Are you looking for a new learning and talent management system? It’s important to find out why before you begin to even vet vendors. We’ve whittled down our list of strategies to help you look at what you need and how to get it. It’s not a one-and-done. It will take time to look at your business needs in-depth and in an informed way, so you can update technology to support them.
1 - Understand your business goals
So, ask yourself: What are my business needs, and what is changing? Am I looking into new markets or trying to drive growth?
Is your technology robust enough to get you there? Is there a way to use process in technology to meet your business needs?
Is it time for renewal? Are you satisfied with the solutions that are already in place?
There may be other reasons, too, of course. Is there someone in the c-suite who wants a change? Someone at the top has decided to switch out the players in the game. There may be engaging and interesting solutions that seem like they will bring your organization success—we call that “shiny toy syndrome” but it can also drive a change to your tech selection. While it’s great to have an eye on new technology, it’s not always the best fit. Tech is often seen as the go-to for fixing what’s “wrong” in the business, but it doesn’t fix business issues or process problems.
You could also be getting pressure from IT to streamline technology. It could save money, but does it make your processes more convoluted or frustrating? Weigh those pros and cons now.
2 - Avoid common pitfalls
Platform commoditization. Are all platforms really the same? Lots of vendors offer similar systems and services, and without looking closely, it’s easy to think they are all the same. They could have small differences that make large impacts on your business.
Is it the right time? It’s not a cost-free endeavor. With a huge push of time and resources, it can be costly. Spend some time to review your processes so you aren’t trying to fix process issues with technology. Early efforts might save you hours, funds, and peace of mind down the line.
Not looking far enough into the future. When reviewing training technology needs, it’s important to think five to seven years into the future. What teams will you need that you don’t have now? What’s on the radar that can take up resources that you need to plan for? If you don’t future-proof now, you will be in the position of always needing to keep things updated.
3 - Answer the hard questions with “I have a plan”
What are the business drivers? The need for training is not a business driver, but why you are training them IS. While it’s related to “why are you wanting to make a change” it is also an understanding of how the new tech will impact your business. What are the results you are planning for with the new tech? What do you expect the outcomes of training a thousand employees to be? What’s your plan?
Do you understand the learning and talent objectives? What’s the focus that’s really important to your organization? Will that focus tie back to the drivers?
4 - Know How to Compare Technologies
Find the most critical pieces of the technology you are reviewing and find their true differences. Can that technology provide the services you really need? You need to know the answer to that in advance of making the decision. Those differentiating requirements are key.
Vendors are always going to try and find ways to help us be successful but in all different ways. What are the ways that REALLY matter to your business outcomes? Slow down and ask specific questions of your vendors, questions, and concerns that affect your group specifically.
What’s the focus? Is it on the learners, the managers, or the admins? Know the answer, and ask the vendor if they can accommodate those needs.
Pricing isn’t the only weight, even though costs are always in the balance. There needs to be a good fit that hits specific goals and needs, and that can go beyond the “best” price. Why would a more expensive system be less costly? What’s onboarding like: easy to implement, will the users struggle less? Nothing is more expensive than a system no one will use.
5 - Once you’ve made your selection, you’ve only just begun
Understand what successful implementation looks like. Defined goals can help measure success here. Is success meeting a deadline? Does the workforce need to adopt or engage sooner or better? Get a timeline down for success in three months, six months, and a few years down the road.
You will also need to pull back for a bird’s-eye view of operational success after implementation two to five years later. Can staff do the work you need to do efficiently and effectively? Is the business you are supporting getting what they need from you? This is where data-driven metrics will truly weigh outcomes that help determine whether new technology meets the business need.
With organizations always changing, it’s important to stay current with technology and processes. Future needs will change, and it can be difficult to see them now. (Who expected a business and life-altering pandemic?) But it’s a long-term process that can take incremental analysis and corrections.
So, what’s next?
In your pursuit of planning for learning and talent technology, here are a couple of bonus tips:
Negotiate. Utilize the information you have to get the best deal from your vendors. It’s up to you to make sure your needs are being met. Pricing, functionality, other integrations, or tiered/white glove options could be in the mix, so why not find out what works best for you and see which vendors are most accommodating.
Build a business case and track ROI. Once you’ve selected a vendor, make sure you understand the journey. Write down what’s important and find a way to measure successful outcomes. Even if this technology works, there might still be missing gaps and you’ll need to keep track of what worked and what didn’t.
Interested in learning more about Learning & Talent Technology?
Feel free to reach out to us directly!