LMS TCO: 5 Areas You May Be Overlooking


When it comes to investing in a Learning Management System (LMS), many organizations focus solely on the upfront cost and fail to consider the total cost of ownership (TCO). The TCO of an LMS can include many factors, some of which may be easily overlooked. In this blog post, we will explore five common areas that organizations may overlook when calculating the TCO of an LMS. By understanding the full cost of an LMS, organizations can make more informed decisions that lead to long-term success.


1) Upfront costs

When considering a Learning Management System (LMS), one of the key factors you need to consider is the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). This includes both the upfront costs associated with purchasing and deploying the system, as well as the ongoing costs associated with maintenance and support. 

When it comes to upfront costs, there are a few things to consider. First, you need to decide whether you want to purchase a hosted or an on-premise solution. With a hosted solution, you pay a monthly or annual fee for the service, while an on-premise solution requires a one-time upfront cost. 

You’ll also need to account for the cost of any licenses or user accounts needed. Additionally, there 

2) Implementation and integration costs

When considering a Learning Management System (LMS), one area that often gets overlooked is the cost of implementation and integration. These costs can quickly add up and should not be underestimated.


Implementation costs include any development work that is required to set up the system, such as configuring the platform, loading data, and setting up integrations with other systems. Integration costs are related to connecting the LMS with existing systems or other software solutions that are necessary for the functioning of the LMS. Examples of these systems include payroll, HR, single sign-on, and course authoring tools.

The extent of implementation and integration work will depend on the complexity of the LMS and the number of external systems that need to be integrated. This means that the costs can vary significantly from one system to another. It’s important to discuss these costs with vendors in advance to get an accurate idea of what you can expect to pay for implementation and integration. 

3) Maintenance and support costs

When it comes to the cost of ownership for a learning management system (LMS), one factor that often gets overlooked is the cost of ongoing maintenance and support. While the upfront cost for purchasing an LMS may seem high, these costs can be insignificant when compared to the long-term costs of keeping the system operational. 

When evaluating an LMS, consider the cost of ongoing maintenance and support. This should include the costs associated with regularly scheduled software updates, as well as any additional customization 

4) User training costs

When implementing a new Learning Management System (LMS), it is important to consider the cost of user training. Training employees on how to use the new system can be time consuming and expensive. The cost of user training can vary depending on the number of users, the complexity of the system, and the type of training required. 

It is important to include budget for employee training in the total cost of ownership (TCO) for an LMS. This will include costs associated with developing and delivering training materials, as well as time spent by trainers and support staff. Some companies may opt to use external vendors for user training which will incur additional costs. 


5) Customization costs

When you choose a learning management system (LMS), you may find that you need to customize it to fit your organization’s needs. Customizing an LMS can range from small tweaks like changing the color of a button to more complex changes such as integrating with existing systems. The cost of customization can vary significantly, depending on what type of customization is needed and how much work is involved.

On the low end, customizing an LMS may require minimal effort and no additional cost, depending on how the vendor structures their service offering. Many vendors offer “out-of-the-box” solutions that require no customizations, while others may offer basic customization options at an additional cost.

At the high end, more significant customizations may require the help of professional developers, consultants, or third-party companies who specialize in customizing learning management systems.