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Selecting an LMS: Integration Flexibility

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Selecting an LMS: Integration Flexibility


In today’s business environment, it’s more important than ever that systems ‘play nice’ together. 

Be very careful about choosing an LMS that doesn’t offer the flexibility to integrate with a variety of software systems. 

If you do, be prepared to face an uphill battle of challenges. 

Learning goes beyond what is just inside the LMS. In fact, more often than not, various components of the learning infrastructure are being handled by other systems. 

Failing to connect means you probably won’t be able to make the most out of the LMS, and/or fail to utilize its full potential and even miss out on critical data.

Without flexible integration included, this leaves no choice but to burden the IT department with manual integration which increases time, money and resources to do so.

So, what features promote flexibility to integrate in an LMS?

The long-term success of an LMS is often as much about technology integrations as it is about delivering learning content. These integration features can help with flexibility of an LMS. 

  1. Single Sign-On. SSO simplifies the identification process. This is especially useful when there are multiple systems in play. It eliminates redundant processes, streamlines workflows and reduces the number of authentication problems.
  2. Active Directory Integration. Active Directory helps you organize your company’s users, computer and more.
  3. API integrations. API integrations offer much more control and extensibility to an LMS. This is especially important as your learning needs change and grow.
  4. Customization. Without the ability to customize an LMS, it reduces your ability to be flexible. It’s that simple.

The Selection Process

Flexibility to integrate with other systems is imperative when it comes to choosing an LMS.

Most organizations expect their LMS provider to help them connect with other systems but there is not a lot of LMS integration actually occurring. According to the Brandon Hall Group, 52.2% of organizations say the inability to integrate with multiple systems is a significant barrier to satisfaction with learning technology.

With that said, when it comes integration flexibility, there are a few things to consider before selecting an LMS. 

Thinking through your needs of LMS integrations is the first step to asking the right questions during the process. For example, 

  • Where will your content be hosted? Will you be uploading content to be hosted directly by the LMS or integrating and embedding content from external resources like Google Docs and YouTube?
  • What user data will be needed (e.g., department, company, job title) and how will the LMS obtain it? Should new course registration data be sent to your company’s HR, CRM, sales and marketing systems? What about course progress, completion data and certifications? Should financial data integrate with internal accounting systems? 

These are all very important details to consider. 

Just because an LMS says it can integrate doesn’t always mean it will be a smooth process. It’s important to dive into the details of your use cases and needs when talking to LMS providers and discuss their experience with integrations and what kind of resources will be needed from your company’s IT department, if any. 

This will provide the tools to make an educated decision on whether the system will be able to meet your needs now and in the future. 

When you put the required time and effort into the LMS selection process your business will reap the benefits. Integration flexibility in an LMS will provide improved productivity, increased data accessibility, more efficient workflows, greater profitability and more accurate decision making.

 

ShareKnowledge is a good choice for those who want to leverage their SharePoint investment – a truly flexible and highly configurable solution for your business needs. ShareKnowledge’s unique PowerSync™ feature provides an integration solution that seamlessly “talks” to other systems and can utilize your organizational data, HRIS and Active Directory. If you would like more information about how ShareKnowledge can solve your training needs, please fill out the form and someone from our team will contact you shortly.

 

 

Key Consideration:
Reporting
Category:
Selection

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