Are you weighing your LMS options and need some help choosing between cloud-based and locally installed solutions? In this article, I’ll highlight 7 surprising benefits of self-hosted Learning Management Systems.
7 Self-Hosted LMS Benefits We Tend To Overlook
Instead of relying on cloud-based servers, locally installed LMS solutions are hosted right on your company’s server. Are they a wise investment for your online training program, though? Is it really worth the upfront costs? Or would your organization be better off with an online LMS solution? Let’s explore 7 often overlooked benefits of self-hosted learning management systems.
1. Greater Customizability
Self-hosted LMS solutions typically offer more customization features. For example, you can customize various aspects of your user dashboard and fully integrate branding into online training material. Many cloud-based LMSs allow you to personalize your platform to a certain degree, but self-hosted solutions tend to offer a lot more options.
In most cases, it’s also easier and less time-consuming to customize your platform from the ground up, which allows you to deliver a consistent brand image through your online training content.
2. Implement Your Own Data Security Measures
Most LMS solutions offer some level of data security. They each have their own protocols in place to ensure that your information stays safe. However, a self-hosted online training platform allows you to apply extra security measures. For example, you’re able to limit user access to specific sections of the platform, or establish a more advanced encryption system to keep hacking at bay.
3. Lower Continual Costs
One of the self-hosted LMS downsides that most people mention is higher upfront costs. In the case of a cloud-based LMS, you typically pay as you go, which involves monthly or yearly subscription fees.
These platforms, on the other hand, are generally a one-off purchase. You pay for the licensing, which grants you unlimited access to the system. Granted, there are upgrade and add-on costs to consider. However, locally installed LMS solutions usually have lower continual costs.
4. In-House Team Has Full Control
Your team has total control over the Learning Management System and can personalize it however they wish. For example, your IT staff is able to modify certain aspects of the platform to make it suit your needs.
That said, many self-hosted options offer the best of both worlds, in that you can sign up for additional support services. For example, if your IT team is unable to solve the problem, you can call upon their trained specialists to help. In fact, you might consider an ongoing support package if the LMS vendor provides this service.
5. Full System Integration
You must be able to fully integrate the new system with your current tools and other related software. Otherwise, you have to foot the bill for replacement tools or overcome the tech obstacles that arise from incompatible software. A self-hosted LMS gives you the power to merge all your tools seamlessly.
6. You Set The Storage Capacity
A self-hosted LMS gives you the power to choose how much data you can store and where you store it, instead of adhering to cloud-based CAPs and their remote servers. However, you should still back your data up on a secondary server, in case of emergency.
7. Easier To Budget Online Training Expenses
Once you get past the initial costs, you have to worry about skyrocketing monthly subscription fees, which might be the case for certain cloud-based LMS solutions.
With a self-hosted training platform, it’s much easier to calculate an accurate online training budget. For example, you’re able to plan ahead for regular maintenance fees and upgrades over time. This leads to better resource allocation and improved online training Return On Investment.
3 Tips To Find The Best Self-Hosted LMS For Your Organization
If you have decided to switch to a self-hosted solution, there are still a few things to consider. Here are a few tips to help you make a better (and safer) choice.
1. Try Before You Buy
An LMS that supports self-hosting is an investment. For this reason, you need to do your homework and test drive your top choices. Determine whether the User Interface is user-friendly and the features are worth the price.
This also gives you the chance to see if the support services are up to par. For instance, does the LMS have a thriving user forum? Are you able to quickly contact the tech team to get help with a glitch?
Many LMS providers offer free trials and demos with no strings attached. Make sure to compile a list of questions during the test period and address them with the LMS vendor before making your purchase. You don’t want a bad case of buyer’s regret after you’ve signed on the dotted line.
2. Make The Selection Process A Team Effort
Every member of your team should be involved in the LMS decision-making process. Particularly, those who will use the tool on a regular basis to develop and set up online training resources.
Invite them to test out the system and provide feedback. Ask them about the overall user experience, and if they found the features useful. You can also ask for recommendations, as they might already have a few top choices of their own.
3. Set A Realistic Budget
It’s true that it’s easier to set a budget with a self-hosted LMS. However, you must make sure to account for all expenses, not just the upfront fee.
Think about the ongoing maintenance, content development costs, and upgrades you’ll have to purchase in the future. This will help you calculate the most accurate cost of ownership and avoid spending more than you can afford in the long term. Request a detailed estimate from the LMS vendor, so that you’re able to add everything up and choose the best LMS for the money.
As you can see, self-hosted Learning Management Systems come with a lot of perks for your company. They allow you to customize virtually every aspect of your LMS platform, give you the chance to perform your safety measures and integrate the system with existing compatible tools. Though the upfront costs may be higher, you may save money in the long run.
These are just a few of the benefits you earn by choosing a self-hosted LMS. Are you considering moving to a self-hosted Learning Management System? We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments.
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