LMS: Evolution or Extinction: 8 Trends That Change Everything (Part 2 of 8): Extended Enterprise LMS

Trend #2: Extended Enterprise LMS

While most companies (71%) still use their learning management system (LMS) mainly for employee training (see chart below), the globalization and increased competition have led to the rise in the number of partner relationships, distributor and reseller networks, franchises, and contractors, and consequently the need for a centralized learning solution for the whole extended enterprise.


Centralized training and certification management allows companies to keep product and service quality consistent across the whole value chain.

At the same time the increasingly strict and continually changing regulatory environment has created a need for compliance management across the whole value chain, especially in highly regulated industries.

The delivery of training, licensing, and certification programs to external channels increases partner, customer, and end-user engagement, satisfaction and product usage. It is the most cost-efficient way to bring external stakeholders to the same level of competency and product knowledge as the internal employees.

By creating customized and branded learning portals, companies can provide engaging learning experiences for different audiences across the extended enterprise. Mobile solutions also allow the contractors, such as sales agents, to take training in a flexible way, at the point of need, even when not connected to the Internet.

High-quality training, certification management, and the ability to measure KPIs across the whole value chain can have a direct impact on an organization’s business performance. Learning in the extended enterprise should also be an interactive process. For example, the dealership network is able to give valuable insights from buyers and market when the LMS supports such collaboration.

To measure performance against defined KPIs using advanced analytics tools, reports can be segmented by learner group, whether they consist of internal employees, partners, suppliers, or dealers.

When thinking about using an LMS for the extended enterprise, security management needs to be taken into account. A compliance-focused LMS can support central management of security with features such as access and password control, version control, workflow management, e-signatures, as well as audit trails of all activities.

What to consider for your LMS in terms of the extended enterprise:

  • Portals, branding, and personalization
  • E-commerce capabilities
  • Security
  • A new role of the LMS
    • Revenue generation
    • Quality management
    • Documentation distribution
    • Partner certifications
    • Analytics

Given these considerations, can you leverage the same LMS investment for both internal & external audiences?

This is the second of an eight-part series on LMS: Evolution or Extinction — 8 Trends that Change Everything.

Compliance matters

The Guardian, one of my favorite UK newspapers, just released an excellent, frightening article on Mexican drug cartels laundering money through an American bank, Wachovia. The drug money ended up in a lot of different places after winding its way through Mexican Casas de Cambio (money exchange and transfer services), the City of London and the world’s money laundering capital, Miami Florida.

One statistic that caught my eye was the amount of unchecked money Wachovia shifted from 2004 until the bank got caught out in 2010 — some US$378.4 billion, more than $4 billion of which Wachovia moved in cash. Some part of that total (the full numbers may never be known) was in effect, according to the Guardian, “no questions asked” banking services for drug dealers.

You can find the article here.

Synergy 2011

We just finished our start-of-the-year meetings in Hong Kong, Synergy 2011. Our resellers, who showed up in force, came from all over the world (you can find a list of NetDimensions resellers here).

Our resellers are a powerful, variegated group with clients large and small and up to the minute insights. They had a lot to say. I’ll share a couple of points that impressed me and give you a heads up on what our community is doing today and planning to do for the rest of the year.

In no particular order of importance:

Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated said the LMS

learn-blocksRecently, NetDimensions invited a panel of very smart people to discuss a provocative question: Is the LMS Dead?

The panelists were Charles Jennings, Craig Weiss, David Wilson and Richard Nantel, all very articulate and all more than a little opinionated. I moderated, which mostly meant I tried to stay out of their way.

It was great.

We were overwhelmed by the number of comments and questions we received during the webinar. Unfortunately we had no time to answer all of the questions during the event.

We know it’s important to get to those answers, as well as explore further some of the topics raised, so we are organizing a tweet chat session for you to talk to the panelists directly on Twitter.

On December 7th, at 8:00am PT / 11:00am ET / 4:00pm GMT, all our panelists will be on Twitter for 60 minutes to discuss the future of the LMS.

Just logon to Twitter and use the hashtag #lmschat to join the discussion with Richard (@rnantel), Craig (@diegoinstudio), David (@dwil23), Charles (@charlesjennings) and your fellow attendees.

The revolution has begun

mEKP_logo_finalRecently we introduced a new product, mEKP. It’s different. mEKP gives you the power to carry gigabytes of technical documentation, learning, career and personal development support, licensing and certification records, podcasts, video and a whole lot more — all in your pocket.

It’s secure. It’s multi-platform. It is, as Brandon Hall says, disruptive. This particular revolution began quietly but make no mistake, it’s already making waves. Think of this scenario — 2,500 teachers in a poor country, each with a mEKP stick giving her or him a year’s worth of professional development training, daily lesson plans, class handouts, various kinds of support collateral — all without Internet connections to the schools.

Change happens. We think (we hope) we’re contributing to some good change in the world.

Click here for more.