In cooking, you have many different types of tools you can use to make a meal. For example, you have mixers, measuring cups, cutting boards, and so many other tools. Each tool is designed to meet the needs of the cooker and serve a specific purpose in the cooking process. An LMS is not different in that sense. There are several types of LMSs in the market being used for educational as well as training purposes, and one of the most difficult choices for organizations and institutions to make is deciding the type of LMS to select based on deployment or license (Pappas, 2014). Of course, many other factors (e.g., pricing, support, additional features, and others) must be considered and weighed in this decision. Still, the cost combined with financial and technical requirements are still the main focus when selecting an LMS (Croitoru & Dinu, 2016). Indeed, it is important to analyze and examine the type of LMS deployment because of its influence in the overall cost as well as other relevant requirements that can inform the decision about an LMS.
There are two main types of LMS deployment you need to be familiar with: (1) proprietary, and (2) open-source. Within those two solutions, there are two other distinct categories to be considered: (a) Software as a Service (SaaS) or cloud-based system and (b) Installed LMS. In order to determine what type of LMS is beneficial to an organization or institution, a clear understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of each solution must be reviewed. The following sections of this chapter will provide a definition for each main type of LMS deployment, compare their features based on the benefits and drawbacks, and discuss additional components/apps that can enhance an LMS.
Defining Proprietary (or Commercial) LMS
Imagine that you came up with an amazing recipe on your own, now you are faced with the dilemma: do I share this recipe with everyone? Or do I charge a fee to share my recipe partially with others? Well, if you choose the latter option, you follow a proprietary software model. In a proprietary software model, the "recipe," which is the source code, is composed of written commands developed by a programmer, and is often hidden from user’s view not only as a technical, but also as a legal matter (Zittrain, 2004). The reason for this secrecy on the source code is to prevent others from developing new software without the proper permission from the copyright holders.
In the case of an LMS, a solution is considered proprietary, also known as commercial, when its software is licensed under an exclusive legal right of the copyright holder (Pillai & Kevin, 2013). For example, if your organization has adopted an LMS such as Blackboard, which is a popular commercial LMS at the time this chapter has been written, then its company gives your organization the right to use the software under certain conditions based on a license fee. The conditions are stipulated by the LMS company in the form of a contract or agreement between the parties involved and the cost of the licensing fee is often based on annual per-user licenses. The license fees usually vary their cost between $15-$100 per user (Yupangco, 2018). In addition to the licensing fee, other fees might also be included for operation, maintenance and technical support of the LMS software.
In summary, the nature of a proprietary LMS is for profit, as schools and organizations pay a fee to use the software. And a proprietary software follows a “closed” source model in which the source code is kept in-house, i.e., within the company, and not released to the public (Pillai & Kevin, 2013). Going back to our cooking analogy, you can think of the software code as a famous restaurant’s secret recipe. The restaurant keeps that recipe “closed” in-house without sharing any particular details or information to the public. This closed information allows the recipe to be intact without any consumers/users’ alterations or any addition to the original recipe. The same goes for proprietary LMS. The company that developed the LMS software will not allow users to modify or add to their software source code. The LMS company either creates and manages the courses (Bran, 2017) or gives permission for an LMS administrator at the organization to do so, without sharing any access to the source code. This means that users cannot make any personal adjustments to the software because the LMS company controls its structure as well as the activities within their system (Wright, Lopes, Montgomerie, Reju, & Schomoller, 2014).
Furthermore, proprietary LMS solutions can either be installed or adopt a SaaS or cloud-based approach. Given that cloud-based LMS will be discussed in a separate section of this chapter, we will cover installed LMS in this part. An installed LMS is a software hosted on an organization’s local server (Pappas, 2017). After purchasing an LMS from a vendor and obtaining its license for a determined time, the organization’s internal IT team is usually in charge of installing and maintaining the LMS in-house (Johnston, 2015). This maintenance also includes making any additional upgrades and solving any technical issues within the LMS internally. Although it seems like a time-consuming and costly endeavor to an organization, this option can provide more customization, controlling and storing of data locally as well as compatibility with third-party applications (Pappas, 2017). Some drawbacks with this option involve the scalability of the LMS, which falls under the responsibility of the organization’s IT team organization. These considerations need to be analyzed and assessed by the organization’s team before deciding on an installed approach. If selecting this option, an organization should have an IT team in place to administer, provide support, customize the LMS as well as manage any other technical needs.
There are many proprietary LMSs available in the market. Some examples can be found in the Table 1 below:
A List of Examples of Proprietary LMS
Is one of the largest LMS companies, serving approximately 100 million users around the globe (Blackboard Inc., 2020).
Is a growing LMS company with customers in K-12, higher education, healthcare, government, and the corporate sectors (D2L Corporation, 2020).
Is a fast-growing LMS with approximately 21 million users in more than 130 countries (SAP Litmos, 2020).
Is a global LMS company that provides engaging and interactive learning experiences to learners from different sectors,including businesses and nonprofit organizations (Interactyx, 2020).
Provides personalized learning experiences and limitless options for customers’ learning programs (Saba, 2020).
Defining Open-Source LMS
Now, imagine that you want to share with others the amazing recipe you created. In fact, you want others to modify and create new versions of that recipe and share it with other people. Well, that means you are following an open source model. Open-source LMS allows anyone to have access to the source code, so they can make modifications or enhance the software. Overall, many LMSs are open source as they initially emerged as a university project instead of a business model (Croitoru & Dinu, 2016). In essence, open-source involves a community of users who collaborate with the focus “on teaching and pedagogy on top of the technical proper functioning of the system” (Bran, 2017). Collaborators of the open-source have to accept the license terms when they access the software, and generally, it grants users permission to modify, use, study and distribute the software (Opensource, 1999; Wright et al., 2014). According to the GNU General Public License, any individual or company can modify the open source code as long as they do not prevent others from further modifying the code either by charging them or licensing them (Pillai & Kevin, 2013). With that license requirement, there is a “copyleft” stipulation that requires anyone who made modifications to the software must share the source code of those changes (Opensource, 1999).
In summary, the nature of an open-source LMS is non-profit, as schools and organizations can use the software without paying any fee. An open-source software follows an “open” source model in which the source code is open to the public and can be “re-distributed for free provided credit is given to the original manufacturer” (Pillai & Kevin, 2013, p. 4). Going back to our cooking analogy, you can think of the open source code as a generic recipe that is shared to the public by a cooker. People can take this recipe and customize it by making modifications or adding ingredients for dietary needs. They can share the recipe with their modifications to the public as long as they do not prevent others from modifying the recipe further or charge them for using it. Additionally, the recipe should give credit to the original creator. The same goes for the open-source LMS. For example, the developer(s) of the LMS software create and allow other users to modify or add to their software source code. Users can make personal adjustments to the software and redistribute to other users as long as they do not profit from it or prevent others from making modifications. Giving credit to the original creators of the source code is also a common practice. Some drawbacks with open-source LMS include the need to purchase servers to host the LMS platform as well as trained personnel and staff to operate, optimize and maintain the servers (Yupangco, 2018).
There are many open-source LMSs available in the market. Some examples can be found in the Table below:
A List of Examples of Open-Source LMS
Is a platform created to provide educators and learners with a personalized learning environment, which can be downloaded onto their own web server. This platform involves a robust, secure and integrated system (Moodle, 2020).
Is a web-based LMS developed to create and deliver courses online, allowing for quick installation or update as well as the development of customized themes (ATutor, 2020).
Is an LMS that contains standard online learning, teaching, and collaboration tools as well as community-based contributions. Its open-source flexibility allows for customization and configuration of the software to meet the needs of the organization (Sakai, 2020).
The initial LMS program was created by Docebo Srl and released to the public. Once Docebo switched its business model to a commercial distribution, a group of partner companies worked to create a new identity and workflow to the software as well as continue the open source project (Forma.lms, 2020).
Defining Cloud-based LMS
Cloud-based LMS is a true gumbo because there are many cooks in the kitchen when making this type of LMS. Each cook has the ability to use an array of different cloud-based tools and software they believe will enhance their instruction, and consequently the learning process (Wright, Lopes, Montgomerie, Reju, & Schomoller, 2014). A more formal definition of cloud-based software proposes a model to enable convenient and on-demand network access to “a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction” (Mell & Grance, 2011). In other words, cloud-based LMS provides a service to organizations that allow them to access the LMS “on-demand without investing a lot in setting up the IT infrastructure” (Lal, 2015).
A cloud-based LMS focuses on the teachers and pedagogy practices like in an open-source model; however, it also provides a direct focus on the learners (Bran, 2017).
What does it mean? It means that this type of LMS follows socio-constructivist premises in supporting a “collaborative learning environment for individual and collective learning through interactive learning activities” (Kumar & Sharma, 2016, n.d.). Although a cloud-based LMS is hosted on the web under a vendor, it allows learners to access it from anywhere and on any device (Dufresne, 2017). That is, users can access this type of LMS from any mobile technology (e.g., computers, smartphone, tablets, etc.) independent of their location as long as they have access to the internet. Cloud-based LMSs are often a low-cost solution for organizations because there is no need to invest in sufficient/heavy IT infrastructure. Thus, this type of solution is more appropriate for small and medium-size organizations (Dobre, 2015). This solution also allows instructional designers to upload courses, learning paths and implementation of an array of web-based tools. Students have the ability to use web-based tools that they may be familiar with as a result of social networking or workplace use.
Although many cloud-based LMSs can be free for users, there are some that charge a fee according to the usage (i.e., pay-per-user or pay-per-use) or a regular license fee. In a pay-per-user model, the LMS vendor can charge an organization in the following manner: (a) for each user that is actually registered to use the software, or (b) for each user that logins and uses the software. Conversely, in the pay-per-use approach, a charge fee is made everytime that the organization uses (i.e., the definition of use in this context will vary according to the vendor) the LMS (Simpson, 2017). Overall, cloud-based LMS involves “paying a fee to a 3rd party for the use of its software, computing power, and technical expertise instead of maintaining on your own” (Curran, 2011, n.d.). Interestingly, cloud-based services are not limited to proprietary software, some vendors also operate open source software as well (Curran, 2011). However, when using an open source LMS, the user only pays for the “cloud” uptime and support services. Some examples of cloud-based LMS can be found in the Table below:
A List of Examples of Cloud-Based LMS
Is an LMS that provides customers with tools to build their online business quickly, safely, and effectively (DigitalChalk, 2020).
Is one of the most widely adopted LMS in North America with its market increasing across 70 countries (Instructure, 2020).
Is an LMS that uses learning-specific artificial intelligence algorithms to produce more effective learning experiences (Docebo, 2020).
Is an online platform created to provide a lean, intuitive and hassle-free learning experience to learners (Epignosis, 2020).
Comparing the types of LMS
When deciding which meal to cook, you probably weigh the strengths and weaknesses of the tools you have available in your kitchen. The purpose is to select optimal tools that will help your work, making it more efficient and effective. In the case of LMS, the goal is the same. You need to compare and contrast the LMSs available in the market before making a decision. Usually, people assess the LMS based on its features, flexibility, cost, and other important LMS functions. One way to start this process is by analyzing the main types of LMS before deciding the type that will meet your needs. For example, when selecting a proprietary LMS, customers might select this option because this type of LMS usually provides high support; however, the cost associated with this option might be a downside. A better comparison and contrast of each option can be found in the table below:
Comparison of the Types of LMSs
Has limited support:
Usually free or free for basic packages. Advanced features will have extra cost such as:
Cost-negligible or low:
Usually a reliable source:
Reliability is limited as code quality, accuracy, and update may not be maintained.
Reliability is on internet connection. It also offers scalability, as the software will work the same independent of the number of learners or instructors.
Customization is limited:
Usually has high customization:
Customization is moderate and it needs familiarity with the tools.
It usually links to other enterprise software systems, but data can be lost if the course leaves the hosted LMS.
Software updates are available; however, there is a possibility of stagnancy if community members are no longer developing.
Learners can access material anywhere and at anytime and can easily collaborate or share information
Usually limited - inability to adjust the software, add features, or address issues immediately by users and their organization
High flexibility – allows for adjustment of the software, adding features as well as collaboration because of the software and source code being accessible to anyone.
High to moderate flexibility - variety of tools and features available.
Constrained- it can be restrictive and difficult to use or add new features. Software may not be maintained for current treads/uses.
Open – allows for suggestions and new ideas because of collaborative community development.
Software may not be maintained for current treads/uses.
Software might need to be installed on a server instead of personal devices
May need integration with existing administrative systems or the need to establish an administrative system. Software can also be installed on personal devices
No need to install software. There is no need for a server or IT expertise. Easy distribution of course, mobile device friendly and real time reporting/ access to documents.
License agreement may be restrictive in how the software is implemented, distributed, and administered
Compents/Apps that Enhance LMS
Most LMSs include user management features such as user account and profiles, authentication as well as roles and permissions (Foreman, 2018). In addition to user management features, LMSs also include some general features that assist the operation of the platform such as: (a) content, in which instructional materials are upload or displayed for learners, (b) communication, in which instructors and learners interact via email, discussion, announcements, etc., (c) assessment, in which instructors can create assessment materials to learners such assignments or tests, and (d) administrative, in which instructors and students can manage the courses and even customize individual courses. Although those features are common in the LMSs, customers might want to add extra components and apps to enhance the online environment.
Adding a little extra seasoning to your LMS never hurts. Thus, there are a few free cloud tools that can be used to create a kind of personalized LMS. These tools work well with open-source and cloud-based LMS.
- Facebook: a popular social media tool that could be integrated with the LMS for personalization such as common interests, hobbies, etc.
- Google Drive: a cloud-based storage that could allow instructors and students to store and share large documents/files online.
- Dropbox: another cloud-based storage that could allow instructors and students to store and share large documents/files online.
- Skype: a video conferencing system that allows instructors and students to meet synchronously.
- Flickr: an online photo management that allows instructors and students to use and share photos.
- YouTube: a video streaming platform that allows instructors and students to share videos.
- Camtasia: a video editing and production tool that can be used in video creation and sharing.
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DigitalChalk (2020). Features. Retrieved from https://edtechbooks.org/-Smc
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One of the most useful features is different user roles. In any LMS, there are 3 main user types: A user or a learner who takes the assigned courses and studies the available materials. An author who can manage training content: add and remove courses, and assign courses to learners.What are the different types of LMS? ›
- SaaS LMS (Cloud-based) If you want to get your LMS up and running without using many design or development resources, a SaaS LMS or cloud-based LMS is going to be your pick. ...
- Installed LMS (On-premise) ...
- Open-source LMS. ...
- Custom-built LMS.
One of the most useful features is different user roles. In any LMS, there are 3 main user types: A user or a learner who takes the assigned courses and studies the available materials. An author who can manage training content: add and remove courses, and assign courses to learners.What are the two major components of a LMS? ›
An LMS consists of two parts – user interface and admin interface. An admin interface is where the instructors or training managers create user groups and admins, design courses and tests, automate notifications, and analyze learner progress through reports.What is 2 main functions of a LMS? ›
A learning management system has a number of functions and serves a variety of purposes in a corporate setting. However, an LMS has only a couple of primary functions. They include facilitating employee/member/volunteer/end-user training and keeping the cost of that training as reasonable as possible.What are the three LMS? ›
LMS Comparison Chart.
|LMS Software||Rating||Deployment Type|
|Schoology||4.3/5||Cloud Hosted, Open API|
Choosing Your LMS Software
Currently, there are more than 800 options of different LMS platforms (ranging from open-source to proprietary) with numerous LMS features.
Blackboard is the most widely used LMS software. Although Blackboard is widely used by higher education institutes, its use is not limited to the education industry. Blackboard is extremely popular in the business world and is used for the purpose of employee training.What are the stages of LMS? ›
Generally, the LMS implementation process involves six major steps: planning, LMS configuration, systems integration, course and data migration, user acceptance testing, and go live.What is LMS structure? ›
Basic requirements, which are imposed on LMS (Learning Management System) from the point of view of the needs of a teacher, are to present the contents of instruction, manage the instruction, communicate with students, motivate them to study, observe their progress and evaluate them.
- Measure & manage learner progress. ...
- Competencies and learning plans. ...
- Create social online learning experiences. ...
- Reward & recognise learners. ...
- Inform teaching decisions.
- Identify Your Needs. With so many (600+) learning platforms to select from, you need to start with a well-defined search criteria. ...
- Define Your LMS Requirements. ...
- Explore the Market. ...
- Evaluate Vendors. ...
- Choose an LMS. ...
- Final Thoughts.
Often called an LMS for short, a learning management system is a software application that provides the framework that handles all aspects of the learning process – it's where you house, deliver, and track your training content.How many modules are there in LMS? ›
Usually learning management system may have thousands of modules to plan, implement and assess a specific learning process. These learning modules comprises social wall, gamification, multi-tenancy, machine learning, data analytics, so on and so forth.What are the LMS deployment or utilization options? ›
There are two main types of LMS deployment you need to be familiar with: (1) proprietary, and (2) open-source. Within those two solutions, there are two other distinct categories to be considered: (a) Software as a Service (SaaS) or cloud-based system and (b) Installed LMS.What are two examples of LMS? ›
Some popular LMSes used by educational institutions include Moodle, Blackboard Learn and Schoology. Popular enterprise-level LMSes include Adobe Captivate Prime, Docebo LMS, TalentLMS, iSpring Learn and eFront.What is the main objective of LMS? ›
A learning management system (LMS)'s purpose is to empower Learning and Development (L&D) departments with training and development for their learners, so they can continue a company's growth, success, and ultimately drive revenue. These are some pretty big learning goals.Is Zoom an LMS? ›
Zoom LMS offers the best video, audio, and screen-sharing experience across Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Zoom Rooms, and other room systems.Is Microsoft teams an LMS? ›
MS Teams isn't an LMS — but you can integrate your LMS with MS Teams. Essentially, we're talking about placing your LMS inside your MS Teams application. The two have highly complementary functionality, which makes them highly compatible to integrate.What is the difference between platform and LMS? ›
An LMS is a software application that enables users to create, design, and deliver their own course content through a website or a mobile app. eLearning platforms, on the other hand, are web-based applications that allow users to design online courses, then deliver/share them with learners.
LMS stands for learning management system and CMS stands for content management system, so the clues are in the names. An LMS is a platform that has been specifically designed to host, manage and deliver e-learning, while a CMS is a generic platform for all forms of online content.What is a standard LMS? ›
A learning management system (LMS) is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, automation, and delivery of educational courses, training programs, materials or learning and development programs.Is Google an LMS? ›
Google Classroom is a cloud-based learning management system that is a part of Google Apps for Education.What LMS does Google use? ›
Docebo LMS - Google Workspace Marketplace.What LMS does zoom use? ›
The CN LMS allows you to:
- Create, manage, and deliver up to ten free online classes or corporate training courses. ...
- Instructors can use this app to post grades, assignments, online quizzes, polls, badges, live Zoom and social discussion.
The next-generation LMS, also called the next-generation digital learning environment (NGDLE), is compatible with other tools and capable of being customized to suit an institution's needs. Unlike the traditional LMS, the next-generation LMS is an ecosystem of products and services, not a single application.How do you implement LMS? ›
- Pick Your LMS Implementation Team. The LMS likely touches on several operations within your organization. ...
- Establish An LMS Implementation Plan And Timeline. ...
- Prepare For Data Migration. ...
- Make A Trial Run And Offer Training. ...
- Switch To The New LMS. ...
- Assess And Wrap Up.
- Encourage group collaboration.
- Ask questions during an online lecture.
- Include quizzes and tests.
It allows an organization to safely organize and store all big data in one location. This allows instructors and admins to more easily update and maintain learning materials. It also helps produce effective training that is consistent across the organization.What does LMS consist of? ›
A learning management system (LMS) is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, automation, and delivery of educational courses, training programs, materials or learning and development programs. The learning management system concept emerged directly from e-Learning.
How to implement an LMS. Generally, the LMS implementation process involves six major steps: planning, LMS configuration, systems integration, course and data migration, user acceptance testing, and go live.