Cloud solutions are the “new normal” as organizations opt to deploy more business systems “in the cloud.” For learning professionals, cloud-based solutions provide a wide range of benefits from cost savings to decreased delivery time, to global reach. But should you consider a cloud solution?
Like any software solution, there are cloud implementations that are well thought-out and robust, and others that are not as reliable. Before you make a decision on a cloud-based LMS, review this list of questions to ask your potential providers.
Though cloud-based solutions can be economical, it is important to make certain there are as few surprising hidden costs as possible. Below are questions that will help you to assess some of the potential hidden costs with a cloud-based LMS provider:
- Are you able to scale and add additional users within your current contract?
- Is loading, hosting and maintaining content included or an extra cost? If so, what is the pricing model?
- Is there a cost for upgrades to newer product versions?
- Is there a cost for customer support or any form of troubleshooting?
- Is there a cost for technical advice on integrating the LMS with other enterprise systems?
- Is there a cost to migrate historical data into the cloud-based LMS?
- What additional learning services are available for free or for fee to assist you with your broader goal of delivering meaningful learning to your organization?
Reliability and security
While cloud-based LMS providers endeavor to produce reliable and secure solutions it is worthwhile to seek out as much validation as possible. Below are questions that will help you assess the integrity of the solution you are considering:
- Can the cloud-based LMS provider supply you with an independent audit report that details results and responses for periodic penetration tests?
- Can the cloud-based LMS provider supply you with an independent attestation report validating the reliability of the solution?
- Is the LMS certified by a recognized, independent authority such as TRUSTe?
- Can the cloud-based LMS provider share their internal operational procedures and guidelines.This helps minimize the possibility of their own employees from maliciously impacting the LMS.
- What are the provider’s annual uptime metrics and how are they measured? What is the average length of an outage? What is actual reported uptime vs their Service Level Agreement (SLA)?
- Is there a technical overview of the technology and security for your IT department to review?
Performance, scale, and reach
Be certain your cloud LMS provider’s solution has a proven track record that will meet the performance, scale, and reach criteria you will need not only for your business today but as you anticipate growing and expanding.
- How many countries are served by the LMS?
- How many LMS products does the LMS provider support with their R&D budget?
- Can the vendor provide usage and completion metrics?
- How many customers does the LMS vendor service with their LMS?
- How large are the largest customers supported by the LMS and do they compare with your projected audience size?
Deployment and integration
It will be important to understand both your own deployment timeframe and integration requirements as well as the experience of the vendors and support from each of the vendors you are considering.
- What is involved with implementing the vendor’s solution?
- How much lead time is required to implement the solution?
- What assistance is provided for implementation? And is there any charge for any of this assistance?
- What automation/integration vendors, tools or specifications are supported?
- When new product versions are released, will you receive lead time to assess how they may impact your learning programs?
- What content integration specifications are supported? AICC, SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004, xAPI, other?
Note: This article is excerpted from the Skillsoft whitepaper Learning in the Cloud: 10 Factors to Consider.