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They can vary enormously in terms of IT construction, ease of use, compatibility, price and functionality.

Delivery Options Delivery via the Intranet is possible, but tends be the preserve of organisations with limited internet access for staff. Most organisations are opting for a hosted service. No installation or maintenance is required on site, with the software sitting on a remote server and accessed via the Internet. This eliminates the need for any internal IT support. This raises issues of data security, as information is entrusted to a third party to store and retain. A reputable provider will be able to supply you with details relating to the management and protection of this data and offer a non-disclosure agreement if required.

Licensing models Given that there is no tangible product distributed to, owned and maintained by the customer, there has been a shift away from perpetual pricing models towards annual rental models.

Annual subscription pricing models require far less commitment from the customer and a lower upfront cost. After all, the contract can be terminated at the end of year one should the product and service prove unsatisfactory. The benefit of the model is that the supplier must work hard to keep the customer happy in order to renew their business each year. A legitimate argument can be made that providers who offer this type of contract have absolute confidence in their product, as they are prepared to subject themselves to annual scrutiny from their customers who in turn receive great service given the nature of the terms of this type of agreement.

Course content Training courses can be HTML or Flash based. The drawback to using Flash is that not all browsers support it as standard. This was rectified several years ago with the release of Internet Explorer 5 and utilising Flash based e-learning is often simply a case of the IT department "switching it on". However, there is a further problem with Flash based courses; editing the courses requires someone that understands Flash technology and can be costly and time consuming.

EssentialSkillz courseware is HTML based. This makes the course easy to amend and update on an ongoing basis using the integrated HTML course editor. Adding your own images or amending text is simply a matter of using the editor and saving the changes, providing considerable savings over

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