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Should You Build or Buy Your LMS?

by Simple Learning System | August 17, 2023

Should You Build or Buy Your LMS?

Should You Build or Buy Your LMS?

by Simple Learning System | August 17, 2023

An estimated 73.8 million people use learning management software, with the estimated global market projected to reach $25.7 billion by 2025. Needless to say, it is a rapidly expanding market that many businesses abroad are starting to utilize. From education to corporate training, LMS software is integral to organized and efficient online learning paths.

However, it can take time to decide whether you should build and tailor your LMS yourself or if you should hire a company or developer to do it for you. Let us break down the pros and cons for you and make the decision on whether to build or buy, well… Simple.

Building Your Own LMS

Right off the bat, unless you are an experienced developer or have a team of trained developers, building an LMS from scratch will be very time-consuming and difficult. Of course, it’s not impossible, and it can even be beneficial if you have particular requirements for what you are hoping to achieve with your LMS.

However, with great power comes great responsibility. Managing learning software of your own, even with a team, can become very time-consuming. Not only is the construction of the software going to take time (and money), but once it’s finished, the work doesn’t end. Any glitches, errors, or other complaints that you may receive, you have to fix yourself. Depending on how many users you have and how complicated your software is, this could range anywhere from a quick 10-minute fix to other solutions that take weeks, if not months, to tackle.

Cost is another crucial aspect to consider. Controlling every aspect of your LMS can do wonders for organizing your branding and the language you want to convey. However, there are a lot of hidden costs associated with running an LMS that business owners should be aware of. You will most likely have to pay out of pocket for:

  • New hardware, server hosting, and infrastructure
  • Scaling capacity and accessibility as your business grows
  • Upgrading your LMS to keep up with best program practices
  • Maintenance and updating software/integrations
  • Loss of time/money during upgrades/updates
  • The cost in person-hours to develop the software
  • Advertising your software/website
  • 3rd party plugins/analytics

Depending on the size of your LMS, the specific costs that will be required to complete it will vary. If you hire an agency or build your team, you are looking at around $80-$300 per hour for the build, which can add up fast. For the first two months of work, you are looking at a sum of about $30,000 - $120,000, which doesn’t include server maintenance and hosting costs. On average, that can cost about $50-220 per hour after your system is fully operational.

It goes without saying, building your own LMS can get costly and time-consuming in no time. Though you may have full creative control and freedom and can organize it as precisely as you want, this may lead to more problems down the road, especially if it’s your first time. However, purchasing LMS software doesn’t have to mean sacrificing this liberty and authority over how you want your program to work.

Buying LMS Software

The most overwhelming difference between buying and building your own custom LMS comes down to time and money, plain and simple. Buying an LMS, hands down, will save you 100% of the time you would have spent building your own, and there are plenty of affordable options available today as well.

With all the options that are available, the prices and bundles you can get also can range greatly. Typically there are five standard pricing models that most LMS systems abide by and offer. They are:

  1. Perpetual license - one-time cost
  2. Pay-per-user - a flat charge for each learner
  3. Pay-per-course - learners pay for access to each course (or per enrollment)
  4. Subscription - a set license fee that gives access for a set period, either monthly or annually
  5. Quote-based-pricing - where the LMS vendor creates a custom fee based on the needs of the individual LMS/company

It’s always a good idea to compare and contrast the different quotes that you may get from different agencies like you would for any significant investment. Though it’s safe to say nine times out of 10, these prices will always be lower than building your own.

Moreover, custom builds are still 100% possible when buying an LMS “off-the-shelf.” A custom-designed learning model is needed to provide a solid foundation for your content and software. All training looks different, and the specific modules and information need to be tailored to support that learning. Moreover, even if you can’t have pixel-perfect customization, third-party applications, and plugins are also available to help with specific needs that an LMS provider might not be able to include.

Once it’s all set up and running correctly for your company, the best part begins, being hands-free. You will probably have meetings and correspondence with your LMS provider to make updates or changes as needed, but maintenance should be completely taken care of. Unless there are vital issues with your site, you can rest assured that your LMS will run smoothly and properly without much need for interference on your part.

When your business is scaling, the need for new departments, products, and services grows, and with that, more training is required to ensure your team works cohesively and appropriately. Though building your own LMS might be a more approachable idea on paper, the reality and financial investment can become overwhelming. If you have the experience and team to support a custom build, the result has the potential to be a unique, interactive solution for your team. However, if anything goes wrong, you have to bear the cost and time to fix the issues. On the other hand, purchasing an LMS can be a wise strategic and financial decision for newer professionals in the space. You not only save yourself time and money but still have the opportunity to customize your content for your team without sacrificing functionality.

Curious how an LMS can work for your business? Schedule a demo today, and let us make the decision Simple.

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Schedule a personalized demo

Simple LMS is highly versatile and can be implemented to deploy training for organizations in several different industries, including government, corporate, medical, non-profit, education, and more.

Want to see how simple learning can be? Schedule a personalized demo of Simple LMS and explore our innovative learning management system

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