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When talent management meets an open source LMS

This is a guest post from Webanywhere's Conor Gilligan. You can find the original post here.

Companies today are placing more of an emphasis on finding talent than ever before. The term ‘War on Talent’ was coined by McKinsey and Co's Steven Hankin in his book in 1997. This describes the increasing competition for hiring, managing and developing talent. The old talent management model was to procure an enterprise Learning Management System (LMS) as part of a Human Resources suite from a single vendor. This has changed. More and more, CIOs are looking for the best of breed for their company. With the API (Application Programming Interface) space becoming much more mature, this means organisations can benefit from choosing different applications for different needs.

Open source has been something which some companies have tried to avoid - but why? I’m not really sure, but I would guess that much of this stems from fears around support if the system goes down. But of course, you can always employ a partner with a Service Level Agreement.

As well as this, open source software is already being used by some of the most successful technology companies worldwide: think Red Hat, Twitter, Facebook and Google.

Within the talent management space, a new breed of LMS has been born. It's 100% open source, and it's here to stay. The platform is called Totara LMS, and is already being used by many corporates globally including easyJet, Tesco, Sony, Vodafone, Sky, Kohl’s, jetBlue, Clas Ohlson, the NHS, Dollar General, Safeway Inc and much more.

All of these companies are realising the benefits of open source software. Organisations using Totara LMS have made cost savings of up to 80% based on the fact that none of the Totara LMS subscribers pay a single license fee. This means CIOs can invest this saving elsewhere.

Another factor taken into consideration is the growing Totara community. CIOs are benefiting from the open source sharing model, meaning that organisations can share code within the community if they wish to do so. This leads to a lower total cost of ownership for everyone.

Finally, Totara LMS ensures that customers aren't locked into unsuitable contracts with vendors. This is critical in today’s marketplace, and gives companies the freedom to switch if they are not happy with their current vendor. For example, there are over 80 global Totara Partners across three levels (up to Platinum), and all the Partners have different specialties. If you want to understand the competitive landscape, you can send your Request for Proposal to all of them.

Some of the key features of Totara LMS include:

  • Flexible design capability - Because the core platform is open source, you can tailor the LMS to your specific requirements. One of the major criticisms of a corporate LMS is the fact they are very linear in design; this isn’t very helpful when you are trying to engage a large workforce. Also, the learning path needs to be interesting. With Totara LMS, you can customise your own platform. This ensures the learner is more engaged from the start.
  • Audience Management - I love this tool; in fact, Webanywhere helped build this out and worked with the Totara developers to add it to the core product. This tool lets you quickly assign learning modules to your ever-growing workforce. For example, you can assign learning based on geography, position (and secondary position), level, division/department and much more. There are over 400 different rules set. The beauty of this is then not having to manually assign learning - once you have set this up, it just works.
  • Learning Plans - These are helpful as part of your appraisal review process (this is also built into Totara LMS), as you can create a bespoke learning plan or templates. This means each employee has their own personalised learning path.
  • Appraisals - It can be annoying having a separate appraisal platform from your corporate LMS. This is because your learners are in a different place to where the learning is actually happening. This can become problematic when you are trying to assign learning based on ‘gaps’ from your appraisal. With Totara LMS, this problem is fixed, with the entire process is in one place.

Interested in how Totara LMS can help you improve your talent management process? Get in touch today to talk about how one of our Partners can help.


In association with


Webanywhere is the only Totara and Moodle Partner based in the UK, US and Eastern Europe. We work with some of the world’s largest companies ranging from Dollar General, Apollo Education Group, Zara, Dominos Pizza and Autotrader. Our learning environments impact everyday lives helping people improve in the workplace using the latest technologies, which ultimately results in improved business performance.

Since 2003, we have been creating immersive learning experiences for our partners, now used globally by over 3 million learners and 4,000 clients. We are a Crown Commercial Service Provider and G-Cloud supplier to the UK government.

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