November 15, 2011 Leave a comment
Are Your Reporting Problems Really Reporting Problems – or Something Else?
By John Schneble, Product Director, Technology Solutions, Expertus
Of all the challenges associated with legacy learning management systems, reporting is almost always cited as the toughest.
If you’re familiar with any enterprise LMS, I’m sure you’re not surprised. And if you’re responsible for responding to numerous executives who request complex, multifaceted LMS reports on-the-fly, you know exactly where the difficulties lie.
We’ve all encountered technical issues (such as system downtime) and stale data (delays of a day or even a week are not uncommon). But there are 3 other key concerns: limited data access, costly/complex reporting tools and “dirty” data.
Top 3 Reasons for Reporting Headaches
- Limited Data Access – Your reports don’t have access to necessary data captured in LMS fields, or the LMS doesn’t capture this needed data.
- Costly Reporting Tools – Too often the tools required to generate the reports you need are sophisticated 3rd party reporting tools that require licenses (money) and expertise (money).
- Dirty Data – If you don’t know it before you deliver a new report, you will hear about it soon after. Data integrity is a challenge in any enterprise-wide platform, and especially in an LMS.
Now, estimate the sum of all of this effort, and then take an honest look at what you are delivering – incomplete or invalid information, after the fact! Here are suggestions for handling these issues:
Tip #1: Reporting vs. Data Availability – Clarify the Problem
What would happen if you asked everyone who requests reports whether they’d prefer real-time access to that information? I’m sure a large percentage would laugh, and say “of course!”
Do you think they’d be able to do their jobs more efficiently if they had immediate access? Do you think they’d be more effective at reducing business risk if they knew at any moment that someone was out of compliance with training requirements?
If so, then I challenge you to view their situation as a data availability problem, not a reporting problem.
A report is an after-action summary. It answers the question, “What happened?” But if your requesters are trying to manage today’s operations, they don’t need a report. They need a tool that reveals “What’s happening now?”
Tip #2: Proactive vs. Reactive Management – Is It Worth the Risk?
Too often managers are responsible for ensuring that their employees are compliant. However, they don’t have the necessary data available to make this happen. Instead, they’re forced to request “after-action summaries” and must manage their team’s compliance based on less-than-timely data.
Needless to say, this is a frustrating and risky process.
For more than a decade, Expertus has configured, customized, implemented and supported today’s major enterprise learning management systems (LMSs), Our technical specialists have been responsible for scoping report requirements; designing custom reports; and deploying, testing and managing reports on these systems.
Several years ago, we recognized that learning measurement and reporting were one of the weakest links in the learning infrastructure. That’s when we created a next-generation, cloud-based learning platform that – among other things – addresses common LMS reporting problems. That platform is ExpertusONE, and here are the key issues it addresses:
1. Streamlined Reporting – In ExpertusONE, reports are presented in the same browser-based interface as other screens. This means no more 3rd-party reporting tools, no more subscription fees, and no more expensive custom report-building resources!
2. Smarter Architecture – Businesses are moving too fast to be managed using yesterday’s data. Our system architecture supports real-time reporting and data access without the use of a dedicated reporting database, and with zero performance degradation.
3. Open Data Availability – We’ve redefined data availability by ensuring that the system can access and report data from every data field. If your organization is taking the time to capture data, you should be able to access it.
4. Real-time, Actionable Data View – We need to stop looking at manager reports as “reports” and see them for what they really are – highly valuable business decision-support data. That’s why ExpertusONE has built-in management views that provide your senior leaders with quick and easy access to actionable data. If non-compliance is a costly risk, we make sure your managers can avoid it. If performance is a key success factor, we make sure your managers can monitor it.
If you have any doubt about the structure, scheduling or validity of your learning system reports, we can quickly evaluate your situation, pinpoint the root cause of problems and suggest an effective course of action.
Note from John: If you need expert advice to resolve learning reporting challenges with measurement services or you’re interested in cloud-based tools to drive learning analytics, contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.