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Apps You're Not (But Should Be) Using to Run Your Software Training Business

Written by Bill Cushard

Published on October 5, 2015

When we looked across our customer base and around the industry of enterprise software companies who run training functions, we discovered and wrote about the top Apps high-performing functions are using in their learning management systems (LMS) to run software training teams. The list of Apps training functions currently use is a list of the usual suspects: virtual classrooms, CRMs, quiz/exam apps, etc. During this research, we also discovered something fun; a list of Apps we think training teams should be using, but are not. 

This posts talked briefly about some of those Apps.

Although there is overlap in the App categories below, there are significant enough differences that they each warrant their own category. The list below is a partial list, but addresses some of the major trends we are seeing in enterprise software training. 

Analytics / Business Intelligence App

If Yoga Berra lived in the big data age, he would have said, "Predictive analytics are hard. Especially when they are about the future." 

Everyone wants reporting. Actually, when you get right down to it...it is not reporting that everyone wants. We hate reporting. Reporting is boring, tedious, and sometimes mind-numbing. We dread reporting. Admit it. It's OK. We are all friends here. In my opinion, reporting is the reason few of us have any meaningful analytics; because the effort and intimidation of reporting gets in the way of actual analytics. Said another way, everyone wants analytics, but no one is willing to do the work it take to get analytics.

None of us want reporting.

But we all want answers.

We want answers to questions like:

  1. How many students did we teach last year from Europe and what where the top 3 most popular cities?

  2. What was the average sales per course and how many students took advantage of the early bird pricing?

  3. What is the ideal price to charge for training?

  4. Which course is our most popular by registrations and what is the attendance rate?

  5. What is the relationship between customers who complete training and their renewal rates?

This is just a short list. There are myriad more questions that you get from sales, support, customer success, finance, marketing, and yes, from the executive team. You have stakeholders who have questions, and you need to provide answers.  

As you run your enterprise software training function, your learning management system (LMS) has built in reporting, which may help you answer some of your questions. But it will not handle all of them. No LMS will. It is impossible. There are too many questions, and everyone is special.

This is why you need an analytics app in your LMS. An app like GoodData or Birst or Domo. There are others, but analytics apps are designed to hook into your existing systems and provide you an interface for pulling and assembling data so that you can answer the questions your stakeholders are asking.

Your LMS should provide you the ability to add an Analytics App of your choice (ideally, one your organization already uses) so you can answer these questions and run your function like you know what you are doing.

Customer Success Analytics App

Customer success is a huge trend in the enterprise software space. If customers are not successful achieving their outcomes, they will unlikely renew your service. The question that customer success tries to answer is, "How can a software company help its customers achieve a desired outcome?" There is an entire industry thriving on helping software companies answer this question. Companies like Gainsight, Bluenose, and Preact (to name only a few) offer services that allow software companies to collect data on product usage and customer health so that software companies have the data needed to help customers in the right way. 

For the head of education services at a software company this is important because with a Customer Success Analytics App, it is possible to find links between training activity and product usage, customer health, and maybe even customer outcomes. With a Customer Success Analytics App, you would be able to tell your executive team that customers who take training, use the product more or have higher health scores or achieve higher outcomes or renewal at higher rates (assuming the data tells you these things).

Wouldn't that make you a star? 

The weakest skill among training professionals, or at the very least the task at which we spend the least amount of focus, is showing evidence that training changed some behavior or improved some outcome. A customer success analytics app can change this.

Social Sign-On App

Have you ever tried to sign up for an account on a website only to be told that an account for that email address already exists, and you do not remember ever visiting that site? It is becoming so that one cannot use a web service or otherwise browse a site without setting up an account and filling out a profile. These accounts can pile up until we have so many that we forget the ones we have. 

Of all the sites on which we have accounts and profiles, there is one profile type that people take seriously. And never forget. The social network profile.

Whether it is Facebook or Linkedin or Twitter or Google (pick your poison), people do not forget about these accounts and keep these profiles updated. 

It makes sense then that the social sign-on app is a great way to reduce the friction of convincing people to sign up for an account on your LMS so that they can register for training. If people use their social profile to create an account and log in for future sessions, they will feel comfortable using your service and comfortable knowing they can always access their training account, course statuses, accomplishments, and list of courses they have not taken yet. 

Reduce Sign-Up Friction and Use Data to Answer Questions

When it comes to running an enterprise software training business there are two important tasks that need to be accomplished. The first is to make it as frictionless as possible for students to sign up and keep their accounts updated. One way to do this is to allow students to access your learning site using their social profile with a social sign-on app. Another important function is using data to answer questions from stakeholders and make data-driven decisions. Using customer success and/or analytics apps in your LMS, you can go beyond the reporting capability of your LMS and get to the insights you need to run your business objectively.

If training analytics is on your initiatives list in 2015 or 2016, consider learning more about how the GoodData App can be used in Learndot to track your training sales, reveal patterns and opportunities, optimize instructor utilization, and produce financial reports. 

Satisfy Stakeholder Questions

Call for comments

  1. Do you uses these apps in your LMS? How?
  2. What apps are you using that are not in this post? How do you use them?

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Originally published Oct 5, 2015 4:30:00 PM, updated Oct 5, 2015