To build your own LMS or buy one?
Sure, creating your own LMS from scratch used to be the go-to move for large enterprises. But, is it really worth it in this technology-driven age?
Creating your own LMS from scratch used to be the go-to move for many large enterprises. However, this option comes with its fair share of challenges, especially as out-of-the-box LMS’s continue to become more sophisticated.
It’s true, creating your own LMS gives you an element of ownership and customization. But, what else could it be costing you?
Keeping it in house
Building your own LMS is time intensive. Companies who are successful at choosing this route have a highly skilled development team that knows a thing or two about building out intricate systems, plus plenty of staff to support the creation and maintenance of the LMS.
Here’s what you get when you build your own:
- Customized Experience: With a large design and development team at your disposal, you could build your way to the perfect program. This gives your company complete control over all of your LMS’s features, user experience, and design.
- Adaptability: Creating your own LMS means, even though you may not get it right the first time, you’ll have the power to make little tweaks along the way to make sure everything is working as it should. What you need today may not be what you need tomorrow.
- Proprietary Ownership: You don’t have to answer to anyone else when it comes to LMS code. You’ll have complete ownership of your program.
Choosing a tried-and-tested tool
Buying an LMS may be the option for you if you’re looking for a cost-effective program that can be rolled out quickly with minimal time and effort from your current staff. You’ll rest at ease knowing your LMS is backed by a supportive team of talented developers, designers, and customer service representatives who are there to serve you.
Here’s what you get when you buy an LMS:
- Alignment with Core Competencies: Most organizations are not in the business of building or maintaining an LMS. Leave the building up to the industry experts so you can focus on what your organization does best.
- Cost Savings: Purchasing is often much more cost-effective for your organization and easier to budget for. When purchasing you don’t have to hire a team to custom build your program. Plus, you avoid some other unforeseen costs like software, support, hosting, maintenance, and bandwidth.
- Time to Market: Off-the-shelf solutions can be configured and implemented quickly and could save months or even years compared to a custom design and build.
- Support: Buying an LMS from a reputable vendor means you will have access to customer service and support and answers to questions that may come up when onboarding and implementing your LMS.
- Maintenance and Upgrades: When purchasing, you’ll automatically and seamlessly receive new features, bug fixes, and other updates. Consider it “future-proofing” your LMS. Even if you don’t utilize all of the features on day one, you might choose to opt-in to additional functionality down the road as your program grows and matures.
Other Things to Consider
When choosing to build or buy your LMS there are a few other things to consider. Ask yourself what kind of resources you’ll need to run your program.
Do you have the capacity to bring on more staff to help support your LMS? The personnel needed for a purchased program may be limited to one person, just enough to create and administer the content needed for your program. Staff required to create an LMS from the ground up is much different. You’ll need a long list of skilled business analysts, project managers, system architects, analysts, engineers, designers, and tech support to get the program off the ground and maintain the program.
Would you rather be the first users of a new system or deploy a stable application that has ironed out the bugs? When you buy an LMS, you have the opportunity to find a program that is rich in features. If resources are tight when you build, it may mean having to skimp by with a simple program and slowly add on when funds are available.
Think about what will be the bread and butter of your LMS. These features are necessary for your organizational needs and cannot be overlooked. If you anticipate these changing in the near future, building your program may cause you to make frequent changes to accommodate your program. These requirements needing changes could include registration types, course types, workflows, assessments, certificates, external integrations, and media support.
So, what’s right for you? As Learning Management Systems become more robust and mature, fewer companies are entering into the space of creating their own. What makes sense for your business?
CEO & Founder at WordWell Creative