When it comes tolaunching a newonline learninginitiative, your organization needs to make an important decision in the beginning.You must decide toeither 1)build the technologyfrom scratchusing internal resources,or 2) buy from a third party vendor/partner whose primary focus is on learning technology.
Before you invest in one option over another, it's critical that your organization ask some important questions. After careful consideration of the answers, you might discover that your first instinct -- what you thought might be easier or cheaper -- is wrong.
Here are sevenquestionsyou should ask before deciding to buildvs. buy.
BUDGET:Do we have budget and resources to build the right solution in-house?Building ahomegrown learning technologyisn't easy. It takes time, manpower, skills, upkeep, updates, and much more to stay operational.
Oftentimes, significant resources are required to do even the most basic tasks such as updating landing pages or courses. Businesses often think building operations internally is a cost savings. Inthe short term it might be, but for long termandscalable operations,partnering with a vendor is the better option.
SCALABILITY & INNOVATION: Do we want to scale our learning operations, and also take advantage of the innovations to come?Iflooking to train or educate a small set of learners, internal operations most certainly will suffice. However, if your business has complex requirements, many cohorts of learners such as employees, customers, partners,and more, managing and maintaining the entire operation can be a difficult task. Homegrown systems often struggle to keep up with thepace of innovation(i.e., most homegrown systems today aren'tmobile-friendly). Leveraginga technology vendor's expertise and 100% focus on deliverywill help prevent asuperior productfrom hindering yourbusiness down the road.
INTEGRATIONS:How much technology do we need to piece together?When it comes to patching together an internal system, there are often a lot of technology needs --some of which you'llhaveto leveragewithoutside help. Creating courses in one application, loading them into a management system,andhooking up additional systems such as commerce or reporting applications if necessaryall takes time and money. This alsoincreasesthelikelihoodof something breaking. More consolidated third party systems have typically worked out most of those kinks already and have more seamless integrations out-of-the-box.
CONTENT MANAGEMENT:Will the coursesneed to be updated regularly? Will new clients be added regularly? Do we have that bandwidth?This arebigquestionsto ask. If you are hoping to scale online learninginitiatives,or have a fast-growing pool of internal employeesor clients, you need a platform that canscalewith you.Managing content, making updates, providing dedicated learning environments, tracking users (active and inactive) can all be very cumbersome challenges. These are things technology providers have already thought about and figured out.Don't causeyour organizationunnecessary stress by trying to do it all yourself. The more complex the content management requirements, the more likelya homegrown solutionwill eventually fall short.
SECURITY:Is our course content high risk or confidential?One big question the Thought Industries team is asked by organizations is, "Will my content be safe and secure?"Many companies may feel safer if all their content in kept in-house,but in actuality third party learning technology providers undergo rigorous security checks to ensure content and data is safe and secure.In the research stage of your online learninginitiative, ask a lot of questions about security to help find the right fit for you.
TIMING:Is timing a factor?If your organization needs to get training out ASAP, there might not be time to build or customizea solution and have it operational. In this instance, it might be best to buy an off-the-shelf solution and upload your learning content there.The laundry list of requirements necessary to build out an even basic operation can be lengthy. So,ifyour organization islooking to get up and running quickly,partnering with a vendor is the way to go.
NEEDS:Do we even need to implement afull-scale learning operation?Ifanother organizationor content provideralready build the courses we are trying to create, sometimes it doesn't make sense to recreate the wheel.Ifyour organization is using online learning for basic security training, software training, or HR protocols, you might want to research what kind of training already exists. It might be cheaper for your organization to invest in those trainings,thantocreate your own contentand learning operation.
So,when does it make sense to actually build a homegrown system? Oftentimes, its doesn't make a lot of sense.But,if your business has significant time, resources, and internal budget to have 100% focus on the creation and maintenance of the system, then it could be beneficial.With homegrown technology, you have complete control over development, features, and more.
The question is: Does the ends justify the means?
Here at Thought Industries, we have worked with many customers who grew tired of dealing with their internal, homegrown learning system anddecided to migrateover to our Learning Business Platform™. We work with customers on an individual basis to understandtheircomplete requirements and make sure any questions or concerns are addressed to give you peace of mind as you transition to our more modern, scalable, and flexible platform.
Interested in learning more?Schedulesometimeto talk to a Thought Industries' representativetoday.we'd love to hear about any of your current or future projects and show you how our platform can potentially satisfy your needs.