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Learning Management System Vendor Selection: RFQ to the Rescue

Employees today access multiple devices in a single day and they prefer learning the same way too.

This is exactly the reason current learning management system (LMS) trends indicate a demand for responsive LMS’ that are independent of devices and operating systems, but are hosted in the cloud and made accessible to all users.

As an L&D personnel, you are geared up to find the perfect LMS for your company. You have narrowed down the list of learning management system vendors and sent them a request for quote (RFQ).

As you must be already aware, an RFQ provides comprehensive information to the LMS vendor on your LMS requirements, and the vendor in turn submits a quote for LMS implementation. Imagine the surprise if you were to receive an RFQ that was way off the mark from what you had in mind.

If the above scenario strikes a chord, it’s time you re-examine your RFQ. In order to receive the right quote from your learning management system vendor, ensure that you do not miss out on including the following details. 

Organization information

In your LMS quote, include the industry your organization belongs to. Be it aviation, fashion, banking, or pharmaceuticals, specify the industry clearly.

Will this make a difference? Yes – a major difference.

Specifying the industry can attract a quote from an LMS vendor who specializes in that industry. A vendor who has a significant implementation experience in your industry can contribute better to getting you the right LMS solution.

If you already have an LMS, mention that. This will help the LMS vendor understand that you are already aware of the basic requirements and have specific learning needs to be addressed through a new LMS.

Project details

A successful LMS implementation is like a project that requires careful planning. It is essential to include the number of learners who are expected to use the LMS. Do not forget to include the current technology in place that needs to be integrated with the new LMS.

Make a list of different user personas who will be accessing the LMS.

For example, a HR manager may work with a HRIS (Human Resources Information System) that needs to be integrated with the LMS.

Include the operating system details, database technology, and any other information that will help the learning management system vendor give you the right quote, that includes LMS integration with HRIS, in this instance.

Specify the time frame within which you plan to complete LMS implementation. Including the budget that is allocated for LMS implementation helps LMS vendors come up with solutions that are well within the expected cost. If your requirements exceed the budget, the LMS vendor can specify that clearly, instead of springing a surprise later on.

LMS specifications

The learning management system vendor needs to have a clear understanding of your requirements. Are you looking for a self-hosted LMS or a cloud-based LMS? Is it a one-time purchase license or a monthly subscription? Does your LMS need to be compliant with SCORM or Tin Can API?

Is there any other LMS selection criteria that your organization needs to adhere to?

Learners in your company would love to take an interactive online training. You do have gamification courses; what if the proposed LMS does not support it?

The LMS vendor might have proposed a solution that was cost-effective, but you do not want to be stuck with an LMS that does not meet your requirements.

If you do not mention your specifications clearly in the RFQ, your LMS vendors are going to come up with a list of specifications that they think is essential for your organization.

Future training requirements

Before you send that RFQ, make a list of the LMS features that you might need in order to support future training requirements. With the increase in a geographically diverse workforce, you might look at rolling out a training in Afrikaans or Portuguese. A multilingual interface in your LMS will take care of breaking down language barriers in your e-learning course.

If your organization has plans to implement blended learning, mobile learning, or collaborative learning, specify that to get a relevant quote from the LMS vendors.

Lastly, do not forget to include space in your RFQ for the learning management system vendor to detail their proposed solution.

It is essential that people involved in the selection of an LMS familiarize themselves with an RFQ. A good RFQ will attract the right LMS vendor who can offer a perfect solution for your LMS requirements.

If you have implemented an LMS in your organization, how did you find the right LMS vendor? Do share your experience.

The State of Learning: 2023 and Beyond