While business intelligence (BI) is not a new concept, its application is new to the training industry — and many are wrestling with how they can bring this important data-driven approach into the world of enterprise training.

It isn’t easy. Intelligent reporting has been available to marketing, finance, sales and other teams as a conduit for deep analysis, rapid iteration and value demonstration. A comparable capability for training has lagged behind — until now. Now, learning professionals can take strides toward more actionable and measurable data with business intelligence for enterprise training.

Training leaders who are taking an educational technology (edtech) infrastructure approach are making gains in business intelligence. Connecting learning systems with the human resource information system (HRIS), financial tracking system, customer relationship management (CRM) tools and other technologies offers learning programs the opportunity to achieve a deep level of data analysis and provide insights that can help shape the future of their organization on a broader scale.

How Data-driven Training Is Leading Change Rather Than Reacting to It

The training function is, and always has been, at the core of how organizations scale. Whether it means building predictive customer success models through robust training offerings, upskilling employees to be more adaptive and critical thinkers, or maximizing partner competency through aptitude training, the training function possesses the knowledge and ability to be at the forefront of organizations’ sustainable and effective growth.

Successful training teams mobilize their data, are able to rapidly interrogate trailing and leading indicators, and provide deep analysis on how certain training initiatives are impacting the bottom-line objectives of the organization. Their application of business intelligence principles to the business challenges shouldered by training makes these activities possible.

How to Get Started With Business Intelligence

When teams can correlate training initiatives to the impact they have on business objectives, training becomes an intelligence center for the organization, not just an execution center. Key attributes of this type of reporting include the following:

Measurable

Don’t limit your understanding of numbers to quantitative data — but by the same token, understanding qualitative impact shouldn’t come at the sacrifice of quantitative data. Instead, look for trends, and ask questions to identify measurable growth opportunities.

Repeatable

Trends are repeatable, and the way you capture data to justify those trends should also be repeatable. Focus your reporting on identifying the insights that will be real levers for change, and leverage repeatable, actionable data.

Actionable

The data you’re capturing should inform insightful action that has a meaningful impact on your organization’s key objectives. Actionable data can inform decision-making and help your team lead training initiatives that define your organization’s growth in pivotal areas.

Reportable

How easy is it for you to report on the data you capture? Make sure to take the time to create reports that provide insights about what the data means from the standpoint of overall business impact.

Relatable

How do the reports you send to key stakeholders within your organization relate to other growth initiatives or tell a story about what it means for your learner to engage in a certain way? Aligning your training initiatives to your organization’s strategic plan will provide optimal results.

Oriented to Return on Investment (ROI)

It is time for the learning and development (L&D) organization to move out of the cost center mindset and into the profit center mindset. Training isn’t just a function of the business; it’s vital to understanding how your business will approach change, new markets and longevity. Connecting training to profitability is key in defining this impact.

The transformation of training reporting provides visibility to the value the training function has for the rest of the organization, which creates opportunities for collaboration, problem-solving and profitable growth that may have been hidden in the past.

Now, Apply It

The importance of training has never been in question, but new tools, software and strategies can help training teams analyze their learning environments more deeply so they can lead business decisions and support the sustainable scalability of their organizations.

What will your training team accomplish with business intelligence?

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