LMS: Cost or Competitive Advantage


While the global COVID-19 pandemic hasclearly resulted into a massive set-back for organizations worldwide, it hasalso come as sort of a wake-up call for businesses to address skills gaps andprioritize employee training to sustain and grow the business, and compete atthe highest level.

However, employee training or skilling, and implementing comprehensive L&D programs is hard work, which is why businesses turn to the Learning Management System (LMS). We know that an LMS ties the employee training programs together in a central repository and streamlines the learning process. But, a state-of-the-art LMS means investing in yet another tool, adding to the range of enterprise solutions an organization might already house. 
We have all heard “if it’s in the budget, buy it”.But equally, we have also heard “look, just prepare me a cost-benefit case”.But how hard is it really to prepare one? In this blog I will try to address this very question and hope to provide actionable insights into best leveraging a Learning Management System, to turn it into an advantage rather than a business cost.

Business Cost

Most learning is not specifically aligned to the organisations’business objectives and normally relates to specific skills, so it misses thebusiness case routine.

Fragmentation of solutions in large organisations and the lack of a centrallearning repository make it very difficult to align learning with businessobjectives.

When learning is so fragmented there cannot be any effectivemeasurement of its outcome. All this makes for a very inefficient learningenvironment.

Unappealing, tedious, lengthy and even irrelevant learning is a positive discouragement to staff from using any LMS facilities provided by organisations, and only serve to achieve enhancement of the “cost for no real use” argument.

In larger organisations, the LMS is not geared to multiplelanguages, time zones and working contexts, but that is exactly how thebusinesses need to operate.

The use of an LMS almost seems like an after-thought and in many cases is independent of on-the-job training or collaborative efforts or any other business imperative. But that is hardly a strategy.

When the L&D or HR functions are asked to find an e-learningsystem, it is easy to get hung up on features and forget about the businessimperatives which may be driving an organisation.

However, everything said and done, investing in an LMS is investing in the employees’ future. Offering learning opportunities to employees ultimately results in higher levels of engagement, satisfaction and retention, which translates to better organizational performance.

More importantly, there are lots of intangible returns that an organization can gain by implementing an LMS, the best being a competitive advantage. 

Competitive Advantage

Businesses can start off by really defining what competitive advantage means to them. If you are a business in the service industry that rates competitiveness on basis of increased customer satisfaction, then making sure that employees are better engaged and informed with the help of training interventions delivered effectively and at the point of need certainly make a good business case. Besides, be it any organization, a higher level of customer satisfaction directly correlates to increased revenue.

It should be a total no-brainer that competitive businesses need learning systems that drive performance. But then, how do we achieve that?

The most effective organisations have well defined Learning &Development (L&D) Strategies.

Integration into a single learning ecosystem with effective focus and measurement makes all the difference. This helps in focusing the learning where it is needed and aligns it to the business objectives. All of which means that Return on Investment and Value of Investment can be calculated.

Microlearning can be provided just-in-time when the employees requireit, instead of just rolling out the learning that tends to become obligatoryand proscribed and perceived as irrelevant.

Not only can the LMS provide, track and report on the appropriatelearning, it can also suggest and recommend learning, which may be spotted as askills gap, a compliance requirement or even a natural progression for theindividuals.

Many years ago, Peter Drucker said in his famous business quote - “Ifyou can’t measure it then you can’t manage it”.

And, how truer can it get!

When businesses start to align their learning strategy and ecosystemwith their business imperatives, they increase their competitive advantage andbecome even more profitable in its widest sense, for business, for customersand for staff.

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