Author’s Note:This blog entry is the third in a series I started to capture what I thought were important points from the April 2013 Fredrickson Roundtable for Learning Leaders meeting. The discussion topic of this Roundtable meeting was Building a Better Relationship with your LMS Vendor. Here’s a link to my first entry and the second entry in this series.

The April 2013 Fredrickson Roundtable for Learning Leaders meeting topic addressed the question of how to build a successful relationship with your LMS vendor. The discussion around answering the question on common misconceptions or mistakes made in an LMS purchase or upgrade was quite fruitful. Here’s the list we compiled from that discussion. Notice that the list is affirming – meaning it’s a list of the positive things to look for and do to be successful.

  1. Understand the need for flexibility on both sides.
  2. Approach the question from a solution angle. Ask what do you need it to do, not what problem does this solve?
  3. Allow the vendor to understand your company and business and make an effort to understand theirs.
  4. Ask the salesperson what they know about the system –have used it themselves?
  5. Have a staff that can learn, then know and support the system and can act as interpreters of the business need.
  6. Keep your commitments; if you promise to get back about something then do it.
  7. Don’t make a decision based on the vendor demo. Get into the sandbox and figure out if it really does it.
  8. Recognize and plan for the time it will take to understand how the system works. Make sure more than one person has this understanding.
  9. Implementation doesn’t end when the system goes live; keep the vendor support on-site through at least the first 90 days.
  10. Put good, strong project managers in place – one from the client side and one from the vendor side.
  11. Don’t short change the budget for implementation – do it right up-front and you won’t be sorry.
  12. Make sure you have stakeholder involvement and support and keep management informed using open communication.

What other items belong here? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

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