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LMS Scalability is a concern, especially for the IT department

scalability is easier and less resource-intensive when considered from the beginning

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LMS Scalability is a concern, especially for the IT department


Usually it’s a good thing when IT needs to scale up a particular technology, like an LMS, quickly – maybe sales are growing or new employees are being added.

However, there is an expectation that when it comes time to scale that IT can quickly and easily roll out any needed changes.

For the IT department, it isn’t quite as easy as a few clicks or call to a provider.

This is because not every LMS is designed to scale, and as such, a business might not have realized this during the selection process.

What happens is that, as a company’s needs grow, the LMS isn’t able to keep up and they either have to a) buy a new system, or b) try to adapt the LMS (if at all possible).

From an IT perspective, both options will far exceed time and resources available.

For instance, temporarily patching the LMS will alleviate some of the early issues, but with that comes added complexity. Complexity makes diagnosing problems on an on-going basis more tedious (i.e., pricier and less effective).

Other issues arise too when an LMS is not scalable.

The more data stored or simultaneous users the LMS collects, the more strain is put on the software's architecture. Limitations that didn't seem important in the beginning become a huge barrier to productivity.

And, as the workload rises past the LMS's ability to scale, performance also drops.

So what improves scalability of an LMS?

An LMS is considered scalable when it doesn't need to be redesigned to maintain effective performance during or after a steep increase in workload.

Scalability for software solutions usually come down to these things: 

  1. Users and data. Can the LMS handle an increase in users and data? This is critical when it comes to scale. Whether the maximum stored data can scale quickly depends heavily on database style (SQL vs NoSQL servers), but it’s also critical to pay attention to proper indexing.
  2. Automation and workflows. Streamlining processes is essential when scaling, so it’s especially important that any prospective LMS is well-equipped.
  3. Customization. Customization helps with flexibility as well as scalability. These are very important as a business grows.
  4. Load balancing software. The LMS should use an algorithm to spread the workload across servers to ensure no single server gets overwhelmed. It’s an absolute necessity when scaling out.
  5. Asynchronous processing. This refers to processes that are separated into discrete steps which don’t need to wait for the previous one to be completed before processing. Asynchronous processing removes some of the bottlenecks that affect performance.
  6. Maintenance. Set the LMS up for automated testing and maintenance so that when it grows, the work of maintaining it doesn’t get out of hand. 

During the LMS selection process, keep these features top of mind while exploring additional requirements.

The Selection Process

Some businesses fail to prioritize scalability because they don’t see the immediate utility of it. Scalability gets pushed aside in favor of speed, shorter development cycles or lower cost.

But, as a general rule, scalability is much easier and less resource-intensive when considered from the beginning.

For one thing, database choice has a huge impact on scalability. Migrating to a new database is expensive and time-consuming; it isn’t something that can be easily done later on.

In addition, scalability lets a company purchase only what is immediately needed, not requiring the implementation of every feature that might be useful down the road.

When there are many extras and/or ‘features’, there is a high likelihood that they won’t all be utilized – but they will most certainly inflate the LMS cost.

Instead, a company can buy an LMS solution that is scalable. So, when it grows large enough that handling multiple tasks becomes difficult, they can easily add the functions to the LMS they need. Approaching it this way, they are preparing for future growth while buying a leaner LMS that suits current needs without extra complexity.

There is also a lower initial investment.

Another bonus of a scalable LMS is that it leaves room for changing priorities. That off-the-shelf bundle could become less relevant as a company shifts to meet the demands of an evolving marketplace.

These are all things to consider when it comes to choosing an LMS and the role scalability plays. By prioritizing this feature in an LMS, a business can protect their technology investment and will be able to continue using the LMS for much longer because it was designed to grow along with them. And, when the time comes for change, building onto a solid, scalable LMS is considerably less expensive than trying to adapt to less agile systems.

ShareKnowledge is a good choice for those who want a highly customizable and scalable LMS. If you would like more information about how ShareKnowledge can solve your training needs, please fill out the form.

 

 

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