We have a term What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) which means that as you create something, what you see on-screen accurately reflects the end result. However, for a custom built online continuing education management system (CEMS), nothing could be further from the truth.

Typically when you think of a CEMS you think about how your learners will navigate the system, and how your administrators will manage the content—primarily focusing on the user interface. However, while ease of use is important, there is a lot more to a successful continuing education management system.

Continuing education is full of deadlines. Whether it is when early registration for an event expires, or when a course or certificate expires, deadlines surround you. When building a system, you have to consider how you will handle these. Will you take the time, and spend the money to build in scheduled services that will run daily to check for expiration dates and make the necessary system changes, or will you try to handle everything manually? Either way, you need to factor in additional costs and time. If you go the automated route, you’ve just added a layer of complexity to your software system that will require maintenance and routine checks to ensure it is working properly. If you decide to handle it manually, expect your life to be ruled by unending list of reminders and the occasional nightmare about forgetting an important deadline.

In addition to the scheduled system checks required to ensure everything is kept up-to-date, there are other checks that need to be built into any software system. For example, system performance and availability monitoring – to ensure that during compliance times or peak event periods your learners can access the system and courses they need. Nothing will frustrate your learners more than having an unavailable system when they need it the most, and with most your sales coming from these periods of high demand you can’t afford this type of unexpected downtime. Expect to invest heavily in uptime monitoring to ensure your system is available to your end-users – especially during compliance and other peak periods.

So as you consider your build vs buy options, be sure to consider all facets of software development. This includes maintaining compliance, which will be the topic of the next blog.