Strategies for an Extended Enterprise LMS
Extended enterprise learning is an excellent way to improve brand interaction between your business and your customers, distribution partners, sales representatives, or franchisees while potentially creating an additional stream of revenue.
One of the ways you can improve your extended enterprise learning program is by using an LMS (Learning Management System) to facilitate convenient and engaging eLearning. However, before your business can reap the benefits associated with extended enterprise learning, you must carefully plan and evaluate your course and learner needs.
Many businesses have been tempted to purchase software and then build out their learning program plan, but the only way to make sure your platform will really work for your business is to determine the precise goals you have for your extended enterprise training before you begin evaluating solutions. The LMS you choose for your extended enterprise can impact the program’s effectiveness as well as the user experience for your learners, which is why you need to factor in all the considerations that we’ll discuss in this post before choosing the right LMS.
How Can Extended Enterprise Training Benefit Your Business?
Before looking at the factors to consider when determining the right eLearning strategy to support your company’s extended enterprise program, we wanted to discuss some of the benefits of having an active and impactful extended enterprise training program in the first place.
- Create a stronger brand – Providing your extended network with information about your products or services can strengthen your brand and bolster your company’s image.
- Drive revenue — Just as training your employees on your services and products can improve their performance and productivity, the same can be said about your extended enterprise. Distributors and franchisees who know more about your products know how to best sell them.
- Reduce risk — An extended enterprise learning solution can lower your risks by providing vendors and suppliers with information on how to use your products the right way and understand your business’s needs and goals.
- Improve client retention – It’s essential for customers to understand how to utilize your product in order to ensure both customer success and client retention. Making sure your clients are knowledgeable about how to get the most value from your product results in happy clients that stay clients longer.
What is the Role of an LMS in Your Extended Enterprise Learning?
An LMS will be a crucial tool in your extended enterprise training program and will play various roles in rolling out, managing, and streamlining the courses and other resources that are essential to your desired learning outcomes.
Here are some of the ways an LMS can help:
Depending on your business structure and the extended parties you want to reach out to with your training, you might need to cluster the learning content into specific categories or programs to ensure each audience accesses the most appropriate information.
What’s more, you want to separate your employee training from the extended enterprise, and a multitenant LMS can help you organize and disseminate training courses to the right learners.
Delivering training materials to multiple audiences calls for effective management and delivery of learning content. A corporate or business services LMS should have a simple layout that you can use to structure your content and deliver to certain audiences based off of organizational hierarchies or other categorizing factors using a singular, streamlined solution.
To make content management even easier, most systems will allow you to have different user roles within the platform, including managers, instructors, administrators, and learners that you can use to create a team that will help implement the course and manage content with ease.
An LMS hosts and tracks online learning. It’s a virtual hub where training is made possible for remote learners similar to an online class. What’s more, you can integrate the learning platform with email, HR, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and other systems to make learning and training as holistic, seamless, and practical as possible.
Using the LMS, learners connect with other peers or trainers using chat features or forums. Additionally, Single-Sign On functionality can be configured to allow learners to easily access the platform across multiple devices or resources using credentials they may already use.
What Should You Consider When Choosing an Extended Enterprise LMS?
Now that you understand the critical role the LMS will play in your extended enterprise learning program, it’s time to look at the factors you need to consider to ensure you choose the right LMS to meet your company’s specific goals.
What is your ‘extended enterprise’?
There is just as much variety in learning platforms as there are in actual learning programs. Different Learning Management Systems have different capacities, and one way to identify which platform might be best suited for your needs is to begin by determining who your targeted learners are. Are you training only customers? Vendors? Distributors? Or would you like to provide training for all of these audiences within the same platform?
Depending on your target audience, the functions and technology needed to reach your eLearning goals will differ. In this case, you would need to consider if it’s important for your LMS to support multitenancy to house all training for all audiences on one platform or if you’d prefer to have separate platforms for each audience.
Open-Source or Closed-Source LMS
The technology that your LMS uses is also important. You will need to decide whether you want a closed source or open-source LMS for your extended enterprise.
A closed-source option offers an out-of-the-box eLearning platform which often comes with limitations on functionality and technology. On the other hand, an open-source LMS like Moodle™, Moodle™ Workplace, or Totara Learn are more flexible and are designed to optimize the learning experience with the ability to incorporate third-party solutions and plugins to make training and learning more accessible and scalable.
Functions and Features
The general purpose of an LMS might be the same, but the features and functionality vary widely depending on the solution you choose. Even though your needs might differ, some features you should check before selecting an LMS include:
- Mobile-friendly – Particularly ideal if you are focusing your training on vendors and distributors who intend to take courses on the go.
- Reporting and tracking — Using the built-in reporting and analytics within your LMS, you can get valuable insight on learner engagement, training assessment outcomes and general performance.
- Brand integration — You should be able to integrate your logo, color scheme and other elements of your brand into your learning interface for a personalized learning experience.
- Data security — Your LMS should have data encryption and password protection features as a minimum. In this case, the more security features the better, especially when your leaners have the ability to access the system from anywhere in the world.
- User-friendly interface — This is the most vital feature to have on an LMS. If the learners have a smooth and trouble-free experience using the system, they are more likely to take courses, interact with resources, and retain the information they’ve learned.
Having a broad and detailed training course is just one part of providing your partners, customers, or other members of your extended enterprise with the right tools and information. An extended enterprise LMS will make it easy to deliver the information needed by each type of learner and track progress through the training. As such, you should take your time to identify the best LMS that will help your learners make the most out of your eLearning course.
If you’d like to learn more about the impact that an LMS can have on business and customer success or see the fully-managed LMS solutions we provide for extended enterprise training in action, request a demo to connect with one of our experts.