5 Ways to Optimize Your SumTotal LMS

Mar 31, 2016

5 Ways to Optimize Your SumTotal LMS

As a business customer, a major software launch is always a worrisome time. We are sure we were diligent in our preparations, but there is a nagging uneasiness that something might go wrong. Our careful preparations always made the transition smooth, but there is that small worry that we missed something.

After the nail-biting period is over, it seems it would be time to relax, but the work has just begun. We finished only the first phase of what will be a long journey.

The good news is that the structure you put in place to launch your project will continue to support you in the future. Let us review the project management components that should stay in place indefinitely.

Strategies for Continued Improvement

Strategy Review. Your learning strategy review should be concurrent with the organization strategy review. Even if there is not a strategy change, your tools and methods may change enough that you need to review how to execute the strategy.

The Team. Keep your LMS implementation team together as ad advisory and governance group. During the preparation for launch they became the core of your company-wide team.They know your learning strategy and how your technology supports it. They understand the challenges you face in getting to organizational agility. Gather them together periodically to review comments and suggestions for improvement.

Governance. The governance and decision-making process you put in place should remain so. You will need to adapt to changing business conditions, new technology, and new methods.

Change Management. You can use the communication channels you developed to manage future changes when you upgrade, bring new learning modes onboard, and launch new programs.

Impact Analysis. In your implementation, you established measures for evaluating and reporting the impact of learning on the business. Continue to measure and adjust your metrics, and evaluate the impact of every learning activity in your portfolio.

Optimize the LMS

The first few days after your SumTotal LMS goes live, you probably dealt with issues that came up. Once you have a stable platform, it is time to think about how to get the maximum possible value out of your investment.

We want to give you five recommendations to help you on your way. The first is communication.

1. Keep The Conversation Going

Solicit feedback from your users. Use your private social media site, SharePoint site, or private groups on Facebook or LinkedIn. As you set them up, you may want to create private areas for different user groups. Administrators and managers might not want their foibles to be public, and low-level employees might be less willing to participate if they see managers in the group.

Monitor your feedback site frequently and respond directly to comments and questions. If there is something everyone needs to know, it might be best to repackage it to avoid embarrassing someone who had a hard time figuring out how to do something. Put the responses in a FAQ or Wiki.

Continue to engage in performance conversations with leaders around the organization to learn how changes in programs or new initiatives might help improve performance. Address these issues as resources become available.

2. Monitor Staffing and Training

Stay on top of administrative and support staffing. If possible, set up a notification system so you know in advance when your staffing changes. Keep backup plans in place so you can avoid a service lapse.

Some organizations focus on user training during the initial rollout but become lax over time. This is normal human behavior. We recommend you maintain a scheduled review of your training materials and program and engage regularly in refresher training. A good time to do it is at every SumTotal update release. Your administrators will almost always need some training for the new release, and it should prompt a review of all the support and training assets. If you need support, you can access the Pixentia guides here.

3. Evaluate Updates

Sumtotal makes major updates to the learning platform every year. Each one includes new capabilities and functions. Some new fixes and features are deployed automatically, but some you can enable when you are ready. Evaluate the impact of each of the optional features before you enable them. When new features have a positive impact on your organization, use your change management communication channels to leverage the improvement.

4. Integrate the Enterprise

SumTotal has an extensive Application Program Interface (API) library for many types of integrations. As you work with Sumtotal LMS, you may find opportunities where it may be smart to connect to other business applications. Applications like succession planning, performance management, and customer relationship management can benefit from integration with SumTotal. Consider also the benefits of extending learning to your partners and distribution channels.

If you have not already done so, you may wish to integrate with SkillSoft or another content provider. You may want to set up a connection to a MOOC. If you have remote locations, you can use SumTotal to connect directly with online remote training platforms like Webex and GoToTraining.

5. Participate in the Sumtotal Community

Become an active member of the SumTotal Community. Share your experience with others, and ask questions about how other organizations use SumTotal to best advantage. You or your users can enter suggestions that will improve the software for everyone. Scan through existing suggestions and upvote those that are important to you.          

                                 Sumtotal_community_IC.jpg         sumtotal_lms_users_IB.png  

    Sumtotal User Group           Sumtotal Community

Focus on the Future

Your organization will continue to evolve, and other events that can impact your learning system will occur. Your enterprise learning platform will need to adapt to changing business needs, and your capabilities will increase as SumTotal improves. Keep your strategy roadmap up to date. Give your executive team a good indication of where you are headed and how you will continue to realize value from your SumTotal investment.

Pixentia is a full-service technology company dedicated to helping clients solve business problems, improve the capability of their people, and achieve better results. 

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