Data Cleanup in your LMS (Part 1)

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Is it time to Spring clean your LMS? (Part 1 of 2)

Part 1 of 2 exploring the reason or reasons an organization would consider changing their entire learning management system (LMS). Often, some ‘spring cleaning’ goes a long way

When spring comes, so does the perpetual question of whether to spring clean or not.  And if nothing is done, next year when spring comes around it becomes an uglier question.  So ugly, that the thought of finding a new place to live may enter your mind.  Even though the thought of moving makes many people cringe, it may seem like the easiest solution.

Some LMS Administrators have similar thoughts when they take a step back and look at their LMS.  For those organizations that are lucky enough to be able to allocate resources to keep a tidy LMS as they go, we say, “Outstanding!  Way to go!”  Unfortunately, numerous LMS Administrators are faced with a constantly changing business environment, which is challenging to keep up with and quite difficult to get ahead of.

Things are great when the LMS is first implemented
Many LMS’s start out as an empty shell, similar to a brand new unfinished house.  The unfinished house gives you an opportunity to pick the paint colors, window treatments, appliances, and furniture.   Odds are when you first implemented your LMS you went through a process to furnish it (aka configure it) for your family (aka your organization) so it fits your lifestyle (aka business needs).  You made your LMS “home” all cozy and warm for you and your organization.

The operating environment changes
At some point your organization may grow, diversify and/or change its operating model to stay ahead of the competition.  Similar to adopting a dog, sending a child off to college, getting a new job, and talking your mother into moving in to run things.  Let’s say you are good, and keep your governance and processes up-to-date, Excellent!  And, let’s say structural and organizational changes are made to the LMS to reflect the up-to-date governance and processed, Excellent!

However, you may notice strange data in or coming from your LMS.

  • Reports may be incorrectly showing quarterly comparisons
  • A business line that was sold is skewing statistics
  • Reports that management needs are missing
  • An internal audit reveals many training gaps

Legacy data which does not conform to the new governance, processes and operating environment may be at the root of these issues.  The older data in your LMS might hurt your ability to support the goals of your organization.

Whether your LMS is relatively new or has been around for a while, at some point there is a need to step back, evaluate it and its data, and build a plan to align it with your mission of supporting the organization.

In Part 2, we discuss how to step back and evaluate…stay tuned!

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Vince Obrzut
Vince Obrzut is the vice-president and co-founder of RISC, Inc. He works closely with customers to find software solutions to training management problems. His responsibilities include customer support/satisfaction, product direction and new technologies. He received a Bachelor of Sciences degree in computer sciences and mathematics from Loyola University of Chicago in 1983. Upon graduation, Mr. Obrzut worked for Loyola as the Information Center Analyst responsible for integrating Personal Computers and Fourth-Generation languages into Loyola’s Medical Center. He has also worked as a systems consultant for a medium sized computer consulting company. His assignments included feasibility studies for new projects, database design, system implementation and project management.