Mark Twain once remarked, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” The Huckleberry Finn author probably wasn’t talking about software selection when he said it, but he could have been.
Here at Capterra, we love top 20 lists. We realize, however, it’s important to make sure buyers out there have the same insight as we do when it comes to using these lists in your LMS software search.
In a post covering the methodology behind our top 20 lists, Mike Ortner makes the case for not relying on short lists or top 20 lists as the only way to to find the right software.
The more sensible way would be to begin with a longer list of market leaders and narrow that down based on your requirements. Then, proceed to find other alternatives that may be lesser known but possibly a better match for your overall needs. There are some great products that are either too new or too niche to have a high market share, receive high marks in a Gartner or Forrester report, or win any sort of popularity contest.
Because they are populated with solutions targeted at the “masses,” the problem with top lists lies in the fact that these more popular solutions are not necessarily going to appeal to your industry if you are a smaller or more niche organization.
Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t choose a software featured on a top 20 list if you’re a smaller organization, but these top lists shouldn’t be the place you start your search. As Mike said above, it’s extremely important to do your own due diligence and conduct your own research first.
Below are three reasons why you shouldn’t rely on lists of the most popular software during your search for the perfect LMS.
1. Top lists favor larger companies
Both software vendors, and the companies who use these more popular solutions, tend to be more enterprise sized companies since typically top or most popular lists include vendors with the highest number of customers and users.
While this means the vendor is doing something right with so many customers and users, keep in mind they are ‘appealing to the masses.’ If you are smaller or more niche, these solutions may not offer the specific functionality you need.
2. Top lists are not targeted at niche markets
The solutions included in these lists are more generic – either targeted at academic or corporate institutions. If your organization has a very specific training process, is in the medical training field, or another specialty, you may find your perfect software isn’t featured on a top list.
The good news, according to Phil Hill, is:
Another trend that is becoming apparent is that many of the new offerings are not attempting to fully replace the legacy LMS, at least all at once. Rather than competing with all of the possible features that are typical in enterprise LMS solutions, the new platforms appear to target specific institutional problems and offer only the features needed.
3. It’s only the tip of the Iceberg
Finally, one of the biggest reasons a top 20 list is not the best place to find the right LMS for your organization is the fact that these lists are only the tip of the iceberg. With nearly 500 solutions to choose from on the market, you don’t want to limit yourself to only 20 before you even start.
A 2012 Brandon Hall report said 47% of people in their survey were considering switching their LMS. Don’t put yourself in that boat by missing the best LMS for your organization because you didn’t get the full picture.
You can avoid the iceberg effect by:
- Checking out blog posts written by teachers or trainers who are working in your field (don’t just rely on the company’s sales team).
- Checking out LMS software directories that help you narrow down options by the features you are looking for.
- Looking for companies with a high number of positive customer reviews.
- Joining groups on LinkedIn to get feedback from others in the space.
So, what about you – How is the LMS software search going for your organization? Are you taking a look at multiple options? Let us know what is or isn’t working for you in the comments below.
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