Many learning professionals have one answer to the buy it or build it question – build it all. However, in practical terms, it is rare that an organization can build every asset for each priority initiative.

There aren’t many learning development teams that have the time and resources to build every required instructionally sound, engaging, and relevant eLearning. There are few with resources in place to maintain a rigorous revision and update schedule to keep those assets relevant and correct.

So the question remains – to buy or to build training content?

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Is An Off-The-Shelf Solution A Good Fit?

If you don’t have unlimited resources, or you have the time but not enough people to do the work, or you have the budget but need the resource yesterday, an off-the-shelf training solution may be a good fit for you. The hard part can be figuring out what to license off-the-shelf versus what to spend your time and internal resources building.

First, start with the things specific to your company – like specific product training – that you should build internally.  No one knows your products better than you and the people inside your organization.

Now think about topics like payers and reimbursement, managed markets, market access, evidence-based medicine, leadership, and specific A&P and disease state topics – those are topics that are specific to your industry, but not specific to your company.  These are perfect examples of topics that you may benefit from licensing from a reputable off-the-shelf provider so that your time, money, and staff resources can be used to create company-specific training.

If there are more specific needs for off-the-shelf resources – perhaps for a product launch – be certain that your reputable off-the-shelf provider will customize those resources to ensure they are extremely relevant to your exact roles, customers, and environment.

The Proof Is In The Savings

A great example of making this decision work for a client involved a large pharmaceutical company who needed additional help with its training needs. The company needed an off-the-shelf partner to help close a training gap for their complex oncology environment and to better serve their learners by providing timely resources that would make a quick impact.

CMR worked closely with the team to understand the gaps and made the decision to develop new content to add to our oncology business acumen library. Our customer estimated that this would have equaled $325,000 in development costs for the client if they had built their own curriculum focused on business acumen. CMR included these resources in their license subscription service.

Furthermore, CMR committed to keeping this content updated as the marketplace continued to shift so that the client did not have to pay any additional fees for content updates as part of a subscription service. This helped save the client an additional $65,000 annually as costs for updates would have traditionally required at least $5,000 per resource update. CMR includes market driven updates in our licensing costs.

Working with CMR, an off-the-shelf provider, helped our client save time, and money, and gave them the use of these resources while preparing their sales teams to more effectively engage with their customers and meet their goals.

Buy Versus Build Example

The Buy Versus Build Decision

For more in-depth information on when to buy versus when to build, CMR Institute can help assess the opportunity to determine your best next step. Based on our discussions, we can help you see when it might be beneficial for your organization to partner with an industry-specific off-the-shelf provider who customizes training versus building training internally.

If you do pursue partnering with an off-the-shelf provider – be sure to check out the Top Questions to Ask an Off-the-Shelf Provider.

We're here to help.

We understand that a real-world education looks different for all learners. That's why we partner with real-world training experts to develop customizable learning pathways that meet your unique needs.

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