Platform Launch Analytics: How to Use L&D Data for a Great First Impression

Launching a new L&D platform is an exciting time, but how do you make sure that it makes the right impression on your learners while assuring stakeholders who have backed a big investment into your learning ecosystem?

Teething problems are to be expected, yet if they escalate there is a real risk that any negative user experiences can overshadow all your other great work. So how do you monitor the launch of your new platform to ensure you can quickly catch and address issues before they grow? And how do you ensure your new platform works in perfect harmony with all your existing systems?

If you’re new to our blog series Building a Business Case for Learning Analytics, check out the introduction—which offers an overview and considerations for making the most of this series.

What Is Platform Launch Analytics, and Why Is It Important?

Platform launch analytics uses data to observe the launch of a new L&D platform to identify and address issues. This practice helps ensure an effective launch and the long-term success of the platform and its users.

For instance, you might use a learning analytics platform’s reports to monitor the use of your new learning platform each hour immediately after launch. Then after launch, regular check-ins can become increasingly more spaced out (e.g. once a day, week, then month).

Or, larger organizations may launch learning platforms in various territories or departments at different times, which means having to monitor multiple platform launches. In these cases, launch analytics is considerably valuable—as you can often reuse data connections and reports configured for the initial platform launch (perhaps with some adjustments based on lessons learned).

These analytics also are especially critical when launching a new system, such as an LXP, that’s new to your organization. In these circumstances, you may need to prove its value, and data about usage and impact can help you do that.

Let’s not forget that launching a new platform is a critical time for many L&D teams, and there’s a lot that could go wrong. Any significant issues are likely to be remembered and affect the perception of the platform for a long time. For instance, you might experience:

  • Technical issues. With a new platform launch, you may uncover teething problems that weren’t identified in your testing process or matters relating to many users accessing the system simultaneously. Identifying and addressing these situations quickly is essential—especially if they prevent users from accessing the platform, as they may be discouraged from returning to it.
  • Promotion/uptake issues. Promoting the new L&D platform is essential to ensure the organization understands its value. So if certain groups in the organization are not using the new platform, you may need to address issues with the platform’s promotion.
  • Platform goal issues. Even when the new platform works and people use it, there’s a risk the platform does not achieve its intended goals (e.g. shifting learner behavior) after deploying it. Perhaps a cultural shift to different ways of working is required alongside the platform’s launch. The sooner you can identify and address these barriers the better, as it is easier to encourage change in how people work before they get too “set in their ways” when using the new platform.

What Does Platform Launch Analytics Look Like in Practice?

L&D platform usage

When launching a platform, the most common question is: How many people are using it? Not only does usage data provide a measure of the launch’s success, but it also can help inform decisions around:

  • server capacity if the platform is hosted internally, or
  • licensing if the platform is cloud based.

Furthermore, a sudden drop in usage might suggest a technical issue that needs to be resolved.

Seeing usage spikes when launching is typical; here you can also see the impact of subsequent promotional efforts to sustain usage.

For launch day itself, a large global consulting firm broke up their data into more granular segments than logins per day to see how usage changed over the course of the day to track different territories and time zones.

As a result, they were able to give regular updates to senior leaders and provide assurance of the launch’s ongoing success.

Department comparison

Compare usage data by department to identify ones that use the platform less than others. For instance, Visa used a Watershed report like the one here to compare the percentage of people in each department who had used their platform—including a benchmark of 50% that departments were expected to exceed.

You can use reports like these to identify departments with low uptake for the new platform. That way, you can explore and address any issues and target marketing initiatives at departments where they can have the most significant impact.

How Does Watershed Support L&D Platform Launch Analytics?

By implementing Watershed and setting up data connections before implementing your new platform, you can have reporting and analytics in place for launch day. Then, monitor the launch in real-time, quickly identify issues, and impress your stakeholders with exciting usage statistics.

Once the new platform is in place, you can combine its data with HR data to segment reports by territory or department and evaluate the launch’s performance in different parts of the business. Use this information to compare and identify where uptake is low and empower managers with data about the launch in their respective departments.

If you integrate existing systems with Watershed before the rollout, you can see if launching the new platform impacts how people use current systems. You will likely notice that some system usage will decline as learners spend time within the new platform, but it’s also possible that usage of existing systems will rise if there is synergy between them and a new platform.

For example, rolling out an LXP could lead to increased use of a video platform if the LXP's search and recommendation features increase content visibility in the other platform. Only the data can tell you which systems increase or decrease in usage. And this data will be vital in planning future changes to your learning ecosystem.

Platform Launch Analytics Provides Long-Term Visibility on Performance

When you invest time and money into a new platform, you want to make sure people use it. Watershed can help ensure you get that value by:

But Watershed isn’t just for launch day. Investing in platform launch analytics provides data and reporting for your new platform and other systems, which you can continue to use after the rollout. These reports will inform future planning of your learning technologies ecosystem and alert you to any platform issues.

How Can I Convince Stakeholders of the Value?

Without analytics for your new platform, you lack knowing if your investment is worthwhile. Analytics is, therefore, an essential part of a responsible and informed spend on learning technologies.

Your investment in analytics is likely to be around 10 to 20% of your spend on the new platform itself, which is absolutely worth it to ensure you see the value from your entire investment.

And without those analytics in place at launch, you risk issues that jeopardize the launch's success—especially because you won't be able to identify and address them quickly.

Understand your stakeholders and how they will benefit from these analytics.

StakeholdersPaint PointsBenefits
C-Suite (CLO, CEO, CFO)Ensure the new platform fulfills the goals of the business.At launch, report on platform usage. At a later stage, the C-suite can report on the success of the platform launch in achieving their goals.
Human ResourcesEnsure all parts of the organization make the best use of the new platform.Platform launch analytics can identify parts of the organization that are not using the new platform.
Learning LeadersProperly gauge the usage and success of a new platform. Avoid embarrassment at the launch of a new platform.Platform launch analytics can identify issues with a platform launch early on so you can address them rapidly.
Instructional DesignersIdentify potential aspects of the new platform that require training or further promotion.Platform launch analytics can identify underused areas of the platform or features that appear to confuse learners (e.g. where they start using a feature but don’t complete it).
ComplianceIf the new platform delivers compliance training, ensure that it does not present any barriers to completion.The compliance team can continue to monitor completions on the new platform—comparing completions on old or existing platforms.
Line ManagersHelping team members use the new platform.Managers can use analytics data to monitor platform adoption by their people.
LearnersBe able to use the new platform effectively.Platform launch analytics helps ensure you can quickly address any teething problems that might adversely affect learners. Negative first impressions last; you can act quickly to maintain learner confidence in your new platform.

Next Course: Crisis Learning Analytics

Platform learning analytics provide vital insights into a critical point in the life of the new L&D platform and, in many cases, a significant moment for the L&D team. But not all of these moments are positive or planned.

So having analytics in place and ready for unexpected and possibly negative moments or crises can be immeasurably valuable to help you navigate the storm.

Whether that crisis is a global pandemic like Covid-19 or something specific to an industry or company,  it is vital to have analytics in place before it hits. The next post in the series sets out the business case for crisis learning analytics to better position your business to survive and thrive.

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