Here we give an overview of some of the best extended enterprise LMS solutions on the market in 2023. We also explain the role of this type of learning management system and why it can be so effective for training your contractors, channel sales and marketing partners – or even your customers in using your products.
What Does Extended Enterprise Mean?
A term coined by Chrysler in the 1990s, Extended Enterprise is the idea that a company does not operate in isolation because it relies on relationships with a network of partners.
Chrysler is also believed to be one of the first companies that used an extranet – a private, secure network for sharing important information with suppliers over the (then new) Internet. This would have been an early example of online extended enterprise training.
What is Extended Enterprise Training?
Extended enterprise training is the process of educating your customers or your channel sales and marketing network in the use or delivery of your products. While it’s relatively easy to guide your own staff in the effective use and delivery of your products and services, the process of doing the same for external resellers, distributors, affiliates and other types of partners.
Often, these external people and organisations are less immersed in your culture and processes, which can dilute your brand messages and best practices as they move down the supply chain. This is why effective extended enterprise training can be so important to ensure that both your customers and your channel marketing and sales partners, get the most from your solutions.
As your inventory, best practices, branding, or even regulatory environment change using an LMS to disseminate information and training materials is usually the quickest and cheapest way to educate your partner or customer network. They can be reached as soon as the new materials are ready, and upload to your LMS is usually as quick as sending an email.
LMS for Channel Sales & Marketing Partners
Most LMS are developed for the needs of HR and L&D teams, who usually have priorities around compliance, internal process and talent management. An LMS for channel sales and marketing partners, like resellers, distributors, affiliates – and for end-user customers – is often the domain of different teams. It might be under the control of Sales, Marketing or Customer Service departments who can’t or don’t want / need to use the same learning management system that is used for internal training. That’s if there already is one within the company.
An extended enterprise LMS will usually have certain characteristics / available functionality that includes:
- Ability to create distinct groups or domains that are brandable and organisable for different customer or partner types
- Integration with popular 3rd party software, such as contractor management systems and CRMs
- Very low learning curve (you want your network to focus their learning on your content – not getting to grips with the LMS…)
Top Extended Enterprise LMS Solutions
Based on user feedback / reviews and clear focus on catering for channel partners and customers, here are some of the top LMS for extended enterprise training needs (in no particular order):
Thought Industries have a particular focus on creating external training solutions. They are one of the best extended enterprise LMS providers for training customers, resellers, dealers, distributors and partners, as well as employees.
They place emphasis on:
- Cloning and branding sites for specific partners and customers
- Easy content creation for authors without the need for coding skills
- Speed of deployment and the ability to replicate and scale globally
- Powerful user analytics for tracking engagement and progress.
Learn more about these external training solutions from Thought Industries on their site.
Pathway Cloud LMS
The Pathway platform from WillowDNA is another LMS that is popular as a tool for channel sales training. They have developed it based on an understanding of key areas such as increasing sales confidence and competence among both internal employees and external partners.
They take a very data-driven approach to developing their software for specific needs, and in the above example referencing the fact that high performing sales organisations are twice as likely to provide ongoing training support as low performing companies.
WillowDNA’s CEO, Debbie Lawley, commented on how their LMS helps companies throughout their extended enterprise:
“Selling complex products needs creative and thoughtful online learning. Our team at WillowDNA are deeply experienced in delivering training for vehicle sales, financial products, pharmaceutical sales teams and more. These WillowDNA customers rely on their channels to not only deliver their products through their partners, but also to look after their reputation. Pathway LMS ensures this works seamlessly, together with the UK-based IT support and our attention to brand and tone of voice.”
Their team of experts have created elearning solutions for some of the world’s biggest brands through to niche training providers, and their clients have included the likes Pepsico, IPG MediaBrands, John Lewis-Waitrose, Telefonica O2 and Oracle.
Learn more about the Pathway LMS on the WillowDNA website.
Docebo have created an LMS with features that make it perfect for training external audiences. These include:
- Bespoke-branded portals and mobile apps
- Multi-level administration permissions
- Secure access with various authentication methods
- Tracking and certification, with gamification to enhance engagement.
Learn more about Docebo’s Extended Enterprise solutions on their site.
Day One – Bespoke LMS
Based near Leeds in West Yorkshire, Day One Technologies create bespoke LMS solutions for a range of clients who train teams based across the UK and even worldwide.
They use a modular approach, starting with just the features and functions that you need, and building up from there to avoid the issues that many face with a bloated system.
They create white label solutions that are ideal for creating dedicated portals for various teams, partners and clients.
Read about how they created a bespoke LMS for staff and channel sales training at ghd to help them support a partner network of 50,000 salons worldwide.
Litmos, developed by CallidusCloud and recently acquired by SAP, is one of the world’s most popular learning management systems. Its huge user base, which includes the likes of IBM, Mercedes-Benz, HP, YouTube and Lindt means that if you have a customisation support requirement, they have probably done it before.
Its standard features include course building, learner tracking, user feedback systems and surveys. Ideal for extended enterprise learning are integration with content management solutions like Dropbox, e-commerce platforms like Shopify and CRMs, such as Salesforce.
Learn more about extended enterprise with Litmos on their website.
We hope this list of the best extended enterprise LMS for training customers and external partners will prove useful if you are choosing one!
Can We Help You?
If you need advice on choosing the right LMS please get in touch with us here at Learning Light.
eLearning Marketing Consultant
Av Srivastava is an elearning writer and marketing consultant who has worked with a range of learning solution providers in the UK and worldwide.
He researches and writes about the latest and best elearning solutions to help buyers choose the ideal company for their needs.
He also helps great elearning companies to understand their perfect customers and develop steady streams of inbound enquiries.