With Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs) making up a major chunk of our LMS client base, we are in a good position to speak about the needs and requirements of this market segment. But it’s not just this 12+ years of experience of working with SMBs worldwide, but the intelligence from the market as a whole that we bring to the table.
So, what does an SMB really need in its Learning Management System?
The briefest answer would be the ability to deliver and manage training for its employees with ease. Some bells and whistles, but no frills.
SMBs, though smaller in size and their operation scale, have training needs that are just as critical and diverse as Enterprises. This makes the delivery and management of training programs, while ensuring learner engagement, mission critical for their success.
Below listed, in no particular order, are the key features and functionalities that a Small- and Medium-Sized Business typically requires in its LMS. There are of course some exceptions to this list; some needing a little more or a little less, but most that fall in this bracket.
1. Quick Rollout Readiness
‘Need for speed’ is not reserved for the corporate giants only. SMBs too need to get their training up and about, and delivered to their employees quickly.
SaaS LMSs (typically hosted in the Cloud, but not mandatory) help SMBs in doing just this at a fraction of the cost as compared with the traditional ‘hosted’ LMS model. The SaaS architecture makes the setup of the LMS a breeze, minus the worries of IT infrastructure, servers, bandwidth requirements, backups, etc.
Let’s debunk a myth first. Hosting (behind the firewall) is not a onetime cost. It’s a recurring cost that adds to the LMS project year after year. Maintaining the server environment also calls for additional cost and efforts. For an SMB, these costs can be an unnecessary financial burden, making SaaS LMS the best bet.
The advantages of SaaS (cloud-based) LMS are pretty significant for small and medium companies:
- Lower TCO and Higher ROI
- Hassle-free upgrades
- Continuous Innovation
- Wide reach
3. Multiple Media Support
From eLearning in the form of HTML courses to videos (streamed or otherwise), PowerPoint Presentations, Documents, Assessments, and more, SMBs need an LMS that can help them track, manage, and deliver their training with utmost ease. Further, support for standard-compliant (AICC, SCORM, Tin Can) and non standard-compliant courseware is also a must-have for SMBs as it gives them a wide array of learning/training materials to create/ choose from.
4. User-friendly Learner Interface with Enhanced UX
Lack of resources or the absence of a dedicated team for L&D is a major challenge that stops an SMB from leveraging its LMS to the fullest for training its employees. To a large extent this also dampens the employees’ enthusiasm in using the LMS for learning. A learning platform with complex navigation and barely-there GUI can worsen this situation further.
In an ideal scenario, learners should be using the LMS because they want to, not because they have to. An easy-to-use, intuitive interface that invites the learners to explore the system and learn what they have been assigned, and elevates the learning experience can help in making the learning initiative a success for an SMB.
5. Instructor-Led (Classroom) Training
While the inclusion of eLearning (or online training) as part of its core employee training (for compliance, certification etc.) is prevalent in organizations big and small worldwide, ILT (Classroom Training) continues to rule the training mix in Small- and Medium- sized organizations. Managing instructor schedules, inventory, booking venue etc. is one the major stumbling blocks to the delivery of training in traditional classroom setting.
An LMS that enables the creation, management and delivery of ILT programs easily and can be blended with eLearning and other media presents a great opportunity for SMBs to put their scarce resources and budgets to a better use.
6. 24×7 Technical Support
Most SMBs have do not have an internal IT team. This makes handling of issues and unforeseen scenarios pertaining to the Learning Management System a major challenge for them. What they need from the LMS vendor is a round-the-clock technical support (nothing like Free 24×7 Support!) that gives them the assurance of a platform that works uninterrupted and gives their employees an enhanced learning experience anytime, anywhere.
7. Reporting & Business Intelligence
Getting management buy-in while purchasing an LMS itself is a challenging task for most SMBs. Adding to this challenge is demonstrating its ROI to the stakeholders. For the Admins too, tracking employee participation/progress, course completions etc. via reports (graphical or worksheets) is of utmost importance. In today’s dynamic business world, business intelligence that can translate the information in these reports into meaningful information for devising better L&D strategies and improving processes is another must-have for SMBs.
8. Anywhere, Anytime Training
An SMB needs to leverage every learning opportunity that its employees might encounter in their day-to-day lives in order to make their training initiative a success. A SaaS (Could-based) LMS, makes this possible by enabling learners to access training anytime, anywhere, on any device of their choice (as long as there is an Internet connection!).
Need an LMS for your SMB? Check out our Best Value, SaaS LMS – UpsideLMS that you and your learners will love! Request a Demo.