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My LMS vendor just got acquired by another company! Now what?! April 28, 2011

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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SuccessFactors Acquires PlateauThe landscape of learning management system (LMS) vendors is constantly changing. There have been dozens of acquisitions in the past decade, including a big one this week. This can be a scary time if your organization happens to be using an LMS that gets acquired by or merged with another company. After all, you’ve most likely invested thousands of dollars and many hours getting it set up and configured to work well. So, if your LMS vendor gets acquired by another
company, what should you do? What questions should you ask?

My first piece of advice would be: Just relax. The process of merging two business generally takes a while. You most likely won’t see any overnight changes. Take this time to think through several scenarios and prepare a list of questions for your account representative.

Below is a starter list of questions that you may want to ask. The account rep may not know all of the answers if the news is still fresh, but it’s good to start thinking in these terms. To keep things straight, I’ll use the terms acquirer (the company who is making the purchase) and acquiree (the company who is being purchased).

Question to ask:

  • Why (specifically) was the company acquired?
  • How will the roadmap for the LMS change?
  • Will the underlying technologies change?
  • What products, services, features, etc., of the acquirer will be made available to clients of the acquiree?
  • How will the support model change for the acquiree, if at all?
  • Will the hourly rate change for the acquiree? (ex. For customizations)
  • Will any of your technical or support contacts change?
  • Will there (still?) be an annual conference for the LMS and its users?

I’m sure I left off some questions. What else would you add?

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Comments»

1. Kelly Meeker, OpenSesame - April 29, 2011

B.J., it’s good to see you back blogging! And this is a really useful post.

I would add a couple more questions:
– Will any of the features of this product be phased out or modified in the short term?
– Do you expect any dramatic pricing changes once my contract is up for renewal?
– If this product is to be merged with the parent company product, how will my customizations be preserved?

2. B.J. Schone - May 2, 2011

Thanks, Kelly! Excellent questions – I appreciate the input.

3. John Roughley - May 5, 2011

Hey B.J

My question would be, what will happen to my learners records of activity on the LMS, closely followed by cost and contract questions.


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