Buy better. What's wrong
with learning technology
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
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.
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.