Are You Compromising On Learning Innovation?


The rapid momentum of technological advancement means that by the time we come to understand and appreciate current technologies, those same technologies are out of date and have been replaced by something new and less understood. Consider Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and the shift happening now to next-gen learning platforms that support enterprise learning strategy.

An organisation’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.  Jack Welch

Recently we helped a client transition from a large ERP to Birch Learning Platform. Some of the issues they had experienced and why they decided to change included:

  • Unable to link to their payroll system in order to create and manage user accounts
  • It didn’t cater to both internal and external contractors – they had multiple systems which was an additional cost
  • Uses old technology, and isn’t nimble enough to adapt to the way learning will be delivered in the future
  • Couldn’t manage competency management
  • To access courses the learners had to move through up to six screens before they could launch the course they wanted to complete
  • Inadequate reporting
  • Cumbersome and rigid user and course structures
  • New system doesn’t support HTML5 or the latest browsers, compromising the performance of existing eLearning modules
  • System doesn’t support new standards such as xAPI or suggested learning
  • No local support even though they said they had an office in Australia

Here are three reasons why ERP solutions are compromising your learning innovation:

1. ERP mergers with LMS

One of the trends we’ve seen lately in the digital learning world is the increasing prevalence of Learning Management System (LMS) providers merging with large software providers, generally Accounts or HR software to create ERP solutions for businesses that include a learning delivery component.

SAP merging with Success Factors LMS is an excellent example of this trend. The idea is that by combining multiple business relevant products under one banner, the client is able to purchase a one-off product that solves their every need. That might seem logical, until real world economics, flexibilities of scale and business priorities take over.

For the vast majority of these systems, the leading application within the ERP is not the LMS. Most of these systems are put in to manage the company accounts or the HR function within the company and the learning management features are viewed by the people making the purchasing decision as a nice to have or value add in the deal, rather than a business critical component.

2. Little consultation with L&D

More often than not, the professionals in L&D are not consulted about their requirements for the LMS before the new ERP system is signed off and installed. This lack of consultation with L&D and limited understanding of the growing importance of continual knowledge and skills improvement, results in an LMS that at best detracts from the personalised provisioning of information and at worst just simply don’t work. L&D must have an active say in the appropriateness of the solution for themselves and the learners.

3. Functionality and feature poor

The learning functionality is simply not maintained in an ERP.  They are not learning specialists and lack an understanding of current standards. There priorities are other features of the HR system. They simply are not capable of performing at the same level as an enterprise digital learning platform.

So, what’s the answer?

People are your most valuable assets. Supporting and nurturing their intellectual growth should be the priority when choosing a learning platform. Learning development and delivery needs to grow to service new needs and more importantly, the tools used to support these needs should emulate the general direction of technology. They should be:

  • Flexible
  • Modular
  • Easily integrated
  • Fluid
  • Learner focused

Birch Learning Platform was built from a partnership of trust between us and our clients. We understand the dynamic needs of clients. This partnership of trust coupled with the best technological solution, produces a unique and innovative business-critical differentiator- it’s what sets Birch apart.

The Birch Community continues to drive our roadmap to ensure our clients never fall behind and their enterprise learning capability is at the highest level. Get in touch to find out more about how Birch makes learning feel natural.

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