It’s All in the Architecture: Sustainable Customization™ in Learning Technology
I’m really excited about making the Trainingindustry.com Learning Portal Watchlist! Creating high-value, custom solutions for our clients is what we’re all about, so our success is definitely a reflection on our corporate training clients because our LMS is driven by them. It really couldn’t work any other way since a custom-tailored LMS is our primary offering. And it’s our architecture that allows us to operate in a client-driven, custom-tailored model.
Have you ever been on that proverbial fence planted between two undesirable choices: 1) making compromises to adapt your business processes to an LMS that was designed for the masses, or, 2) getting some customizations done that are expensive and will probably also leave you with a difficult upgrade path for new product enhancements? Our clients have, and that’s how we ended up entering the LMS market in the first place – at their request.
When we decided to take on the challenge, we knew we had to develop a model that allowed us to custom-tailor an LMS to each individual client’s needs, but do it in a way that maintained the product integrity, and that didn’t cost an arm and a leg to deliver. Isn’t the ideal something like this?:
- an LMS that does what we want it to do; that fits our own needs,
- a short delivery cycle,
- a reasonable price, and
- something that isn’t such a one-off from the product that we can’t benefit from new product enhancements.
With this vision in mind, we decided to come up with a third alternative, so we architected our LMS in layers that allow our clients to have all of the benefits of custom software (custom look and feel, unique business processes), while still staying aligned with the core product (easy upgrades of new enhancements). We call this Sustainable Customization™. There’s no reason to choose between two bad alternatives when you can have it all.
Things are always changing. It seems like every year (if not every month) brings some new learning technology innovation or business trend that may actually improve how learning affects performance. But how do LMSs get new feature sets without a rebuild that takes a lot of time and a lot of money? This is another challenge our clients have brought to us, and once again our answer is in our architecture. Our architecture is designed with “placeholders” for future cool stuff, which means we can add new feature sets to our core product without a major upset or rebuilding of the product. So our clients can quickly and easily adopt the new stuff without it being a big project and the product stability stays is intact. Based on what our clients tell us, other vendors don’t think that way, which means they have to rebuild the LMS in order to give you those cool, new enhancements you want and you know what that means in terms of time and budget.