Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2019 - 55
SECRETS OF SOURCING
SELECTING THE RIGHT TOOL
AND TECHNOLOGY PARTNER
FOR YOUR TRAINING
Selecting a learning technology is a
decision that every training manager
must make. Whether it be a learning
management system (LMS), delivery
platform or authoring tool, training
managers from companies of all sizes
are confronted with the need to select
a technology to assist with the learning
experience. It may not be the most
frequent decision you will have to make,
but definitely one of the most important -
and for a number of reasons.
* The impact is huge. Technology impacts
so many constituents. Selecting one
technology that pleases multiple user
groups and needs is not easy. It's hard
enough to get your leadership team to
agree on one platform, much less all
* Long-term commitments. Technology
often requires long-term commitments
with a supplier. Learning technologies
are generally licensed, not purchased,
which means there are recurring fees
for use and maintenance based on the
number of learners or users.
* Total cost. The true cost of a technology
is not just what you pay a supplier.
True or total cost includes your
internal expenses for data migration,
administration, ongoing support by
the IT group, and the cost of change for
moving from one platform to another.
Depending on the technology, this can
be more than the cost of the license
Choosing a Training Partner
The most difficult factor in selecting
a technology is the sheer number of
platforms and technologies to choose
from. Every supplier wants to show why
their platform is better than others. The
reality is the features and functionality
of each technology are relatively the
same from one company to another. I'm
not suggesting that technologies are
completely commoditized, but I am saying
that the value difference in one feature
versus another doesn't always warrant the
difference in cost.
ONE OF THE MOST
then this may impact the timeliness of
the support you require.
* Leadership team. An assessment of
the talent in a vendor's leadership team
and its development organization can
tell a lot about the company's ability to
innovate and remain viable.
* Company culture. Assessing the culture
of a vendor can reveal whether they
are committed to the same values as
your organization, such as diversity and
inclusion, security, or individual privacy.
Your selection of a technology and supplier
must be done objectively and based on
the right variables. And it should be done
as a team that includes your constituents
and support staff.
The features and functionality of the tools
are not the only important factors. Look
closely at the capabilities of the supplier
you are licensing from. Every company
has a set of business attributes that make
their organization viable and competitive.
These become even more important
when forming long-term relationships as
opposed to transactional relationships.
Here are a few variables to consider when
choosing a technology partner.
To help determine the factors that are
most important, create an evaluation
spreadsheet and assign a weighted value
to each variable. Hold demos of each tool
and due diligence of business attributes
of each supplier. Have your team evaluate
each supplier and the technology based
on a scale of 1 to 10. Tally the scores based
on weighted values. Now you have an
objective, inclusive process for how to
choose a technology and partner.
* Financial viability. A company's financial
viability is the best indicator of its ability
to invest in future improvements and
software enhancements, as well as if it
will still be in business in a few years.
The process sounds simple, and it really
is. But the secret sauce is identifying the
most important variables and including
your constituents and support team in
* Location. The geographical location
of the vendor may indicate how they
will provide ongoing support. If the
company's support team is overseas,
Doug Harward is CEO of Training Industry,
Inc. and a former learning leader in the hightech industry. Email Doug.
T RAIN IN G I N DU STR Y M AGAZ INE - TRAINING IN ANOTHER DIMENSION 20 1 9 I WWW. T RAI NINGINDU S T RY . C OM/ MAGAZ I NE
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2019