Stats on LMS Costing & Implementation Time

I’ve just read the “Association: Learning Management Systems” report released in October 2009 by Tagoras. The report was based on the responses of 11 LMS vendors (Avilar, Blackboard, Digitec Interactive, GeoLearning, iCohere, LearnSomething, Meridian KSI, Peach New Media, Results Direct, WBT Systems and Web Courseworks) and it has some interesting stats pertaining to average LMS costings and implementation times that I thought I’d share:

  • The average first year cost for an LMS ranges from:
    • $25,000 for 500 users
    • to $193,500 for unlimited usage
  • Across 3 years the costs averaged out at:
    • $59,000 for 500 users
    • $435,000 for unlimited usage


  •  Average Implementation times for an LMS ranged from:
    • 19.2 calendar days for a simple implementation of the stock-standard LMS
    • 47.6 days for a ‘typical’ implementation, as in the usual experience of LMS vendors
    • 85.3 days for a complex implementation involving integration and custom development

I found it interesting to read these statistics and compare them with our own product to see where we sit in comparison.

Costing – First year costs at Litmos are no different from every other year so when you consider our Gold plan for 500 users is $699 per month, then the annual cost would be $8388 which over 3 years comes out to $25,164. For unlimited usage it’s a little tougher to work out as we don’t advertise an unlimited plan and custom build plans above 2000 users. But based on the 500 user numbers I would imagine it would be considerably less than those surveyed.

Now – implementation time. This was outlined in the report as: ‘Assume the implementation clock starts when the contract has been signed and stops when end users begin accessing the LMS’. This one again is a little tricky because there are no contracts to sign with us, once you have decided to go with Litmos and upgrade your account, the system is ready for you. But to get some idea, I’ll include our 14 day free trial period where most organizations use this time to load up content and begin testing on end users. Then before this period ends an organization will upgrade their account and make their first payment, therefore, sealing the deal. Now this all happens within a time-frame of 14 days – content uploaded, users accessing courses and reporting underway.

The report does make the comment that hosted systems generally translates to lower costs, and in our case I would say that is definitely true. The report does not discriminate between hosted and installed systems when averaging implementation time which I find very odd because there are some very big differences between saying ‘yes’ to a web-based LMS and waiting until a technician comes around to install an LMS on your servers.

All round a very ‘enlightening’ (and somewhat boggling) read when it comes to what’s going on in the LMS industry.