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Dave Evans


Managing Director

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Where to find the ‘why’ and ‘how’ when considering automation


It’s the age old story really.  You know ‘why’ you need to make the move to automation but it’s just finding time to sit down and work through the ‘how’.    And, of course there is always the cost at the back of your mind, coupled with the fact that you might just forget something along the way.  What you really need is a process or a map to take you through all of the things to consider when seriously starting a search for an automated training management system or an LMS.

We have heard this time and again.  Many training organisations know they need to streamline processes and fully understand the benefits of working on one integrated platform, but it’s the ‘where’ to start that causes procrastination.  I guess it’s human nature, we fully understand what we need to do, but it’s often about putting that first foot forward……..

So, knowing the block, and the way to approach it, we put our heads together and came up with this very simple checklist which we call our ‘Periodic Table of Training Management’.   This nine step infographic checklist breaks down the process helping you to identify what you really should consider, what you really need and what you should avoid.

How to use the Periodic Table of Training Management [infographic]

Training Management System

The starting point. Your business may be ready to embrace automation for the first time or be looking to replace an existing system. Whatever the case may be, this infographic serves as a starting point for establishing what is required and identifying any missing links.   


What is the need for change? This step helps to both identify your key issues as well as assisting in finding the most successful solution. For example, you may be experiencing a period of rapid growth and with it unmanageable and inefficient administration.  This is a common trigger for change and we could cite an example client who following implementation, has steadily increased market share through the use of e-campaigns, online booking and continual upselling.

TOP TIP: Identify the areas that have caused the most issues over a given time period.


There is often many different participants involved in the purchasing process from Administrators through to the Managing Director who all have different priorities, so it’s important to involve them all. Although cost may be at the top of the list for some, it’s not going to be a successful investment if the system users struggle to master the functionality.  Gaining buy-in at all levels is essential for system adoption.  Be willing to compromise and include the needs where possible of all stakeholders throughout your organisation.        

TOP TIP: Have a session with all key stakeholders where each one lists their top 3 requirements.


It is important to consider what type of training your organisation offers.  This could be purely classroom based training, eLearning or 10,000+ capacity events, so finding the best system to deliver that training is top priority.  Explore what existing users of a system use it for, learn what functionality and processes are important to them.  Their experience is invaluable.

TOP TIP: If you offer only one form of training delivery at the moment, don’t limit yourself, you may expand in the future and you need a system that can support multiple types of training and event management.


Having already identified the triggers for change, defining what functionality is business critical and what would be nice to have, should be the next natural step but it is not always that easy.

TOP TIP: Map your current processes, this will allow you to identify gaps and thus refine required functionality.


In the software industry, support is critical and we believe one of the most important areas to investigate. Issues are inevitable and you need to make sure that your supplier is ready and willing to help. And if they are, what hours are they available? Can you speak to a Support Helpdesk member or do you only have the option to log an issue? Will you have one on one support from a dedicated contact?

As well as the all-important after sale support, it is also imperative to discover the support on offer during and after implementation. Will you have a dedicated Project Manager to help you every step of the way? Establish if the supplier offers system training and if this is in person, on the web or through user guides alone. Research suggests that 72% of ERP system implementations fail which is why implementation support is key.

TOP TIP: Don’t scrimp on implementation. In our experience, it is only when a system is embedded into the organisation that the benefits multiply.  


No two businesses are identical.  Sure, the majority of standard functionality suits most training businesses, but look beyond this.  Do they have development facilities.  You may never need this but it’s good to have options as your organisation develops and grows.   And, in addition to any bespoke changes, are there any additional existing features that the supplier already offers? Add-ons such as website integration and the ability to send SMS are becoming increasingly business critical in the training industry.

TOP TIP: When refining your supplier search ask what differentiates them.


Delve into the detail. Information such as historic system uptime, data security and capacity is extremely important and will help to establish the quality of service you can expect.  

TOP TIP: Have your technical person talk to the supplier’s technical contact where they can go into the most relevant details.


You've determined your ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘where’, now it's time to bring it all together.  Compile your business critical must haves then add other consideration such as track record of the supplier (make sure to ask for recommendations and case studies), growth potential (is the solution scalable?) and price (of course - you need to keep the Finance Department happy!). And if you are further along in the buying process and are trying to whittle down your top suppliers, our software comparison chart may be another useful download to consider.

Author Profile Picture
Dave Evans

Managing Director

Read more from Dave Evans

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