There are hundreds of LMS vendors in the world. Many are generalists that build comprehensive and confusing LMS products that can manage the learning for any type of user population including employees and the extended enterprise audiences. The rest of the LMS vendors are specialists in a particular industry or business application of learning. I’ve found that buyers who buy an LMS for their employees are content with the generalist LMSs. Conversely, buyers of extended enterprise solutions are very picky. These buyers tend not to be HR/training specialists but rather professionals from marketing, sales, operations or customer support.
These training for business buyers focus on the business problem, solution and measuring the results. They are not interested in asking permission from HR to use the employee LMS. If they are tasked to train and certify new channel partners, customers or prospects, they want a solution and more importantly a partner that is experienced in doing exactly – and in many cases – only that. If they want to sell content and drive revenue, they almost never consider a vendor with tons of talent management and compliance features.
In the last 21 months at Talented Learning, we’ve been heads down studying the LMS industry. We have conducted in-depth reviews of almost 100 vendors, helped dozens of LMS buyers and shared notes with countless extended enterprise experts around the globe. We crunched all this data and have mapped the different types of LMSs that exist today and what buyers want, need and buy. Over the coming months, we will release a series of Top 10 nominations for the varying types of LMSs we categorized and name the best-of-the-best in our upcoming LMS Vendor Awards Ceremony webinar.
Top 10 Channel LMS Solutions in the World
Here are our nominees for the Top 10 Channel LMS solutions in the world. Every LMS on this list actively promotes channel learning on their website with product offerings, case studies, webinars and client testimonials. The nominated LMS solutions all have varying degrees of sophistication in core channel functionality including domain segmentation, ecommerce, social learning, globalization, broad content support, integration, analytics, mobile delivery, dynamic audience grouping and ease of use. The vendors in this list range from self-service “free-trial” LMSs to heavy-duty solution providers.
In alphabetical order…
BlueVolt — BlueVolt has extensive expertise partnering with channel sales organizations to create, deliver and verify results-driven training. The BlueVolt LMS provides a unique approach to measurable channel learning management by creating massive ecosystems of manufacturers, distributors, retailers and buying groups to share product knowledge. Their targeted industry focus is building and tool industries like electrical, HVAC, plumbing, valves, lumber, welding and flooring. They have taken gamification to the best level — awards that turn into actual cash or gift cards. Check out a dozen examples of BlueVolt’s channel case studies here and my review here.
Digital Ignite – The Digital Ignite LMS is a pure extended enterprise LMS designed wholly for the business of high-stakes global training for business. They provide a deep level of professional service expertise to provide hands-on active assistance in client success –during and after the implementation. DI comes loaded with tools to attract voluntary learners, build an active community of global learners, facilitate ecommerce and enable the growth of a channel business. The user learner interface looks great and is as non-LMSey that I have seen. Watch this recent webinar recording and you will see some great global Intel live demo examples of channel learning and check out my recent review of Digital Ignite.
Docebo – The Docebo LMS is an economical, pure cloud, SaaS LMS designed to support common learning and elearning scenarios – easily. You can gain access to a free trial of their LMS in minutes, create your channel partners areas, upload content and users and be ready to go live in a week. They have a “connector” API integration strategy meaning you can turn integration on with a variety of 3rd party systems (virtual classroom, social media, CRM, HRIS, SSO, etc.) by checking a box. As a result, they provide minimal implementation services and are frequently adopted by small and medium sized businesses deploying their first or second channel learning projects. Check out their Autodesk, Veeam Software, Sealed Air and other cases here.
eLogic Learning – eLogic Learning is an all-purpose LMS that can support a lot of LMS scenarios well including channel learning. Their LMS is powerful, deep and modern and they have a great reputation for customer service. Solid domain segregation, ecommerce, notifications, gamification and analytics make eLogic a good solution for large scale franchise, dealer, agent, channel and partner solutions. If you need a highly configurable LMS and you require expert guidance and help, eLogic Learning should be in your evaluation mix. You can see samples of their customers’ successes here.
Expertus — Expertus is not your typical LMS provider. They started off 17 years ago implementing other LMSs and encountered first-hand many of the functional and technical challenges of the traditional LMS industry. They saw an opportunity and built their own LMS focusing on end learner usability and engagement making it ideal for the voluntary users of external sales and distribution channels. Their cloud solution is based on a private cloud model so it can support complex integrations, customer specific workflow, SalesForce integration and other complexities mandated by large, global channel clients. Here is my review of their LMS and a link to their channel learning section of their website.
LogicBay — LogicBay is a pure partner LMS and even brand themselves as a Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software. They developed their encompassing partner solution to specifically support global equipment dealer and partner networks. They have been designing, hosting and supporting major training & development programs, including sales and service certifications, for companies of all sizes from small franchise systems to leading companies like Caterpillar, Daimler, Mercedes-Benz, Meritor and others for over a decade. Check out these great LogicBay case studies.
Saba Software — Saba has been in extended enterprise solutions since the beginning of the LMS industry 20+ years ago. A lot has happened in our industry since then but Saba is still here and still talking extended enterprise. Although Saba is a TM system with lots of HR modules, their new pure cloud LMS still has plenty of aggressive channel learning functionality including domains, integration, analytics, ecommerce, social, gamification and their own virtual classroom tool. They have some of the world’s best global organizations using them to manage their channel including Yum, Cisco, EMC, NetApp and hundreds more. If you have global, large-scale external audiences, it’s hard to find a company or product with better channel credentials than Saba. Some great examples of their channel clients are embedded in this recent webinar we did together and here is my review of their LMS.
SchoolKeep – SchoolKeep is an up and coming “free-trial” SaaS LMS. Where many LMSs focus on the training administration, SchoolKeep puts the learner experience as the center of their platform resulting in better learning, increase retention via a pleasurable user experience. Their LMS is mobile responsive and they have strong ecommerce capability including global taxation and international payments. There is also an interesting CRM component tracking notifications, email opens and conversion tracking. SchoolKeep provides a higher level of service than most free-trial LMSs and is a good choice to evaluate for new and growing channel learning projects.
TalentLMS — The Talent LMS is a free-trial, pure cloud, SaaS LMS. The LMS is simple and easy to setup, administer and use. The TalentLMS is a great choice for your first LMS and maybe even your second if you are a small or medium business. There are no implementation fees (or services) and if your usage scenarios are straightforward, it is hard to beat the license price and ease of this system. Below is a video I created demonstrating some of the administrative and learner features of the TalentLMS from my trial account when I recently reviewed the TalentLMS.
ViewCentral (Now Litmos Training Ops, acquired in April 2016) – What do HP, Ariba, Synopsys, Abbott and many other companies have in common when it comes to channel and partner training? Yep, they use ViewCentral. ViewCentral is a pure channel and customer LMS. No need to talk to these guys if you want to manage employees. They are focused on deploying some of the world’s most complex channel learning deployments for the software and hi-tech industry. They can do professional level integration into global organizations, order processing systems, ecommerce, revenue recognition, training expenses and big data warehouses. They are designed to allow for the selling of content in any global location, language, currency and taxation jurisdiction. ViewCentral has some deep and informative resources on running a global channel training business on their website here.
There you have it based on our research thus far — the top 10 channel LMS solutions in the world ideally suited to manage learning for external sales channel, partners, resellers, dealers or franchises. The solutions are all very different. Some assume self-service implementation and some assume months of effort to deploy an integrated global solution. Some are good for any industry and others are dedicated to dominating one or two. What do they all have in common? They know that attracting voluntary users, building a community, selling content, changing behavior and making a measurable business impact with channel learning is the goal of most of their customers.
Thanks for reading!
Want more insights? Watch our on-demand webinar:
There is tremendous diversity among the nearly 700 learning management systems available today. And when customer education is a top priority, it pays for organizations to choose an LMS designed specifically for that purpose.
What exactly are the business benefits of choosing a specialized learning management system (rather than an employee-oriented LMS) to support customer learning initiatives?
Join John Leh, Talented Learning lead analyst and CEO, and Terry Lydon, VP of Training Operations Projects at Litmos, as they explain the value of choosing an externally focused LMS. Specifically, they discuss: You’ll learn:
- How to quantify the benefits of customer learning
- Which factors set a customer LMS apart from employee-focused platforms
- What case studies reveal about the value of customer learning technology
- How to find the best LMS for your customers’ needs, and
- 5 areas of innovation unique to customer LMS solutions
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