HRMS or Learning Management Systems: Which to Choose?

Here’s a question: is having a separate learning management system still a viable option? Given the never-ending trend for integration, greater connection, data-sharing, Big Data, human capital management, HR analytics, and so on and so forth, it’s desirable, even essential that your LMS be a seamless part of your wider HR IT strategy. What’s more, a truly sophisticated LMS will tap into your performance management module, not to mention onboarding, time and attendance, payroll even, and the simplest route to efficiency is using HRMS learning management, right? Well, maybe, maybe not.

The difficulty with the easy route is that it limits you to the HRMS vendor’s idea of what you should have (or need) in terms of learning management functionality. The stand-alone best of breed option is more likely to give you flexibility and opportunities for bespoke features… but also a number of integration headaches as a trade-off.

Three Niches

As the LMS market has developed over the last few years, system functionality has divided and arguably (at least, according to some convincing Bersin & Associates research) there are now three broad niches in which developers are operating.

The first is the talent management system, incorporating not just learning and development but also talent acquisition, workforce planning, reward and recognition, and career and succession strategies. More sophisticated than the old-style course directory and booking package, IT-enabled talent management seeks to integrate individual and corporate learning with your business objectives and future strategies.

The second is the leveraging of social media and collaboration. Whether it’s via external routes (including but not limited to the usual triumvirate of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) or the setting up of an internal social platform hosted on your organization’s own servers, collaboration is the current buzzword in learning.

The third niche is catering to various specialist industries and their particular legislative and compliance needs; such as healthcare or legal.

Certainly for the first two development directions, a whole new set of integration issues arises and while logic says a learning management module within your HRMS should be better placed to deliver, that’s not necessarily the case. It’s entirely possible that for your needs, the best of breed specialist vendors (traditionally more agile in terms of development and focus) are still currently the best bet for cutting edge learning management.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall