As a trainer, I’m always thinking of the best way to convey how much value an effective training program can have for an organization. It can be hard to see this value, as many think that there isn’t enough time to commit to it or that the cost of the training seems high. Effective training does, however, lead to one, crucial benefit — improved data integrity.
Why is data integrity important?
Maintaining data integrity (the accuracy and consistency of data) helps ensure that an organization has quality data to lean on. Quality data helps an organization secure and manage resources, draw accurate conclusions about their effectiveness, and makes it easier to report to stakeholders and funders. As organizations collect more data over time, it’s imperative they have quality data entered accurately, timely, and uniformly.
Organizations can ensure data integrity through effective database design, set processes for data entry, and effective data security. However, if an organization has already taken those steps and is still seeing holes in data quality and a lack of consistency in data entry, how can they improve their data integrity? By implementing effective training at any point of a database’s life cycle.
Taking the leap and investing in the training of your team can improve your data integrity by:
1. Increasing User Confidence
Change can be difficult, especially when a new software platform is unfamiliar. Effective training can ease the difficulty of change and make users more comfortable when they start working with real data. By giving users the time to learn the software in a controlled environment, they become more comfortable with using the software and can enter data quickly and correctly. A recurring feedback I receive after training users is that they feel more confident with the software and they understand the purpose of using ETO or Apricot to support the change that they are trying to accomplish in their communities.
2. Maximizing Software Potential
An organization will spend time and resources to build and launch ETO or Apricot within their organization, but these platforms will likely not be used to their full potential until users understand how to work with the software. When a user is trained and understands how to enter data, they begin to understand the specific data points that need to be collected. They can then give suggestions on what other data points need to be collected to paint a better picture. After teaching an Apricot Administrator Boot Camp, one of our project managers mentioned to me that her customers had expressed a desire to add a tool called Wizard Linking into their forms to simplify their data entry. In her experience, this was a first and it was all because the administrators had learned what the software could do for them and wanted to maximize its potential.
3. Collecting the Right Data at the Right Time
Effective training not only teaches the user how to enter data into the software, but it also gives them an understanding of where and when the data should be entered, otherwise known as a workflow. ETO users can implement an add-on to better manage their workflow, but users still need to be trained to know where and when data should be recorded. By conveying to users which forms they should use, which data points to record, and when they should record these data points, there is less time wasted fixing mistakes and more quality data in their database. When a user is taught to know the exact process they need to follow, they can be more efficient and more effective about using ETO or Apricot to track the work they are doing within their communities.
4. Increasing Collaboration
Once users understand how, when, and where to enter data, they start to see areas for process improvement. Users may also feel more unified in terms of how they can better use the software and how that will, in turn, help them accomplish their organization’s goals.
I had the opportunity to work with an organization who wanted to get their users on the same page in terms of using their software. By the end of the training, the organization had scheduled time where they could put their heads together to discuss how the software could help make a difference in the lives of those they work with. I even had users tell me that because they understood how to use the software, they felt better equipped to have conversations with their peers on the effectiveness of their work. When an individual understands the purpose and function of the software, they are more equipped to have the conversations about organizational performance, effectiveness of services, and their impact on the lives of those they serve.
By choosing Apricot or ETO training, an organization is making the choice to increase data integrity by empowering their users to effectively use the software. When users are trained effectively, organizations should see an increase in data quality, thus giving them ability to transform the lives that they serve in a meaningful way.
For more information about ETO or Apricot training, please visit http://188.8.131.52/blog/about-us/customer-training/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chaz Hanna is a Training Operations Coordinator at Social Solutions. Working from the Baltimore office since October 2015, he brings his passion and energy to his colleagues and Social Solutions’ customers. Chaz embodies Social Solutions mission to help people transform lives.