More than a quarter of companies use more than one learning management system (LMS), and 75 percent of those companies plan to consolidate them, according to a survey of 249 companies by Expertus and TrainingOutsourcing.com.
Further, more than 75 percent of the companies surveyed said they plan to undertake LMS consolidation within a year.
Forty percent of the respondents said they aim to buy and implement a new LMS with the planned consolidation, and 35.6 percent said they plan to upgrade their LMS.
The centralization of learner data was the No. 1 reason cited for LMS consolidation (77.8 percent), according to the survey, followed by improved reporting (68.9 percent), improved content integration (64.4 percent) and improved integration with other enterprise applications (62.2 percent).
“Companies recognize the value of centralized reporting, content management and talent management — none of which is usually possible when operating multiple LMSes,” said Ramesh Ramani, CEO of Expertus.
He also said that companies should not recklessly charge into LMS consolidation, that they must have a solid foundation in place for their implementation plan.
“Consolidation is a complex process and one that requires expertise in many technical areas, as well as program management,” Ramani said. “LMS consolidation is a major application initiative and must be carefully planned and managed in order to be successful.”
Reduction of technology costs as a business factor was not a popular reason for LMS consolidation, according to 40 percent of survey respondents. Nearly 40 percent of respondents, however, said they expect to use outside services to help them with consolidation projects.
Additionally, the survey found that training organizations drive about 50 percent of consolidation efforts.
The respondents said the biggest challenges they expect regarding LMS consolidation are data issues (58.7 percent), technology (56.5 percent), user acceptance (43.5 percent) and customization (43.5 percent).
About half of the respondents said they think LMS consolidation will take six months to a year, and 22.2 percent said they think it will take one to two years.
Despite the perceived challenges and potentially long timelines, Doug Howard, TrainingOutsourcing.com CEO, said LMS consolidation can be a good thing.
“It can offer significant enterprisewide benefits,” he said.
Howard agreed with Ramani, though, in regard to the need for a well-thought plan in order to have a well-executed LMS consolidation.
“The projects typically require advanced technology and integration expertise,” he said. “We recommend that anyone considering a consolidation initiative first talk with others who have completed similar projects in order to obtain a full understanding of the project’s scope.”
This survey is the third in a series of six designed to provide market data on all aspects of corporate training challenges.