So, now we have two LMSs – eFront and TalentLMS. Both products share characteristics but they are also very different in some very important aspects. In this post I will try to better clarify the main differences to help you choose the LMS that best fits your needs.
eFront is primarily focused on functionality, whilst the TalentLMS is focused on simplifying the learning process. TalentLMS has no match if you want a quick learning solution.
eFront on the other hand comes with a much broader functionality (in communication tools alone we offer: forums, blogs, wikis, chat, collaborative content comments, personal messages, course announcements and a calendar), it has a number of extension modules and an expandable architecture that makes it a perfect fit for demanding cases and learning scenarios.
Although eFront tries to be as user-friendly as possible, the extended functionality and customization options imposes some additional complexity – this is unavoidable.
So, if your learning needs are fairly simple and you don’t have much time then TalentLMS is by far your best choice. Otherwise, you might better be better off with eFront.
Software-as-a-service vs Deployed LMS solution
Another important difference is the form of service delivery. eFront comes as both a deployed and hosted solution. Many organizations prefer to host their elearning systems themselves. Normally those companies have important security restrictions and an IT department. Even when organizations want to outsource their elearning infrastructure, eFront comes with a dedicated hosted server solution. This is a managed hosting solution and the customer retains the ability to make heavy customizations to his eFront account.
TalentLMS on the other hand comes as a pure Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). You can start using it immediately (nothing to download and install, no person in between) and you can update, upgrade and downgrade your account at any time. A SaaS solution is based on a much more complex architecture but provides important benefits for end users (peace of mind, easy-to-start, centralized security, no technical headaches) and the company (fewer costs, easy to grow).
One problem with SaaS solutions is that the products are to a large extent standardized so it is rarely possible to make heavy customizations to the interface or functionality. However, most SaaS (including TalentLMS) offer some sort of API to integrate with other products.
eFront, as a mature product, has been extensively tested in heavy environments under excessive stress and in all possible scenarios. It has an extensive user base that is happy with the way it works. When thinking about moving forward we do have to consider this user-base. We do not want to make the product non-upgradable for them. This restricts our ability to make drastic decisions about the product mix and technologies used. This is not endemic only to eFront; this is a problem faced with almost all software products at some stage during their lifespan.
The choice to build TalentLMS was made so we could try a number of new technologies, tools and best-practices we wanted to try for a long time without making drastic changes to eFront. This means that TalentLMS as a younger product that has yet to prove its value and robustness.
The pricing is a bit different as well. eFront starts from totally “free” for the open-source edition and can escalate to “expensive” large installations for the Enterprise edition. You can “buy it” (deployed solution) or “rent it” (hosted solution). On the other hand, TalentLMS uses monthly subscriptions. You can start with a free subscription and based on your needs update, downgrade or cancel at any time.
We see the two products as complimentary. With two learning solutions we can cover a very wide spectrum of the eLearning market. As time passes, some functionality will be transferred between the two products, we will always make sure however that their distinct nature and focus is retained and emphasized.