One of the most common objections I hear from L&D managers looking to adopt a new LMS is "It looks great. I can see the benefits, but how do we get it setup, with our data and get our people using it? We're all busy and don't have a lot of time to do all of this configuration."
That's when you need to call "configo-busters".
Look for LMS vendors that have the depth of commitment and experience to help you set-up, configure, brand and migrate data to their platform.
Of course there must be a relationship based on trust, good intentions and confidentiality. But once you've established that the goal is to minimise your startup risk, capital outlay and effort until you can experience a return on investment. We call this a pilot-led-rapid-deployment model.
What is a pilot-led-rapid-deployment model?
A PLRD model enables you to limit your start-up risk, capital outlay and effort until you can obtain a return on investment. Let's start with the difference between a pilot and a trial.
Most vendors will give you a trial which either has generic preformatted data, usually irrelevant and unrelated to your business; or they give you a limited time in which you're expected to: allocate an "evaluation team", set-up and configure the trial for your environment, evaluate it, and analyse the benefits across your organisation.
That takes time, and you usually only have 30 days. Even if your team is highly committed and organised you'd struggle to evaluate complex enterprise software in just 30 days.
How many software trials have you downloaded, only to find the trial expired before you had time to set up and evaluate it? Now consider the likelihood of success across an entire evaluation team in your organisation.
We can think of the pilot as a personalised trial with a negotiated evaluation period. You enter into an agreement with the vendor to provide a license-free period of the software, during which you only pay for the services you need. This might typically be up-to year.
You are the expert in your data, while the vendor is the product expert. So, there's no better way to set up and adopt a system than to leverage the combined knowledge and expertise in the relationship with your intended vendor.
Yes, the pilot has a cost, but in the long run it gets far better evaluation results and much better system adoption, particularly if you're leaning towards a purchase with a specific vendor in mind.
If used properly that more than outweighs the real but hidden cost of inefficiency and wasted effort in evaluating a rushed free trial.
This deals with the services that the vendor offers to help your organisation adopt the system.
Not all the offered services will be necessary or relevant, and those that are may offer varying levels of investment to suit your needs.
Rapid-Deployment services can be offered with a number of flexible payment models, including monthly or milestone billing for time and materials.
The available services might include:
- Setup and configuration: your people, courses, training plans, training matrix, certificates, content, documents, templates and workflows.
- Data and Content Migration: from your current system, reports or spreadsheets.
- Business System Integration: integrating business systems, e.g. HR and Billing.
- Web Site Integration: integrating your corporate website and LMS.
- Branding: your templates, certificates, reports, web pages with your style guides.
- Custom Workflows and Reports: to implement your special requirements.
- Product Training: to help your staff utilise the system effectively.
- Software Support and Maintenance: Help desk, software updates, user manuals, email and phone support.
Think of Rapid-Deployment services as a restaurant menu where you can choose what meals and quantity of food you want. You can also select a payment method. You only pay for what you need.
The reason they're "rapid" is two-fold.
Firstly, the vendor is the product expert and can deploy the solution more efficiently than your team could. Remember, at this point have no exposure or familiarity with the LMS. Deployment is even faster, with your help in providing the required data and content in easy-structured templates and forms.
Secondly, from your perspective you didn't have to invest any time in system set up and configuration, since you get a system that is set up and ready to go. Your people get the training and support needed to be highly effective from day-one after going live.
What are the benefits of adopting a PLRD model?
There are 6 major benefits and sound reasons for adopting a PLRD model:
- License Free Period: - Typically up to one year, during which you're not paying for a license you can't use effectively.
- Low Risk: - most enterprise software fails because it's either not suited to task or not correctly set up. PLRD minimises both risks.
- Low Startup Costs: - control your expenditure by (a) not having to pay for a license, (b) purchasing only the services you need, and (c) flexible agreements to cover the scope, duration and payment terms of the pilot.
- Effective Results:- the processes and due diligence involved in a PLRD model gives it an inherently better chance of success, ensuring that you buy the right software for your business.
- Incremental ROI:- because the pilot is configured with your people and your business data it can transition easily into a Business As Usual (BAU) model. But you will immediately be able to deliver business value, compared to a trial with generic data and a time-limited offer.