A survey published by Elearning magazine looking at Learning and Talent Management Systems  predicts strong growth.

The research is based on a web based questionnaire covering 26 questions and was completed by 246 organisations.

The findings give a good insight into the LMS (learning management system) and TMS (talent management system) market and offers some interesting perspectives.

The highlight finding is that the market is expected to experience strong growth, while experiencing downward budgetary pressure! That is certainly a finding our research fully reflects. The buyer wants more for less!

This finding is tempered by a decreasing satisfaction in system performance and users craving broader features…….again no surprises here, and the frustration of the learner and the L&D department with the LMS is as real in the UK as in the USA.

So what does this research tell us….well firstly it is very US focused, and it indicates a strong desire amongst organisation to improve what they have already (or indeed replace what they have), but that budgets remain under very real downward pressure. Learning professionals will spend less per organisation on their systems – 25% less if the study is correct, but want more for their money.

Talent management appears to be retaining interest, and represents 22% of the overall learning and talent system market…up from 16% in 2011, however, frustration with these systems remains very real. Talent management is certainly more evolved in the US than the UK.

Cloud has certainly arrived, and of the 245 organisations surveyed, 38% are reporting using a Cloud/SaaS LMS, against 23% hosting on premises, with 19% and 3% for Talent management suites respectively.

Open source LMS are recorded as having 7% of the market for systems currently deployed. This is an interesting finding and indicates the impact of not just Moodle, but other open source LMS vendors who have about 2% of the overall market, to Moodles 5%.

Sum Total is reported as market leader with an 11% share, Skillsoft and Custom Solutions both have 7% of the market, with Oracle and Cornerstone both with 6%. SuccessFactors, Saba, NetDimensions and Moodle all hold 5% of the market, with Blackboard, NetLearning, Meridian, Operitel and Absorb with 2% each.

This tells us that there is still a very fragmented market, and indeed we can identify over 400 LMS vendors worldwide.

This survey has therefore identified roughly about 60% of the market in these 15 vendors.

It is interesting to note that 18% of the organisations surveyed did not have an LMS or TMS! Hence the industry interest in the USA to drive replacement LMS and TMS into the market.

What the buyer is looking for….is price, service and quality in that order, followed by new features and capabilities…these appear to be integrated reporting, mobile authoring and social network tools (and as we have noted above cloud hosting)…where is Mobile learning delivery?

For talent management the “must haves” are reported as performance management.

SCORM remains important and no menition is made of TinCan! SCORM came fourth in the importance factors in specifying an LMS.

The research into Brand awareness is very interesting indeed, with figures recording prompted and unprompted awareness of the differing vendors.

Skillsoft grew in brand awareness in this space by 44%, – from a not recorded base but the overall leader in growth in brand awareness since 2011 was Moodle which grew by 47% No mention of Totara though.

All in all this study is an interesting snap shot of the attitudes of 245 responses, and the research while indicating a likely growth in expenditure on LMS/TMS is slightly at odds to the views of Elliot Masie, who on his conference call last month discussing the state of the market indicated in his opinion and research that this market was flat.

Our UK perspective is that the LMS market remains reasonably positive, as the UK has a much lower level of LMS usage, Bersin reported some 2 years ago that only 25% of UK corporates had deployed an LMS.

We note a growing interest in LMS, driven by more affordable propositions, not just in Totara and Moodle (with Kineo, Webanywhere and Learning Pool doing well in this area by offering both value, service and performance), but also by more affordable and imaginative pricing models from other vendors such as Redtray, and significantly by greater alignment of the LMS to actual organisational needs. Addressing the needs of smaller organisations is also driving the market, this is best illustrated by the aggregation of groups of organisations with shared needs into academies, such as pioneered by Virtual College.