Selecting an LMS: Vendor Selection Methodology

Comparing what you need with what’s available in the marketplace is the key to finding the right product. In the August issue of Elearning! Magazine, I discussed the enterprise “needs analysis” phase that leads up to the creation of an RFP (Request for Proposal). In that phase, we went through a process that identified our needed functionality, which could range from e-commerce to global calendars and languages. In turn, these functional requirements became our statement of business needs in the RFP. In this segment, we’ll be looking at two approaches to compare vendor solutions: 1)  weighted “best-fit” comparisons; and 2)  proof-of-concepts or “bake-offs” Although each of these topics could consume multiple chapters, this article will highlight the general approach for each of these methods. ‘BEST FIT’ METHODOLOGY This is my recommended approach. It weighs all of an enterprise’s needs together, and yields a “bestfit” selection. To help you understand this approach, I’ll use a non-LMS example. Assume that you have to choose between three jobs. As you think through these opportunities, you find yourself vacillating between each job. By using this “best-fit” methodology, you can create a mathematical model to choose the job that’s right for you. First, you need to construct a list of criteria or requirements that are important to you. In this example, your criteria might have to do with career opportunities, salary, location, and other criteria. Next, populate the spreadsheet as shown below, with the criteria in the first column. In the next column weight each of your criteria on a scale of 1 to 10. Third, rate how each job satisfies your “need criteria” on a scale of 1 to 10. Lastly, multiply those numbers to get a value for each criterion for each job. For example, Job #3 yields the highest “total value” for “salary,” and Job #2 is the lowest. When you then add up all of the “total values” for each job, you create a “best fit score” that points you to the best selection. In this case, Job #1 is the “best fit” for you:

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