At the turn of the 20th century in New York City and other large metropolises, an interesting media phenomenon was occurring that, interestingly enough, has much to reveal about training today.

In 1900, photography reached a zenith. It was thought of as a miraculous medium that captured moments frozen in time — frozen, but not quite alive. The photographs, intriguing though they were, belied a sense of truth to the human experience: time in motion. So, actualities, or moving photographs, were born: the first movie clips, capturing life as it was, bustling and constantly changing.

In their early state, actualities captured activity on film — a busy street, people walking in the park — but not context, not stories, until motion pictures came along. The crucial pivot from activity to storytelling happened when documentaries were first created. In full scope, they shared life in the context of a story, and people could learn about and from the past, in context.

Find the Moving Pictures Within Your Training Data

Many training organizations today are still living in their own version of actualities, with reports that capture activity but no context. Their history is frozen in time rather than informing a creative future. But it doesn’t have to remain this way.

Mobilizing your data — from information to insight to intelligence — is a trajectory that offers your training team the ability to tell the story of how your programs provide unmistakable value to the business. How do you know where to begin? Here are some of the organizational attributes to consider as you look at where your organization may stand in terms of mobilizing your data to demonstrate the value of training.

BI Mobility

Orienting to a new stage can be challenging, but there are some indicators at each stage in the journey. If you focus on these attributes, you’ll be able to identify opportunities to move to the next stage and levers to give you momentum.

Data Maturity Stage 1: Information

How You Know You’re Ready to Leave this Stage

When scaling training operations, many teams rely on manual processes, making it difficult to scale with the same resources. Data collection turns into more and more spreadsheets. When you gather your data by hand from multiple disconnected systems, it’s difficult to use the data to answer “how” or “why” questions. Finding the sightlines that connect your training to bottom-line business objectives is also nearly impossible.

Levers That Create Mobility to the Next Stage

Whether leaning into more robust customer success training or upskilling employees to prepare for rapid growth, the training function is at the forefront of strategic growth. For this growth to occur, agility is crucial. Connecting systems, through integration and automation, is critical to the collection of real-time data to empower effective change management.

Data Maturity Stage 2: Insight

How You Know You’re Ready to Leave this Stage

When you’re able to answer “how” and “why” questions and understand how your training is creating impact, it’s time to consider how you can become proactive. What do the answers to those questions reveal about how learners are engaging with your training, and what could it mean for the future of your business? Training teams at this stage begin forecasting for future impact, leveraging context from the past to inform mobility to the future. Strategy moves into motion.

Levers That Create Mobility to the Next Stage

Many training programs move beyond this stage by leveraging a singular learning technology infrastructure, a platform approach that connects mission-critical learning and development (L&D) systems to operate from a single source of record. Training management platforms were created for this specific purpose. Their features, like robust configurability, native and custom integrations, and an open application programming interface (API), help to create the agility needed to scale rapidly.

Data Maturity Stage 3: Intelligence

How You Know You’ve Arrived

By the time training teams reach this stage, automation has streamlined the process of capturing data, and analyzing program effectiveness is as simple as filtering the data with the right criteria and generating a report. Time previously spent on manual data collection is now available for strategic analysis and planning. The data has both depth and breadth, and it affords training teams the ability to analyze their options through various sightlines, time frames and initiatives.

The ultimate win for training programs that operate on business intelligence is the ability to demonstrate their return on investment (ROI) and inform the organization on how to leverage the strengths of the team. Data-driven decision-making is finally possible, providing the business with a distinct competitive advantage based on what is already in motion, not an idea of the past.

2021 Agility Hack: Be Data-driven

It is the turning of an age for enterprise training. Business intelligence is possible, and in this time of rapid response to strategic change, it is no longer a luxury. Consider where your organization is in the evolution of data, and make the shift now to become more data-driven in 2021.