire than an enabler?

One of the interesting things we've been working on is the total cost of ownership around the entire e-learning function... and perhaps this is an important angle, but I can't help thinking there is an even more strategic pressure that needs to be applied.