Big data has been around only a couple of years. But organizations worldwide have been battling with floods of data on various aspects of business since time immemorial! L&D departments, in particular, have been exposed to large amounts of data on learners, training, vendors etc., with a very small to negligible percent being able to actually translate this data into actionable information for improving learning/training for the employees, and increasing ROI. And, more often than not, the reason for not being able to do that is the data dump that blocks the way to better learning management.
In today’s fast-paced, dynamic business world, large amounts of data and information guised as reports hold no good if you are unable to draw actionable insights for making informed strategic decisions, improving operational efficiency and business productivity. What you need is Business Intelligence.
By definition, ‘Business intelligence (BI) is a technology-driven process for analyzing data and presenting actionable information to help corporate executives, business managers and other end users make more informed business decisions.’ But BI is not about technology and process alone. It’s the understanding that an organization’s data is an important strategic asset that can yield valuable management information and implement change so as to be used for improving decision making.
In the context of learning and training, a BI tools is helpful for translating the learning management data into meaningful information for devising better L&D strategies and improving processes. An LMS would normally give L&D professionals/admins the ability to draw reports on course completions, employee/learner participation/ progress etc. These reports, while important for the Admins to justify the learning/training investment, do little to aid decision-making. Sometimes, important information, relevant to different stakeholders, is lost in the flood of data that these reports generate. On the other hand, a BI tool can bring out valuable information from the data, making analytical results available to corporate decision makers as well as operational workers. To a L&D department or an organization, it can help in strategic, tactical and operational decision-making process.
Strategic decisions are long-term in their impact, affecting and shaping the direction of the whole business. While Tactical decisions help in implementing the strategy and are supported by Operational decisions that relate to the day-to-day running of the business. Let’s take an example of a Training Company to understand how a BI tool can influence its Strategic, Tactical And Operational decision-making.
A Training Company needs to determine which of its customers – retail, individual etc. – is generating more revenue so as to focus its efforts on a particular customer type and be successful. A BI tool can help it analyze this and take a strategic decision about whether to continue serving a type of customer or not.
The Training Company can draw a detailed report to find out which ‘curriculum(s)/ training material(s)’ is/are most purchased by its learners. Using this information, the company can decide to mark up/down the rates of the curriculum(s)/ training material(s)or make changes to it.
Analysis of the average time taken by the Admin to approve a curriculum request, will help the Training Company in understanding the bandwidth constraints (if any) at the LMS admin level and take necessary steps to improve the response time.
When looking for a Business Intelligence (BI) tool for your Learning Management System, or better still an LMS with an embedded BI tool, the following features will go a long way in helping you make informed decisions and maintain competitive advantage:
- Quick & fast reporting
- Integrated, intuitive graphs that are easy to interpret
- Dashboard with multiple reports
- Ability to manage reports in multiple languages
- Ability to export to multiple media