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Six ways to reach data zen

Data is at the heart of any training or event organization. It fuels every part of a successful operation, from planning, to marketing, to finance, to operations and customer engagement. How well does your organization manage its data?

This article outlines the key pillars to an effective data strategy for training and event organizations: registrations, payment & accounting, attendance, communication, personalized learning and security.

Managing registration data

Registrations are the foundation of any training or event business – but more registrations means more data. If your registration process involves entering information onto a spreadsheet or manually importing registrations from a registration tool into a CRM, it’s likely you’re vulnerable to data issues. Not only do these manual steps take time, but they increase the risk of mismanagement of data with corrupt sheets, human error or lack of back-up. As your training or event operation grows in size, these issues compound.

Clean registration data management alleviates the time constraint of manual entry of data. Training and event management software takes registrations from your website or event portal and pushes them through to a CRM. The best management systems give you the choice to either use their in-built CRM functionality or seamlessly connect to a third-party CRM (eg. Salesforce). Better still, if the software is hosted in the cloud, data is always accessible, anywhere, anytime.

Managing finance data

Again, if you’re a growing training or event business, this means you have increasing amounts of financial data to manage. If you manually create invoices, or enter or import registration information into an accounting system, you risk human errors which result in time-consuming apology emails, credit notes and reinvoicing. Manual financial data management will often mean reconciliation or reporting is difficult and inaccurate too.

Cleanly managing your financial data as a training or event business is possible. Training or event management software will often integrate with your accounting system. All financial data will then flow automatically between the management software and your accounting system and invoices can be sent automatically. This reduces the administration work required as well as increasing the accuracy of the data itself. Some accounting systems such as Xero also offer easy ways to reconcile bank payments to event registrations.

Managing attendance data

Many training or event providers use paper-based attendance sheets. Ticking off registrant names at the start of an event is not a professional experience. But the bigger issue here is that the attendance details have to be manually entered into a system or spreadsheet after the event, and risk being lost.

Digitally ticking off attendance through a training or event management systems’ mobile app is a more efficient method. The act of logging attendance digitally can also trigger other tasks automatically. For example, schedule a post-event survey email to be sent to that person the next day.

Sending attendee communications

Manually emailing communication to registrants before and after an event can result in important information being sent too close to an event, and reminders and post-event follow-up not being sent at all.

A good training and event management system will reduce manual administration and ensure all communications are automatically sent at the right time with the right information.

Managing personal learning data

If you offer training or elearning, how do you manage the results and progress of your learners? Is it easily accessible and can you report on it? Training organizations who do not use a Learning Management System (LMS) will often have to manually record and enter assessment results against registrants or within a spreadsheet. As with any other manual entry of data, this leaves the risk of human error or loss of data. More importantly, it means you are often unable to view learner journeys and less able to tailor learning paths for each individual. This limits the success of your training as well as negatively affecting the registrants experience.

A cleaner way to manage this data, if you already use a training management system is to start with an LMS such as Moodle. LMS’s are designed to provide a single, secure and integrated system to create personalised learning environments. As a training provider, you are able to deliver courses, quizzes, SCORM objects and other online activities. Every enrolment is automatically mapped across the two systems giving you live visibility on registrant information and learning progress.

Secure, auditable data

In any discussion around data, the question of security always surfaces. Issues with audit trails and data loss arise when using manual systems to manage your training or event data. Organizations that use spreadsheets and manually import data between their disparate systems have very little in the means of an audit trail. An audit trail is a record or log of changes that have been made to a certain piece of information. Manual systems don’t offer you this luxury, leaving you in the dark about who is making changes to your data. Also using systems like spreadsheets or paper that are stored locally increases the risk that you may lose the data entirely.

Most training or event management softwares require login information for every user which is used within an audit trail. For a company, this information is vital as you can see exactly who is making changes to the data you store. Many of these softwares are cloud-based, so your data is constantly being backed up to secure locations, compared to that attendance sheet you keep in your briefcase.

Are you ready to reach data zen?

Improving your data management can seem like a mammoth task. But with the points above, or an automated system like Arlo there is a better way. For more information on how Arlo can help you manage the data behind you training or event business, contact us today.