Selecting an LMS: Reporting that CEOs Want

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Selecting an LMS: Reporting that CEOs Want

"You can't manage what you can't measure." Peter Drucker's quote is a mantra for most CEOs. The challenge is reporting and analyzing what's measured.

Great reporting features in an LMS can provide insightful information about your business. However, if your team can’t easily and regularly report on the data you need, then you’re limiting your ability to see a true picture of how learning has impacted business requirements and objectives.

Limited reporting keeps your company in a reactive, rather than a proactive position. This further means that you lose a competitive edge and, if related to compliance shortcomings, at a financial loss due to fines, shutdowns and lawsuits.

Your Learning and Development team has to monitor and identify when required training is due and to partner with department managers, so together they can promote meeting these company and government requirements.

With the pace of business, if the data is buried in an LMS that only a select few administrators can access, the turnaround time can be problematic. Whether for performance reviews, external audits or department resource allocation, having instant access to the right data at the right time is critical.

Sadly, many LMS’ limit customization of the reports without external parties or additional costs. With other LMS’, the reporting area is so complicated that a degree in IT is required to program any and all reports. While there may be a wonderful array of features, the most fundamental reason to have an LMS – reporting – is lost amid the other bells and whistles. As such, the value of the LMS is lost, and the ROI minimal.

On the contrary, an LMS that serves the goals of robust reporting, customized reporting, and ready integration to other business tools, such as your talent management suite, CRM, HRIS and quality control database, is an LMS that will be a valuable asset to the current and future state of your business.

When choosing an LMS, reporting should be considered one of the most important features.

So what reporting features should I be looking for in an LMS?

Each business has unique reporting needs, but there are specific features that will make a CEO's job easier:

  • Detailed Data. The ability to drill down quickly into report data saves time and is the key to uncovering not only the what, but also the why.
  • Customized Reporting. It’s your data – you should be able to customize what data you want in your reports easily. There should be valuable, out-of-the-box reports as well as freedom to create custom reports on the data you want, without needing assistance from your IT department.
  • Automation. Automation is a key tool to have in an LMS. Can reports be automatically sent with up-to-date information, allowing you and your management team to be proactive about running and building your business.  
  • Integration. Will you be able to integrate data across systems, to evaluate the impact of training on performance and other business outcomes, such as quality, sales and time to productivity?
  • Business Intelligence Dashboards. The point of data is to use it to make business decisions. BI Dashboards turn numbers into actionable information.

During the LMS selection process, keep these features top of mind while exploring additional requirements.

The Selection Process

Reporting features are important for multiple stakeholders of an LMS, but never more so than for the CEO.

L&D professionals are expected to ensure that training requirements are met and development opportunities are offered. In the process, they can struggle to demonstrate the ROI of their programs to leadership in the way that others want it. Specifically, there is frequently a gap in demonstrating how learning programs have positively impacted business goals.

This is shown in that only 8 percent of CEOs see the business impact of learning and development. And even fewer (4 percent) saw a clear ROI1.

The fault for this frequently lies with the technology…the LMS cannot integrate with other business systems. Some of the best known LMS systems can’t even integrate with other modules of the same “unified” or “integrated” system. With that as a norm in the industry, or where advertised connectors don’t actually work, or are incredibly costly and complicated, the opportunity to associate the Learning data with other parts of the organization is lost.

One way to address this problem is to pay attention to systems that not only provide reports on learning activity but can also integrate with a variety of business systems. This helps to create a ‘big picture’ snapshot so educated business decisions can be made.

As a CEO, wouldn’t you like to report on:

  • How learning programs helped increase revenue?
  • How they helped decrease costs?
  • What kind of impact learning had on the average employee’s job performance, relative to their salary?
  • Did additional training decrease quality problems?
  • What’s the best ratio of training to sales figures?
  • How are Learning programs impacting retention rates?

It’s helpful for an LMS to be able to integrate easily with whatever specific business systems that you have so you can better understand how learning has made an impact on your business goals.

Detailed reporting is a nonnegotiable requirement when dealing with compliance issues. This type of information helps you meet regulatory requirements and proactively manage the people side of compliance. Easy to compile and share reporting will help your Learning department, and you, to foster a culture that works on People development and addressing talent gaps by training within the company. BI tools will accelerate the use of the data for required and proactive management of people, teams and opportunities. Integration ability will give you the competitive edge to be the leading company in your industry.

It goes without saying that reporting is highly important during the LMS selection process. Renowned learning analyst, Josh Bersin of Bersin by Deloitte, argues that ‘the single biggest driver of business impact is the strength of an organization’s learning culture.’ What better way to brag about the wonderful accomplishments of your learning programs than with reporting that demonstrates how employees are exceling and business is profiting as a result?


If you’re currently using SharePoint and want an LMS with robust reporting features, ShareKnowledge might be a good option for your business. To learn more about our unique advantage point to corporate training, please fill out the form and we’ll be in contact soon.

Key Consideration:
Technology, Selection

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