If you follow us on social media, hopefully you’ve seen that we at Engineered Code shared some exciting news this week. We announced ecLearn, a learning management system (LMS) built on top of Microsoft Dataverse. In this blog post I’m going to give you a bit of a glimpse into the ecLearn journey.
We’ve been working on ecLearn a while. If I recall correctly, it was way back in 2017 that we first started talking about the idea. We were working with a Dynamics CRM client at the time that had express interest in an LMS. When we did our research into something that would integrate well with their CRM, we were surprised to see that the options were limited. At the time, we could find only one LMS provider that even mentioned that it could be possible to integrate with Dynamics CRM. We knew that with Dynamics 365 Portals we could probably build a rudimentary LMS, but we also thought that there might be a market for something like that, and with a bit more effort, we could build something that lots of people could use.
In 2018 we started hiring staff and focusing on building the product. As a firm that had previously only worked on consulting projects for other people, the tough part wasn’t the technology – it was figuring out how to drive our own project forward. As we worked on it in 2018 and 2019, we consistently failed to prioritize the development of our product over available consulting work. I know we aren’t the first company to do that, and we won’t be the last. But while we continued to make progress, it was slow.
Then COVID-19 hit, and the progress stopped. The need for portals skyrocketed, especially in the health care space where we have a long history of client engagements. Engineered Code is proud to be a place when work-life balance is a priority, and so overtime was not really a thing. But in the first few months of the pandemic, when we were working on systems to help organize the pandemic response for our province, we did start working some long hours. So at that point ecLearn wasn’t even on the backburner – it was put into the freezer.
There it stayed until earlier this year we decided it was time to move forward with it. We brought in staff whose only focus would be ecLearn, and, more importantly, committed to not stealing them for consulting projects.
Thawing the technology proved to be a bit more painful than expected. When things were put on hold in 2020, we felt we were pretty close to a finish line. But by 2023, lots had changed. While perhaps we could’ve made the old code work, we wanted to do it right – making sure we were using the latest of SDKs and APIs of the Power Platform, as well as some of the other tools we are using to deliver the solution. Despite those pains, we were excited by the advancements in the Power Platform that we could leverage, and it gave us ever more confidence that we built on the right technology stack.
That brings us to now, where we are finally ready to share what we’ve been working on with the rest of the world. We are excited to hear your feedback on what we’ve done, and hope you’ll take a bit of time out of your day to look at what we have, and maybe even schedule a demo.