Building an LMS Business Case: How Smart Learning Leaders Get Their Organization Onboard

Investing in a robust Learning Management System (LMS) has become a strategic imperative for many companies. Learning, now more than ever, has become mission-critical for businesses to successfully navigate a constantly changing landscape. Brandon Hall Group™ Silver Preferred Provider LearnUpon believes that learning should be simple and its impact should be big.  They understand that the future of work is here, and learning is key to ongoing success.

According to Brandon Hall Group™ research, 20% of survey respondents indicate they are likely to invest in an LMS in the next twelve months. That decision is being driven by multiple factors, including being unhappy with their current vendor relationships and having difficulty integrating their LMS with other key business systems.

All of this points to the truth that before making a significant investment, it is crucial for learning leaders to build a compelling business case that outlines the benefits and return on investment (ROI) of implementing an LMS. Let’s explore the key steps involved in developing a strong business case for purchasing a Learning Management System (LMS).

  1. Assess Organizational Needs: The first step in building a business case for an LMS is to assess the specific needs of your organization. Identify the pain points and challenges faced by your employees and stakeholders related to training and development. Consider factors such as employee onboarding, compliance training, skill enhancement and knowledge retention. You must also consider the level of skill and competency of your Learning and Development team. There simply may not be enough bandwidth or skills on the L&D team to manage the entire spectrum of learning. By clearly understanding the needs and challenges, you can align the features and capabilities of the LMS to address those gaps effectively.
  2. Define Objectives and Goals: Once the needs assessment is complete, clearly define the objectives and goals that your organization aims to achieve with an LMS. Developing a learning strategy that aligns with the goals of the business and the needs of the learners is critical. Using overarching business goals to inform Learning’s strategic goals is how L&D can ensure their programs are on the right track. It also provides a foundation for building out the technology roadmap that will make the strategy a reality.
  3. Conduct a Cost-Benefit Analysis: One of the critical components of building a business case is conducting a thorough cost-benefit analysis. Evaluate the potential costs associated with acquiring, implementing and maintaining the LMS. These costs may include software licenses, infrastructure requirements, customization, training and ongoing support. Simultaneously, consider the anticipated benefits such as improved employee engagement, reduced training time, increased knowledge retention and streamlined compliance processes. Quantify these benefits in terms of time saved, cost reductions, increased productivity and improved performance.
  4. Research LMS Options: As you begin to research your options, it’s important to know how you will measure success. It is critical to determine the benchmarks that indicate successful technology selection and implementation. This requires cooperation among the L&D function, business leaders and other key stakeholders including IT and the learners themselves.
    Once you know how you will measure your selection process, it is time to thoroughly research the available LMS options in the market. Consider factors such as scalability, user interface, ease of implementation, support and integration capabilities, mobile accessibility, reporting and analytics features, and security. Evaluate multiple vendors and gather feedback from users and industry experts. By selecting the right LMS that aligns with your organization’s requirements, you can maximize the potential benefits and ensure long-term success.
  5. Align with Organizational Strategy: Demonstrate how the implementation of an LMS aligns with your organization’s overall strategy and goals. Highlight how an LMS can support key initiatives such as talent development, knowledge sharing, employee engagement and regulatory compliance. By showcasing how the LMS complements the larger organizational strategy, you can gain the support of key stakeholders and decision-makers.
  6. Present the ROI: Quantifying the return on investment (ROI) is crucial for building a persuasive business case. Calculate the potential savings achieved through reduced training costs, increased employee productivity and improved operational efficiency. Additionally, consider the intangible benefits such as improved employee satisfaction, talent retention and enhanced compliance. Present the ROI in terms of both financial gains and strategic advantages, illustrating the long-term value the LMS will bring to the organization.
  7. Mitigate Risks: Acknowledge potential risks associated with implementing an LMS and develop a plan to mitigate them effectively. Common risks include resistance to change, technical challenges, integration issues and insufficient user adoption. Demonstrate how the chosen LMS addresses these risks through user-friendly interfaces, comprehensive training and support, strong vendor partnerships and effective change management strategies. By proactively addressing potential risks, you can build confidence in the feasibility and success of the LMS implementation.
  8. Outline Implementation Plan: Provide a detailed implementation plan that outlines the key milestones, timelines and resources required for a successful LMS rollout. Clearly articulate the steps involved in data migration, user onboarding, customization, integration with existing systems and training. Highlight any potential challenges and how they will be addressed. A well-structured implementation plan demonstrates your organization’s preparedness and commitment to a seamless transition.
  9. Emphasize Scalability and Future Growth: When building a business case for an LMS, emphasize the scalability and flexibility of the chosen solution. Highlight how the LMS can accommodate future growth and evolving training needs. Discuss the system’s ability to support increased user volumes, additional courses and content, and integration with emerging technologies. By showcasing the LMS’s scalability, you can future-proof your investment and ensure its long-term relevance.
  10. Include Testimonials and Case Studies: To add credibility and showcase the potential impact of an LMS, include testimonials and case studies from organizations that have successfully implemented similar systems. Gather feedback from early adopters or pilot programs within your own organization if available. Highlight success stories, improved metrics and positive user experiences. Real-life examples and endorsements will strengthen your business case and provide evidence of the LMS’s effectiveness.


Building a strong business case for purchasing a Learning Management System requires a comprehensive understanding of your organization’s needs, strategic alignment, cost-benefit analysis and future growth considerations. By following the steps outlined in this blog, you can develop a compelling business case that clearly articulates the advantages of implementing an LMS, quantifies the ROI, mitigates potential risks and garners support from key stakeholders.

Ask yourself the following questions as you begin the process:

  • What are our strategic goals for the quarter? The year? Do we know how technology can help achieve them?
  • How will you measure success? What key metrics do you track to run your business/department? What does “good” look like? How about “great”?
  • What level of learning and development skills and competencies do we currently possess? Do we need to upskill, reskill and/or acquire new talent?
  • What are the barriers to your success? What issues do we face today? How does this solution address those challenges? Do we have specific use cases that outline these obstacles and their impact?
  • What is the potential total cost of ownership? What is the cost of doing nothing?
  • How will we handle integration? What existing solutions must integrate with the tool — and how?

Brandon Hall Group™ Silver Preferred Provider LearnUpon offers a free guide to support you as you build your LMS business case. You can learn more about LearnUpon at and access the Building an LMS Business Case tool here.

A well-crafted business case will position your organization for success and pave the way for a smooth LMS implementation, ultimately driving organizational performance.

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Matt Pittman



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Matt Pittman

Matt Pittman brings nearly 30 years of experience developing people and teams in a variety of settings and organizations. As an HR Practitioner, he has sat in nearly every seat including Learning and Leadership Development, Talent Management and Succession Planning, Talent Acquisition and as a Human Resources Business Partner. A significant part of those roles involved building out functions in organizations and driving large scale change efforts. As a Principal Analyst, Matt leverages this in-depth experience and expertise to provide clients and providers with breakthrough insights and ideas to drive their business forward.

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