Professional dilemmas

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Q I want to link my learning management system (LMS) to my self-service HRMS
portal to integrate training with HR. The two systems are from different
suppliers. Will this be a problem?

A It depends on what you mean by ‘linking’ the systems. The easiest
way to connect your systems is to create a link on the home page of the HR
portal, which points to the LMS’s home page. It is just like directing users
from one website to another, and if that is all you want, read no further.

However, sometimes people want a single sign-on (for example, the user signs
on to the HRMS portal and this authorisation passes to the LMS), so that users
don’t have to sign on to both systems. Many LMSs support NT, Active Directory
and/or LDAP authentication. If your HRMS portal uses one of these methods, too,
then single sign-on may be a snap. If not, ask the LMS vendor to design and
implement single sign-on, although it will take time and money.

Function level integration is another way to link systems. If you want links
on your HR portal to point to functions in the LMS, for example, then some
systems have functions encapsulated as web links, and integrated as part of a
portal’s web page.

If the link you ask about relates to the look and feel, then how close do
you want the systems to match? This may mean you will have to modify the LMS’s
basic user interface (UI).

If your HRMS portal is built on software from Plumtree, Stellant, or IBM,
these vendors have a toolkit for enabling integration. Bear in mind that
standards are currently under development, so each vendor will offer a
different toolkit. This type of integration can also be costly and may deliver
mixed results.

If there is a data link between the LMS and the HRMS, the data exchanged
usually differs on a case-by-case basis. To enable a data link, you may need IT
assistance to understand the data structures in the HRMS.

If you know how you want the link to work and you have a collaborative LMS
vendor, any problems can be solved.

Response by Leonard Greenberg, chief technology officer of Pathlore
Software Corporation

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