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Should the LMS take a Platform Approach?

Written by Julia Borgini

Published on November 10, 2016

It is no secret that learning management systems (LMSs) have low customer satisfaction rates. Brandon Hall's research shows that 45% of customers are satisfied with their LMS, and 47% of  people surveyed are seeking a new LMS. Two of the six top reasons why people are so dissatisfied are: 1) poor reporting features; and 2) inability to adapt to changing needs. In a fast moving world, number two is a difficult challenge for any software provider building a product to satisfy customer needs. Customer education professionals have fast moving and unique needs, and it seems LMSs are chasing these needs with little success.


It doesn't matter if the LMS vendor creates a custom feature for specific needs because then customers are on to the next customer feature request and they are still not satisfied. There must be a way to create an LMS that can adapt quickly to rapidly evolving customer needs.

Could a platform approach for an LMS be the answer to better customer satisfaction?

Quite possibly.

Let's take a closer look.

The LMS Platform Approach

What is the LMS platform approach? ServiceRocket defines it as a way of building functionality into an LMS so that other products can be added or integrated to extend the functionality beyond what traditional LMSs do. It saves time and effort from re-inventing products that already exist in the market (like reporting, surveys, and eCommerce tools).

This is important because everyone wins.

Who Benefits from a Platform Approach?

Both customers and software companies benefit from the platform approach because of the flexibility it offers them.

  • Customers get access to the best-in-breed tech solutions that help them achieve their business goals. Customer can also use tools they are already using and just hook those tools into the LMS. 

  • Software companies like it because it saves them time, effort, resources, and money to produce the products their customers want.

LMS customers can then pivot efficiently whenever technology changes or when their business goals change. 

Yet LMS Companies Haven't Embraced It

In the past, LMS companies haven't had to move to a platform approach because they're still making a lot of money with their current crop of products. According to a Brandon Hall LMS survey, nearly half of companies are actively looking to replace their current LMS. They're able to ignore the lost opportunities of subscription income from customers because they're always signing new ones. I guess this is why spending on LMSs will reach $7.83 billion by 2018; they're always buying new solutions when they get annoyed with their existing one!

It's Time to Help LMS Customers with Platforms

While some LMS companies may be too busy counting the revenue from all their new customers, the smart ones will shift their development to a platform approach and start reaping all the customer benefits from it.

Customer Benefits to an LMS Created with a Platform Approach

A simplified LMS workflow for customers: Customers won't have to remember usernames and passwords to seven different training tools they use every day (development, delivery, signups, payment, reporting, etc.)

A customized LMS solutions created just for them: One reason many LMS customers stick with their unsatisfying solution is that they've made so many customizations to it that they fear losing them all if they move to a new tool. An LMS created with a platform approach lets them integrate with whatever software tool they want that gives them the functionality they need. It's integrated efficiently and easily into their LMS, so it lets them work the way they want.

A flexible LMS solution that can change whenever they need it to: In this era of cloud-based SaaS software, many companies switch solutions whenever they find something better. A flexible LMS that's built on the platform approach can seamlessly handle these changes without skipping a beat. And no one's the wiser (except for the tech teams.)

An easy way to integrate robust eCommerce tools to turn training programs into a profitable profit & loss center: That's a critical item for upper management. They want to know how a software solution is going to make them money. With an LMS that uses a platform approach, you can integrate robust eCommerce and finance tools that let you handle the money side of your training business the right way, generating income for your company while giving you tools to bolster training signups like coupons, discounts, and training credits.

An effective way to produce BI reports your way: Not only does upper management want to see how an LMS increases revenues for the company, but they want to see that in useful and configurable reports created just for them. With a platform approach in your LMS, you can integrate it with whatever BI/reporting tool you want to produce the reports you want. Create next-level business intelligence about your training programs and identify successes to celebrate or opportunities to work towards in the future.

Platforms help customers In many different ways

By moving towards a platform LMS, customers are working more efficiently and effectively. It benefits all levels of their organization:

  • Customer education leaders like it because they have better access to information, data, and user interfaces they're already familiar with, making it easier for them to do their jobs.

  • The platform approach also seamlessly integrates with their existing systems and doesn't need a lot of customization or daily maintenance to keep it running. Plus they have access to knowledgeable support if they run into trouble.

  • Management likes it because it gives them access to useable reports that show how training is working for their organization.

LMS software companies also benefit from moving to a platform approach for many of the same reasons. But they also benefit from the increase in subscriptions they'll get because customers are sticking with them. LMS customers will see an increase in their satisfaction with their LMS software because it meets their needs better.

Learn more about Learndot

If you'd like to learn more about the platform approach ServiceRocket takes with it's LMS, Learndot, contact us. We would love to talk about it with you.

Originally published Nov 10, 2016 1:03:00 PM, updated Nov 9, 2016