It's a familiar problem - data. Lots and lots of data. A spreadsheet for one customer, another for a group of students/learners, one for that project and so on. The wealth of data that a modern training operation generates can be quite overwhelming and data overload is rapidly becoming one of the principal productivity barriers for training managers. It's a problem that isn't going away - as Business Data Expert Bernard Marr highlights, experts are predicting a 4,300 percent increase in annual data production by 2020:

"if a company is already struggling to store and analyze its own data now, it will be drowning in data in the next few years."

Cutting through the high volume of data and determining the vital metrics that can make a tangible difference to your business has never been more important. We recently sat down with one of our customers, ForgeRock, to discuss how they use our reporting engine to do just that on a daily basis. It's worth noting that before they started using Administrate, reporting was a significant business challenge. As Kevin Streater, Director of Global Training Sales at ForgeRock laments:

"We had mountains of spreadsheets to go through, so we didn’t do it"

To stop you drowning in data, here's 5 essential metrics to help evaluate the success of your training:

1. Student Days

Keep a close eye on the amount of learning days you're delivering to students each month. Evaluate your current resources and set yourself a target so that you have a realistic goal for your team to aim for. Measuring the number of 'Student Days' on a monthly basis gives you a clear understanding of your training departments output, allowing you to quantify the organisational impact of a training department or capacity gaps and the opportunity to increase sales within a training company. An important metric, Kevin of ForgeRock notes:

“The Student Days report runs the business”

2. Average Fill Rate

Do you know how full your classes are? Are courses consistently under capacity? Monitoring your Average Fill Rate helps you understand the answers to these questions and quickly establish whether your courses are over or under subscribed.

Make qualified decisions on whether you need to run additional courses based on high existing course fill rates, or cancel courses that have low attendance. Give informed quick decisions when asked for a discounted or free course placement by partners. Reporting on your Average Fill Rate also helps establish if courses aren't profitable - perhaps they’re running below minimum break-even thresholds (see point 5).

3. Average Course Duration

While some courses you run may well have a defined start and end date, others may be more open-ended - for example when making use of a self-paced eLearning approach. In these instances, understanding the Average Course Duration can help you determine any stumbling blocks for your learners. Are some learners stalling? Can you help get them moving again? Perhaps some students are completing your course ahead of schedule and would benefit from the provision of additional eLearning material so that they can 'go beyond the course'.

Understanding Average Course Duration helps keep track of learner progression and optimising the delivery of your training courses.

4. Class Cancellations

Are you noticing a high rate of students withdrawing from their courses? Monitor trends in Class Cancellations to help establish whether you've built enough flexibility into your courses. For learners with particularly busy or erratic workloads, consider offering self-paced courses or training delivered through eLearning to help fit around their schedules.

5. Break-Even Reporting

Not strictly a metric in itself, but vitally important in running a profitable training company - evaluating your weekly, monthly or quarterly break-even points will ensure you maintain high level of profitability across all the courses you're running. Get a clear handle on resource allocation and outgoing costs alongside incoming fees to understand the true cost of running a course and whether cost recovery strategies need to be in place. Establish your break-even points and quickly understand which courses are your most profitable.

The Value Of Reporting

Access to this business-critical data helps training companies understand resource allocation, costs and ultimately the profitability and productivity of their training operation. It can help accelerate company growth and, properly disseminated, it ensures that everyone in the business has a clear understanding of their role and impact on performance.

In addition to the above, this level of reporting is especially useful at improving a training department's visibility and transparency within the wider organisation. 

Training company or training department, reliable reporting is essential in order to make informed business decisions. Use these metrics to get a better understanding of seasonal training trends to help with forecasting/staffing, but remember that increasing head count isn't always the right solution when the strains start to show with a growing training operation. As Kevin of ForgeRock notes:

“One of the most common problems when you’re running things manually from spreadsheets is scaling your operation. The standard response is to expand the team and hire new staff. Actually the answer should be to invest in your system infrastructure.”

Are you currently using spreadsheets to run your training? Sign up for a free trial of Administrate and reduce your admin time by up to 50%! Or perhaps you're already a customer and want to get started using Administrate's reporting engine to evaluate the metrics above? Speak to your Account Manager who will be happy to help.