Here’s How Sandbox Accounts Help You Choose an LMS
Everyone likes to try new software before investing in it for the long term. And by “everyone,” we’re not just talking about individuals. We’re also talking about businesses and large organizations.
At Rievent, we let continuing professional education (CE) providers try our CE-centered learning management system (LMS) prior to signing any contracts or purchasing any licenses. We know that’s not normal protocol, but shouldn’t you know what you’re getting before making a big commitment?
We think that you should.
Commoditized software vendors already “get it.”
An LMS isn’t a commoditized software product, and the Rievent Platform is no exception. But let’s pretend for a moment that every LMS was a commoditized, out-of-the-box application. Wouldn’t choosing the right one be a lot easier?
Think about it: One of the best things about commoditized business software is the option to try it for free. Many vendors offer 30-day free trials, and others even give away scaled-down, “freemium” versions of their product. From accounting to file sharing to CRM, out-of-the-box products are often available at no cost.
But learning management software isn’t like that. According to the dominant thinking, it’s impossible to provide free access to large, enterprise products because:
- They’re too big and contain too many variables
- They require too much training
- You need skilled humans to operate them; they don’t work automatically
- Hardware requirements often make free trials unrealistic
- There’s a learning curve
- You’ve got to migrate lots of existing data to make them function effectively
- Operating costs are too high to give anything away for free
And so on. A medical society investing in new continuing medical education (CME) software generally doesn’t expect a free trial. Rather, they expect an extensive vendor selection process complete with demos, a la carte feature selection, and customizations. That’s just how it works.
Except that LMS vendors can – and should – take a cue from the commoditized software world. There’s a way to let potential customers try new LMS software before asking them to commit, even if it doesn’t come in the form of a free trial.
Sandbox accounts let you experience new software
For many of the reasons listed above, we can’t offer a free version of the Rievent Platform. However, we can offer potential customers something similar: access to a “sandbox” account that offers a realistic feel for the administrator-side Rievent experience.
A sandbox account is what our developers use to test new functionality in the Rievent Platform. By giving you access to a sandbox account, you can do your own testing to see whether Rievent is a good fit for your organization.
Consider what’s involved in a typical LMS selection process:
- You attend multiple sales demos for multiple products.
- You ask a lot of questions and wait for a lot of answers.
- You make a lot of requests and wait to see whether each vendor can accommodate them.
At no point in this process do you get to try the software! The administrator experience remains a completely abstract concept until you commit to a product and actually start using it. You only see other people using the software. You only hear other people’s perspectives on the value of specific features.
By contrast, the sandbox allows you to use the software. It enables you to gain perspective on product features and apply them to specific use cases that matter to you.
It’s not quite freemium access. But for enterprise software, it’s the next best thing.
Ask potential vendors if you can try the LMS software.
While we haven’t done a poll, we’re pretty sure most continuing education software vendors aren’t offering prospective customers access to a sandbox account. However, you should definitely ask if you can try the software before you invest in it!
Access to a sandbox account gives you firsthand exposure to the functionality that a new LMS provides. When it’s time to choose a product, you won’t just suppose that a given piece of software is the best choice. You’ll know what it’s like to use that software in the workplace.
And you’ll be a lot more confident when making your selection.