Build or Buy Training Software?

20 minute read

How to evaluate your next learning tech investment

Configurable + Scalable Training Software is Possible

Your training operations are complex. So, you need a solution to handle the complexity. Evaluate your options with this checklist.

Most of the learning teams we talk to want a solution that can keep pace with the complexity of their training operations. You’ve been burned by legacy software, tools that don’t scale, and a disconnected mess of a tech stack.

So, you start to look at building something internally with IT resources, something you can control, or you seek a bought solution, but those can lack configurability and resilience to change. So, finding out where to begin can be daunting.

That’s why we put together this checklist and guide – to help your team evaluate your options. It’s based on real conversations we have with training and development teams.

In this guide, explore:

  • How to contextualize the decision of making a learning tech investment.
  • The importance of identifying the workflows and stakeholders involved in the process of determining how this software will influence the impact of training.
  • The keys to ensuring your investment is future-proof to uncertainty and built to be agile enough to scale rapidly when needed.

The Inflection Point: Is the Solution Future-Proof?

Integrated to Drive Results?

Solutions that are deeply integrated with learning and business systems provide powerful analytics to help training teams forecast future opportunities.

Built to Adapt

Can the software adapt to your use case? Your needs will change over time. Consider the configurability you’ll need, so your flexibility isn’t limited later.

Automated to Streamline?

Automation drives efficiency. Chances are your team relies on manual processes to connect tools currently. Make sure automation is integral to your solution.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Building training software internally can be a good solution because you can ensure the software provides a good chunk of the requirements you set out to fulfill. You can outline your pain points into clear deliverables and work with your IT and engineering teams to figure out solutions. However, building software also comes with upkeep and an upfront cost of investing time and resources into the origination of the project. Does your IT team have the bandwidth to start a project, consistently make updates, and make sure the software is configurable to the challenges you’ll face in the future? When you buy software, the roadmap for future improvements and the upkeep of the software lands on the vendor you’ve chosen.

Take a hard look at the workflows of your current training operations, and decompose those workflows and processes into a list of pain points. Once you have those pain points, you can begin to craft a narrative of solutions you’ll want to achieve with your new learning tech. You won’t solve all of the pain points, but some of them can at least be made more efficient, and you’ll also get a better sense of the solutions you absolutely must have, and the ones you’re willing to forego in order to lean into simplicity and efficiency.

There are likely to be many key stakeholders involved in the process, from IT, to Compliance, to Finance, to Procurement, to key business leaders who have a stake in the game from an organizational impact standpoint. Identifying who to involve depends on what you’re looking to accomplish with your learning system decision. However, consider the functions of the business your learning system will impact. Is there a technical aspect to consider? Who are the champions within your business who have the skillset to lead software implementation? Will it impact reporting capabilities, or change the way you provide information about your training to external stakeholders? Outlining key stakeholders, both internally and externally, will help you to drive a successful software implementation project.

Discover how to evaluate your next learning tech investment