Let’s say you’re convinced open source software, such as Moodle LMS, is what you want for your online learning system. As a manager or administrator, what is the process you go through to implement open source in your K-12, college, or corporate training programs?
Earlier this year, we looked at How an Open Source License for eLearning Works Better Than a Proprietary Solution. As a follow up, we’re examining the procurement process.
The Procurement Process for Open Source Solutions: What you need to know, and best practices.
The process of procuring an open soure software is very different than a propietary solution.
First, make sure that you send out a different RFP for open-source service vendors than for proprietary eLearning solutions vendors. For instance, don’t expect the open source vendor to provide a “sample” installation or service – since they don’t make money on the open source software (because, well, it’s free) they are not going to be willing to give away their bread-and-butter services. Instead, consider things like the “availability of commercial support, reputation of suppliers and their product development model.”
Also, be prepared for a consultation process with the open-source candidate. This is your chance to ask the open-source provider about how they’re going to meet the very customized needs of your organization, whether it’s a technical school offering training for dental hygienists, an ESL language school or a department of engineering at a university. This is also your chance to see how well prepared the vendor is to provide useful recommendations and act as a trusted advisor for “what is possible” with the eLearning software. Be prepared to pay for consultations if necessary – and remember that the information you gather at this stage can still potentially hold value for later implementation.
As an experienced provider of Moodle open-source eLearning installations and customizations, we’re experienced at consulting with clients to help them understand their needs as they go through the process.