How to Build a Business Case for a Modern Learning Management System

How to Build a Business Case for a Modern Learning Management System – Part III 2019-03-12T12:45:02-07:00

By Craig Maurer, Director of Client Services, Expertus

All right, we’re down to the nitty-gritty. We’ve covered how to start your business case for a modern LMS, what critical questions to ask and now onto…

How to Make Your Business Case

Since there are numerous ways a modern learning management system can lower costs and raise revenue, building your business case is not as hard as you may think. You just have to look at the investment as a strategic business decision/play versus a new technology purchase.

Here are 3 steps for guiding your success:

1. First and Foremost, Ease the Pain

Since you’re building your business case around your organization’s business strategy and priorities, talk about how the LMS investment will support them first.

If budgets are tight and a top concern, then talk up the cost-savings. For example, how the LMS can: lower travel costs; eliminate learning system redundancies and resource expenses; and lessen training’s waste by improving learning’s efficiency, adoption and engagement.

If your company’s more focused on growing revenue versus budget, then show how the LMS will: speed learning content quality and delivery; make learning more accessible (mobile/global) and convenient (self-service); and shorten time-to-market cycles.

2. Don’t Sell Features, Sell Value

Instead of talking about the LMS’ latest and greatest features, sell these features’ value to your stakeholders and business units. Use a “What’s in It for Me” angle.

For example: Instead of saying, “It has a great mobile app,” say, “With a modern mobile app, learners can take training at the point of need, wherever they are. This will lead to better training adoption for a more productive workforce─or more training sales to customers and partners.”

Or, using compliance as an example… Instead of saying, “It has an award-winning compliance tool,” say, “It’s robust compliance program will greatly reduce our compliance fines and lawsuits and save thousands of dollars in manual tracking.”

3. Speak Their LanguageNumbers!

If you don’t speak the same language as the execs you’re trying to make your business case to, you’re probably going to fail. For them, it’s always about the numbers. So, even if you show the LMS’ value, you must show them the numbers too—i.e. demonstrate its monetary impact:

  • Will the learning investment pay for itself in lower turnover and/or retraining costs?
  • Or, higher productivity or performance gains?
  • Or, reduced help desk calls and training-related travelling expenses?
  • And so on…

Instead of engaging in philosophical discussions about learning’s value, win the hearts and minds of senior executives with the actual dollars and cents of the deal.

Here’s a quick equation you can use:

Estimated Investment Gains – Hard Costs for the LMS = ROI

Note: For a free, detailed template to create a compelling 3-year ROI for a modern LMS, read this white paper: The Case for an LMS.

Areas you can reference for investment gains include: revenue growth in customer and partner training; workforce productivity gains (faster production + better product quality = happier customers and larger sales); and salesforce productivity gains (better training = more loyalty and sales/revenue).

Invest in the Success of Your Business Case for a Modern LMS

Warning: Many LMS RFPs fail to execute. So, it’s worth your time to invest some time in building a strong business case. Because a learning management system is such a large purchase, negotiations with senior leaders can quickly unravel.

The easiest way around this is to assuage their doubt as to the value of this critical investment. And don’t forget to get their buy-in early. A worst-case scenario is to spend half a year searching for the learning department’s definition of a “perfect” LMS, only to fail to meet the executives’ needs, goals and approval.

Instead, if you take the time to build a nuanced, well executed business case, you can secure a modern LMS with the measurable ROI that positions learning as a driver of your company’s strategic goals.

Have questions? I’m happy to help! Reach out to me at Or request a demo of our modern ExpertusONE LMS here.