SharePoint is a document management system offered by Microsoft. It is essentially an intranet and content management system leveraged for internal purposes to assist with facilitating and streamlining collaboration. SharePoint consists of a set of technologies that offer integration with Office 365, as well as document management capabilities. SharePoint’s primary purposes are to store documents in a more efficient format than a regular folder system can offer, and to help ensure that everyone in an organization has access to information that is relevant to them in their work.
The Need for Corporate Learning Management Systems
A learning management system (LMS) is a software application that is used for the development, delivery, and management of eLearning and training programs. In today’s highly competitive corporate climate that (for many industries) includes stringent compliance requirements, employee training is critical for a company’s success. Given this, many companies are seeking an efficient LMS. And companies that already use SharePoint as an intranet, content, or project management system, can develop a SharePoint-based LMS.
The Pros and Cons of a SharePoint LMS
Some of the advantages of SharePoint for LMS can include:
Streamlined Integration with Microsoft Office
Integration with applications such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft provides a significant benefit to SharePoint as it is an integral part of Microsoft. This integration allows companies to and easily and thoroughly leverage these applications to support the eLearning process.
Opportunities for Customization
SharePoint is a platform on which a company can build almost anything to support business operations. While SharePoint provides some core functionality, most of it works through some level of customized development. With the right expertise, a company can develop almost anything they need the platform to do, including for LMS purposes.
A core use of SharePoint is for storage of large amounts of data and files to a centralized repository. Through the proper use of SharePoint, critical data becomes easy to locate and access. This capability of the platform can serve as a core strength for LMS use.
Some of the disadvantages SharePoint for LMS can include:
A major disadvantage of SharePoint is in the license structure and other expenses. Depending on the number of users, the server license price usually ranges from $7000 to $9,000. And for on-premises hosting, you must also consider hardware, data center and expertise costs.
Complexity of Setup and Maintenance
The setup up and ongoing maintenance of the SharePoint system can be expensive and complicated. To gain the functions you will need for an effective LMS, your company must have or recruit developers with SharePoint expertise. For smaller companies, this requirement can make SharePoint LMS cost prohibitive.
Employee Training Challenges
While SharePoint can be customized to meet the needs of an organization, a significant downside is in the fact that they do not offer any formalized training. It is completely on the customer to develop and deliver user-level training based on their specific SharePoint LMS implementation.
SharePoint LMS Conclusion
While SharePoint LMS can provide a viable option for some organizations, they tend to be larger businesses that have the resources (both financial and human) to implement and manage the system. Also, given its customization and training requirements, it is best suited for organizations that can tolerate a longer LMS deployment timeframe.
About LMS Portals
LMS Portals is a cloud-based, multi-tenant learning management system platform that allows our clients and partners to quickly and easily launch private, customized eLearning environments to support the needs of different training audiences. Our users can be up and running in a matter of minutes and can deploy and manage all of their various learning environments on-demand from a single, centralized console.
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