Extended Enterprise Learning Management System implementations may look the same and employ many of the same tools as corporate or inward facing implementations but they are very different. First a definition… “extended enterprise elearning”. Simply put it is outward facing implementations that are used to:
- Sell content
- Train customers
- Train potential customers (marketing function)
- Train other third parties
So what’s different about Extended Enterprise Learning Management Systems?
The Technology. Unlike corporate situations where the IT department has everybody’s machine locked down, here the audience can be anybody accessing the learning from any device using any browser (Almost…there are limits. Let’s not even talk about IE 7 or 8). That has obvious implications for both the technology and learner support. The system is going to have to be especially friendly and the customer service reps are going to have to be especially responsive and compassionate.
Integrations: Enterprise implementations are often integrated with one or two other systems like HR, ERP or CRM. Once the integrations are complete the system can be locked down and left to tick along smoothly. With an extended enterprise LMS often the need for new integrations never stops. Every client brought on to the system can have different integration needs and so the LMS and the company supporting it need to be flexible and responsive to help you take care of your customers.
Branding: In many cases, especially those where you are selling to corporate customers, you will need to have multiple portals individually branded for each customer. This can range from a simple logo placement somewhere on the page to a full look and feel overhaul.
Ecommerce: If you’re going to sell it you need to be able to…well, sell it. Seems simple but when you start to dig in there can be a lot a variability. Do you want to sell individual courses? Catalogs of courses? Subscriptions to your entire catalog? Do you want to set time limits? Do you want to sell renewals? And so on. Again, responsiveness and flexibility on the LMS vendor’s part is critical.
The Audience: Learners need to want to do the training. Unlike internally focused elearning initiatives, your learning is not as likely to be mandatory. This means that you’re likely to have to invest in content that is multi-media rich, interactive and engaging and the LMS itself has to be incredibly easy to use.
Okay, so what?
Of course you need to start with a great, easy to use LMS for extended enterprise. Truthfully, there are a lot of great LMS’s out there of which KMI’s is one. The real differentiator is service. You don’t want a DIY LMS, there’s just too much you can’t do for your customers on your own. You also don’t want a behemoth LMS locked into a yearly build cycle where your only input is suggestions or complaints on a vendor sponsored forum. What you want is a vendor who will work with you to build an initiative that makes you money, promotes your brand, builds loyalty among your customers. That’s exactly what KMI has been doing since 2000. We’re experts in extended enterprise. We have a great LMS and the content development team that you need to do it right.