It's All About the Tools
Arriving home after a storm blew through the neighborhood, I pondered the time and effort to find my chainsaw, check that it was working, had gas, and would be powerful enough to handle all the fallen limbs. I recalled the wise adage "it's all about the tools" and wondered, might that also apply to the learning world? The answer is a resounding "Yes"!
Is your assortment of learning tools capable enough, or too limited? Easily accessible to many, or locked down to just a few administrators who do it all themselves? Well-oiled, or dusty from lack of use? Mature and flexible, or new and flashy but short on functionality?
It is often a mystifying dialogue companies have about whether they have too many systems and applications, or too few. But really, it isn't about the number of solution providers you have; it's about having the right ones. If you have a great LMS but it doesn't offer 360 Reviews, then be sure you have a great Talent Management system that does. These systems can complement each other, and trust me: no one solution provider will ever be able to solve all of your needs. Just when you go out and get a combo Learning Management, Talent Management, Learning Experience, HR, and Learning Engagement system, an awesome Help Desk or AR/VR or Coaching system catches your eye, and here you go again, investing in another application.
Undoubtedly, there is justification for consolidation whenever there is a situation where you may have two systems that essentially offer the same functionality. Maybe your organization merged with another who had similar solutions, or your organization is so large that over time, various groups got their own systems and there is now overlap. In these cases, it is wise to select the best of those and let the contracts expire on the others, or shop for a replacement that can handle all of the keys needs from each group. Just proceed without the notion that you'll find the ‘be all, end all" product that can be your one solution. Most solutions that claim to do everything, do many of those things poorly.
When the city clean-up crews arrived in my neighborhood to help with the debris, I observed their tools. They easily collected and cut the huge limbs in record time, and reduced the massive pile of branches to mulch in five minutes flat. My dusty chainsaw wouldn't have made a dent.
There will always be a place for specialty tools that fill the voids so commonly found with the behemoth systems. So be prepared to support a variety of tools based on your project-centric or enterprise scale needs. Having the right solution provider for the job at hand helps ensure you achieve the desired outcome, with expedience and professionalism.