Professional dilemma

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Q I need to implement a learning management system (LMS) for 500 staff –
and quickly. How long should it take?

A There are some guidelines within which you can work.

If it is a straightforward implementation where you need the LMS to
administer and offer courses, it can take as little as a few hours. It really
is that simple if the software is designed well enough. Incidentally, it
shouldn’t matter whether you need the LMS for 500 or 50,000 employees.

Integrating the LMS with existing HR software gets a little more
complicated. This can take just a few weeks if both the internal and supplier’s
teams are committed. However, BUPA recently integrated its new LMS with
existing HR software (PeopleSoft) in just two and a half weeks.

Choosing the courseware can also be quick. It depends on whether the classes
required can be sourced ‘off-the-shelf’ from the thousands available. If you
need bespoke classes, however, it is a different matter. Getting the
specification right is the most important aspect, as changing things later
slows down the process.

You too can help the implementation go smoothly. Understand your company’s
networks and technology. Know the goals of the new training programme, and make
sure you abide by agreed project times. Ensure the supplier gets access to the
internal project team, as it will be in touch frequently.

The supplier needs to contribute an enormous amount. At first, it should
offer good experience and reference-able customers. It should also be able to
source the right courses from a huge range of providers. It may survey some of
your staff so that it understands the culture, and should also supply a special
account consultant to ease you through the process.

E-learning is a cultural leap, so your supplier should be able to create and
manage strategies for communication and mentoring to ensure the systems provide
a strong ROI. Remember, it should be simple for you and the users.

Response by Spencer Cohen, head of sales at Futuremedia Plc www.futuremedia.co.uk

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