Depending on who you ask – and what they are trying to sell – multi tenancy is either a slow, unreliable, unsafe system that is tricky to back up, or a great feature which gives a certain degree of control to different departments, partners or vendors.
The answer to this question is not a one-size-fits-all answer and depends strongly on the type of organization, the number of LMS users and whether or not there are different parts of the organization – or channel partners or vendors – that require different access to the same LMS.
A multi tenant LMS is a learning management system which serves various customers under just one LMS license.
A single database is shared between all tenants, which makes reporting simple and quick. Personalization is a key part of a multi tenant lms and allows each tenant to upload their own branding and color schemes.
There is a “super-admin” which administers the entire multi tenant lms and each tenant can have its own admin with limited controls. A multi tenant lms also allows for each tenant to have their own access rights.
It should be noted that, despite just one database between them, the data from each tenant is shut off from each other – avoiding the risk of rogue tenants finding themselves in enemy territory. This is the power of a multi tenant LMS.
If you are a small, centralized company then the chances are that a multi tenant lms isn’t for you. However, if your LMS is destined to be used by different departments, branches, channel partners or vendors then a multi tenant lms may be of interest.
A multi tenant LMS effectively gives you a number of different LMS platforms, for the price of one. The users of one tenant may not know that they are in a tenant, or that their tenant is part of a greater system of tenants under one multi tenant lms.
What they have is their own personalized learning environment within a multi tenant lms, which feeds into and draws from just one database.
A company like Ford, with dealerships spread across the world in various countries, can use the multi tenant lms architecture to provide each of these dealerships with its own learning environment.
Each separate virtual learning environment can only be accessed by learners from each dealership, and each tenant will have a different language depending on the country.
Within a large company there could be a number of departments or groups which may be administered under one multi tenant lms license.
The sales department might need different branding and access to other departments, which is possible with a multi tenant LMS.
One organization doesn’t operate in a vacuum, and when it comes to selling product there are often several smaller entities helping to do the business.
With a multi tenant LMS, you can be sure that each of these actors receives the same crucial training, delivered in the same way but through different tenants.
A different tenant can be given to each vendor under the multi tenant lms, channel partner or contractor with their respective branding.
Training companies that wish to sell their elearning content can use multi tenant lms architecture to sell it to other companies.
Each time the purchasing organization wishes to buy a piece of content a new tenant is created so they can access it. This way, even if the company doesn’t operate an LMS they can still get temporary access to a tenant.
It isn’t just the corporate world that can benefit from multi tenant lms architecture. Below are a couple of examples of the application of the multi tenant lms in education.
A university may be spread across a number of campuses, sometimes across different countries and continents. Thanks to multi tenant lms, each campus can have its own branding and special access.
In the same way, as each campus can have its own tenant, each department or faculty within the university or school can too.
With a single database for a host of different tenants, reporting is easy as all of the information is in one place. Multi tenant LMS is helpful to create advanced reports.
Employing a multi tenant lms isn’t for everyone and some issues have been pointed out when compared to the single tenant option. It is worth bearing in mind that the alternative to a multi tenant lms is a series of single tenant systems, which would considerably push up the price.
Security may be an issue given the structure of multi tenant lms. A single tenant platform is by its very nature is a closed system and so the data is more secure. With multi tenant lms, all of the data from all of the different tenants is stored in one database, although choosing a good multi tenant LMS vendor with a robust security system will ensure multi tenant data is safe.
Given that all of the data is stored in one place and each tenant is dependent on this central system, if this goes down, then all of the other tenants will suffer – unlike a single tenant system where each has its own database and control. This has caused some unrest that the reliability is worse with multi tenancy.
Flexibility and customizability is not as straightforward with multi tenant lms. It becomes complicated when taking into account that the tenants are part of a shared system and that changes made to one part affect the rest.
Whether or not you opt for a multi tenant lms depends on the departments, partners, faculties, vendors or any other entities that will be using the multi tenant LMS.
Paradiso Solutions is one of the first providers to implement multi tenant solutions. If you want to learn more about multi tenant lms and how it could benefit your company, or if you want to set up a free demo to see it in action, click on the link below and one of our advisors will be happy to help