SharePoint LMS - A Microsoft SharePoint based Training solution made right!
February 18, 2014

SharePoint LMS - A Microsoft SharePoint based Training solution made right!

Thomas Runds | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Review Source

Software Version

SharePoint LMS and modules (REM, CCM) for SP2013

Modules Used

  • SPLSM, REM, CCM

Overall Satisfaction

SharePoint LMS (Learning Management System) is used normally as a tool for the training department to create, track and deliver training. HR or similar functions can use it for competency, skill and certification management and the course catalog module makes it easy to promote courses to users. If the company is smaller and does not have a dedicated training department, divisions or departments can utilize it in their own space. SharePoint LMS delivers online training, can be used to schedule and deliver class room based training and of course hybrid setups where SharePoint LMS is used as a substitution of the class room. SharePoint LMS is cost effective as it sits on top of SharePoint, means companies already invested in the Microsoft stack, especially SharePoint benefit greatly not only from and end-user point of view, but as well from an operational point of view. While using the LMS portion, SharePoint can be used to deliver all its strongpoint as well. SharePoint can be used as an Intranet Portal, an Extranet Portal, can handle your project needs, you company wide search desires, can solve business challenges buy projecting your process into databases and workflows, it even helps with the social aspect of your company, making people work better together.

What can be better than adding the capabilities of creating, delivering and tracking training to your company, employees, partners, students than utilizing a familiar platform, a familiar technology, a broadly used software?
  • From an operational point of view (if you have SP already):
  • Leverage your Investment
  • Familiar, already implemented core technology (e.g. Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft SQL)
  • Minimal software license investment
  • Existing Hardware / Software (can sit on top of your current SP environment, add servers when needed)
  • Utilize established processes (Disaster recovery, backup, indexing, authentication)
  • Minimal expansion of support staff
  • Save training and retooling cost
  • Familiar interface, tools and ability to leverage existing content
  • If you do not have SharePoint already:
  • A broad, feature reach core product which can be used almost everywhere in the company
  • Flexible Design
  • Supports multiple LMS setups, delivered out of one SP farm
  • Easy to setup, scale, maintain and support
  • Low support needs
  • Used by almost everybody in all industries
  • Some specific LMS features which stand out:
  • SharePoint LMS has a very rich and mature feature and function portfolio
  • Same if not more functions and features are available in SharePoint LMS,compared to industry leading pure LMS solution providers
  • Easy to extend. From end user changing look and feel, or creating apps to super user capabilities to reflect business processes to full fledged development possibilities
  • A powerful Quiz engine
  • SCORM, AICC compatibility
  • and so much more
  • Connectivity to other system is always a must ...
  • Active Directory Integration
  • Inside and outside Firewall access
  • Claims Based Authentication
  • SSRS for Advanced Reporting
  • Lync 2010 / 2013 integration for screen sharing, white boarding, presence
  • O365 integration
  • ADFS integration
  • CRM and SAP integration possible
  • There is more to do on the Competency and Skill management site of the product, to make the use even broader for a company.
  • As soon as TinCan is quasi accepted, SharePoint LMS will have to adopt it in their core product as an extension to SCROM, AICC, LRM and of course their native course content and delivery options
  • Knowledge Management, Collaboration is a well used term today, maybe already to well used. However, without an effective Knowledge Management and Collaboration strategy with the company we find ourselves in an increasing difficult position to be successful in the market. Training as a company strategy becomes more and more important as only through training:
  • We can increase knowledge of employees
  • We can ensure certain information is distributed and understood
  • Compliance is being established, delivered and measured
  • We can maintain knowledge and spread it to others
  • The company becomes more agile
  • Training might be as well of a company interest as a tool used outside the company
  • Training can be offered to others (e.g. customer and clients) as a support or sales tool
  • Training can be sold to others (partners)
Throughout my career I came across many different solutions for Knowledge and Collaboration and LMS systems. This includes Lotus Notes, Documentum, Live Link, LMS solutions from Oracle, ADP, another SharePoint based solution. Many years back, with the intro of Microsoft SharePoint, I was drawn to that product and solutions based on SharePoint.

SharePoint is very powerful and in it current version, 2013, it is the without a doubt the most feature rich and broad solution platform out there. SharePoint LMS is in my eyes a killer application and if a company, institution or educational entity looks to create, expand, change up their training efforts for employees, customer, partners, students, SharePoint LMS is the tool to look at. If you have SharePoint already installed, it is a must look at, period.

SharePoint LMS became the tool of choice, I recommended when I was a consultant, when I worked as a Director for Learning Management Systems at a local University. I am now part of a team which not only sells, but as well consults around SharePoint LMS.
It is very simple for me: As I said, I am (we are) selling and consulting around SharePoint LMS. SharePoint LMS is a killer application which needs to be in every company which has a vision and mission to deliver and create knowledge. So you can say Thomas (me) is biased, but I only encourage you to check out the solution to hear what we have to say and stack our solution against the other solutions out there.
If a customer does not have SharePoint the entry in that kind of solution is a bit harder as the use of SharePoint can be so broad.
It does not mean it is not the right solution as a company can use SharePoint LMS to start with and then expand to other functions and features.

I strongly recommend to use SharePoint Standard or Enterprise and forgo the "free" SharePoint version as a) SharePoint's core functions and features are greatly enhanced in these two premium versions and b) more and more SharePoint LMS functions make use of these core Standard and Enterprise features in the future, like taxonomy, user profiles, etc.

In general with all project it is as well recommended to have the full buy in by upper management and that the project initiative is fully supported. Adding such a solution (SharePoint LMS or any other LMS solution) will require the team not only to have a good plan on how the requirements can be achieved from a technical point of view, but how a training program can be rolled out to an organization of 5, 500, 5.000 or 50.000. The technical deployment of SharePoint LMS is measurable (I would say between 1-4 weeks based on the complexity, scale of the environment). 1-2 weeks of training (depending on the base knowledge of SharePoint in the company and the need to add knowledge of SharePoint LMS). That's it. Technically you are ready. If needed, any custom work, integration and development work comes on top. Where customer struggle is the availability and dedication of their own teams. Course content needs to be created, how should a course look like, what are the parameters, what are top ten things needed moving a course which was taught in a class room, but now to be delivered online.

Buying the licenses is one thing, getting the solution up and running form a technical point of view is another, making it YOURS is the challenge!