Safe Community Project


Rent or Lease? The Learning Management Dilemma

More Posts from Safe Community Project

A person tapping on a computer icon as if on a screen.

When it comes to managing a Learning Management System (LMS), organizations often face the decision between leasing a dedicated third-party LMS or having a custom-built system that they own. Both options have their advantages and tradeoffs, and the best choice depends on several factors including budget, technical expertise, scalability needs, and specific organizational requirements. 

The Safe Community Project is essentially “LMS-Agnostic,” as we are comfortable working with multiple types of LMS environments. Yet, each situation is different, and having a good understanding not only of the LMS capabilities, but how it will be used is one that we’re very concerned about. Here’s our take on how you might consider which route to follow:

  • Lower Initial Costs: Typically, leasing involves a subscription model with lower upfront costs compared to the development costs of a custom LMS.
  • Quick Deployment: Third-party LMSs are generally ready to use, which means faster deployment and shorter time to start training.
  • Ongoing Support and Updates: Service providers usually offer maintenance, technical support, and regular updates, which can be included in the subscription fee.
  • Scalability: Most third-party LMS platforms are designed to scale easily, allowing organizations to add or remove users as needed without significant changes to the infrastructure.
  • Less Customization: While some level of customization is possible, third-party LMSs may not meet all specific needs or integrate seamlessly with existing systems.
  • Recurring Costs: While initial costs are lower, the ongoing subscription fees can add up over time and potentially exceed the cost of a custom-built solution in the long run.
  • Dependency on Provider: You rely on the vendor for updates, uptime, and security, which can be a risk if the provider’s service levels decline or if they go out of business.
  • Full Customization: A custom-built LMS can be tailored to exactly fit the specific needs and workflows of your organization, including integration with other internal systems.
  • Control Over Updates and Security: Owning the LMS allows complete control over the update cycle, features, and security measures, which is particularly important for handling sensitive information.
  • Long-Term Cost Benefits: Although the initial investment is higher, there are no ongoing subscription fees, which might be economical over a long period.
  • Higher Initial Investment: Developing a custom LMS requires significant upfront costs including design, development, and testing.
  • Longer Development Time: The time to deploy a custom LMS can be lengthy, delaying training initiatives.
  • Maintenance Responsibility: The organization is responsible for maintaining the LMS, which includes managing hardware, software updates, security patches, and troubleshooting issues.
  • Resource Availability: Consider whether your organization has the resources to handle the development and maintenance of a custom LMS or if it would be more feasible to rely on a third-party provider.
  • Strategic Alignment: Evaluate how the LMS fits into the larger strategic goals of your organization. For example, if unique features or deep integration with existing systems are critical, a custom solution might be justified.
  • Growth and Scalability: Think about the anticipated growth of your organization and how that impacts the LMS. A scalable third-party solution might be more advantageous for rapidly growing organizations.

Deciding whether to lease a third-party LMS or build a custom one depends on the unique requirements, budget limitations, and long-term educational objectives of your organization. If you’re planning to implement or replace an LMS system, feel free to contact our LMS experts. They can assist you in selecting a productive and cost-effective solution.

Your Cookie Settings

We use cookies to provide the best experience possible. You can select how much you want to share with us.