What does an SMB really need in its LMS?


Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs), though smaller in size and operation scale, have training needs that are just as critical and diverse as Enterprises. This makes the delivery and management of training programs while ensuring learner engagement, mission-critical for their success.

So, what does an SMB really need in its Learning Management System?

The briefest answer would be the ability to deliver and manage training for its employees with ease. Some bells and whistles, but no frills.

Below listed, in no particular order, are the key features and functionalities that a Small- and Medium-Sized Business typically requires in its LMS. There are of course some exceptions to this list; some needing a little more or a little less, but most that fall in this bracket.

1. Quick Rollout Readiness

'Need for speed' is not reserved for the corporate giants only. SMBs too need to get their training up and about and delivered to their employees quickly.

SaaS LMSs (typically hosted in the Cloud, but not mandatory) help SMBs in doing just this at a fraction of the cost as compared with the traditional 'hosted' LMS model. The SaaS architecture makes the setup of the LMS a breeze, minus the worries of IT infrastructure, servers, bandwidth requirements, backups, etc.

2. Hosting

Let's debunk a myth first. Hosting (behind the firewall) is not a one-time cost. It's a recurring cost that adds to the LMS project year after year. Maintaining the server environment also calls for additional cost and effort. For an SMB, these costs can be an unnecessary financial burden, making SaaS LMS the best bet.

The advantages of SaaS (cloud-based) LMS are pretty significant for small and medium companies:

  • Lower TCO and Higher ROI
  • Hassle-free upgrades
  • Continuous Innovation
  • Wide reach

3. Multiple Training Formats

From eLearning in the form of HTML courses to videos (streamed or otherwise), PowerPoint Presentations, Documents, Assessments, and more, SMBs need an LMS that can help them track, manage, and deliver their training with utmost ease. Further, support for standard-compliant (AICC, SCORM, Tin Can) and non-standard-compliant courseware is also a must-have for SMBs as it gives them a wide array of learning/training materials to create/ choose from.

4. User-friendly Learner Interface with Enhanced UX

Lack of resources or the absence of a dedicated team for L&D is a major challenge that stops an SMB from leveraging its LMS to the fullest for training its employees. To a large extent, this also dampens the employees' enthusiasm for using the LMS for learning. A learning platform with complex navigation and barely-there GUI can worsen this situation further.
In an ideal scenario, learners should be using the LMS because they want to, not because they have to. An easy-to-use, intuitive interface that invites the learners to explore the system and learn what they have been assigned, and elevates the learning experience can help in making the learning initiative a success for an SMB.

An LMS that enables the creation, management, and delivery of ILT programs easily and can be blended with eLearning and other media presents a great opportunity for SMBs to put their scarce resources and budgets to better use.

5. Robust Technical Support

Most SMBs do not have an internal IT team. This makes handling issues and unforeseen scenarios pertaining to the Learning Management System a major challenge for them. What they need from the LMS vendor is strong technical support that gives them the assurance of a platform that works uninterrupted and gives their employees an enhanced learning experience anytime, anywhere.

6. Reporting & Business Intelligence

Getting management buy-in while purchasing an LMS itself is a challenging task for most SMBs. Adding to this challenge is demonstrating its ROI to the stakeholders. For the Admins too, tracking employee participation/progress, course completions, etc. via reports (graphical or worksheets) is of utmost importance. In today's dynamic business world, business intelligence that can translate the information in these reports into meaningful information for devising better L&D strategies and improving processes is another must-have for SMBs.

7. Anywhere, Anytime Training

An SMB needs to leverage every learning opportunity that its employees might encounter in their day-to-day lives in order to make their training initiative a success. A SaaS (Could-based) LMS, makes this possible by enabling learners to access training anytime, anywhere, on any device of their choice (as long as there is an Internet connection!).

If you are an SMB, it’s time you give some thought to investing in an LMS to boost the engagement of your employees.