Guest Blog by:
Jenny Parsons (McTiernan)
Do you think of ‘big’ data as only being important to those ‘big’ enterprises operating outside of the NFP sector and who are daily inundated with huge amounts of data?
If the answer is yes, you are missing a trick! If you are a NFP/Association that offers professional qualifications and continuous professional development (CPD) then you too can tap into the ‘big data’ concept to provide your time-poor learners and professionals with a customer experience, which not only meets but exceeds the expectations of even the most demanding amongst them.
The amount of data is not important
The thing about data is not whether it is ‘big’ or ‘small’. What is crucially important is what you do with it!
For example, I was talking to a prospective client (a global provider of British qualifications) recently and discovered that if a potential student completed their online enquiry form, the data was not captured in its existing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Instead the data was sent via email, directly to the appropriate accredited training centre based on the type of examination to be taken.
So, the qualification provider has no record of the details of the potential student and is not able to track whether after making the original enquiry, he or she registered with the appropriate training centre.
It is only once the student has registered with the training centre that the global provider receives a record of the student’s personal data: name, address, the course/exam that will be taken and the associated cost, etc.
Not capturing the data around the student’s initial enquiry could result in lost revenue opportunities
With no way of tracking if registration with a training centre took place, there is no way to track whether follow-up communication is required to understand why a registration was not completed. Does the student need more information? What actions are necessary to help the student register and become a revenue opportunity?
This lack of data capture, coupled with no integration of back office systems, not only results in the loss of potential students but also means that the ability to interact with the student throughout their learning journey is greatly reduced.
Harness data chaos
The above scenario represents data chaos. The little data which is being captured is done so in different processes, across disparate systems.
To fully harness learner (or member) data NFPs/Associations of all types but as in this particular example, those offering qualifications and/or continuous professional development certification, should be looking at deploying an integrated web and CRM technology solution that also provides specialist Qualifications and Professional Development capability.
A solution that provides a gateway to your learners and connects them with your organisation, as well as other key stakeholders in the learner’s journey (mentors, examiners, peers). A single, integrated solution that allows data to be captured in one place and harnessed to enable the seamless exchange of that data between all stakeholders.
Benefits of harnessing data
By capturing the right data in an integrated technology solution with Qualifications and Professional Development capability at its core, the learner/student will benefit from single sign-on access to the data he or she needs to reach a successful examination outcome.
CRM software will analyse the data captured to deliver personalised content to the learner/student when they access your website. The software will also prompt the learner/student around the steps/tasks to be taken before they can move on to the next stage of their learning journey. These prompts are derived from the business process/rules you have pre-defined, coupled with the available real-time information (or data?) around the learner’s journey at any given time.
Personalisation is vital at every stage of the learner journey as this drives student/learner engagement and happy students/learners will tell others of their great experience, driving both retention and acquisition.
A further key benefit an integrated solution delivers is increased levels of productivity and efficiency, by reducing the number of times data is handed off between departments and systems. The data stakeholders need is delivered right to their fingertips when they need it
Increased productivity and efficiency reduces operating costs and increases the ever important bottom line. An important factor in today’s austere economic environment where the ability to deliver ROI on the deployment of new technologies is key.
An integrated technology solution capable of meeting the special and unique requirements of organisations offering Qualifications and Professional Development can play a key role in transforming how a professional qualifications provider delivers learning programmes, the trick is to choose the right one!
Jenny McTiernan, COO, ProTech
For more than 20 years ProTech has been delivering specialist CRM software and change management services to the Not for Profit (NFP) sector. Its Pro-8 CRM software operates in a Microsoft environment and delivers easily configurable specialist NFP modules. ProTech delivers a Government ‘OFFICIAL’ security accredited fully integrated web and CRM platform and its Lean3S, change management methodology based on Lean and Systems Thinking, ensures that NFPs can fully optimise their investment in ProTech’s fully integrated web and CRM technology platform.
ProTech is a MemberWise Recognised Supplier – Find out more…