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Lars Hyland

CLO

Totara Learning

Buy better. What's wrong

with learning technology

procurement today?

This is part one of a two-part article. Here I will

explore how today's learning technology

procurement process is failing to provide the

outcomes that organisations need to thrive. In

part two, I will look at how to improve the

process, to help your organisation to buy

better.

Buying technology too often results in failure

for all involved. The buyer does not get the

intended business benefits and the vendor

does not sustain a long-term customer

relationship that is both profitable and

mutually satisfying. Your business, no matter

what sector, will increasingly be looking for

ways to differentiate. Not just in terms of

products and services but in turn through the

skills and behaviours of your people.

A cookie-cutter people strategy that fails to

support this differentiation suggests people

are not central to your future business

success. No matter the speed and reach of AI

and automation, people are what make

organisations function or fail. In a world of

increasing uncertainty and rapid change, how

your people learn and adapt will define

whether you survive or thrive.

So, this means that learning technology

procurement is more important than ever.

And yet it remains particularly challenging,

with current practice flawed.

Let's take a closer look at the typical

experience of buying a learning platform - for

instance a learning management system

(LMS), a learning experience platform (LXP)

or similar software.

Research

As a buyer this can be bewildering. There are

over 700 LMS options in the market. How do

you differentiate? Well, one shortcut is to buy

market analyst reports. These vary greatly in

their depth and breadth of analysis and tend

to centre on around 20+ 'market leaders'.

The success criteria used are typically

oriented towards the vendor commercials and

'market reach', and not around your own

particular business needs - they can't be.

Many buyers will turn to their professional

network for advice. Referral from peers is a

good indicator of satisfaction, or just

importantly, dissatisfaction. The most

common steers will be 'don't buy XX' rather

than 'we love YY'. Again, their business

drivers are likely to be different from your own

organisation, so it does not necessarily

translate into a transferrable recommendation.

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