Start at the End
At eClass4learning we recommend starting with the end when planning your Totara implementation. That is, what reporting do you need? Starting at the end really does make the implementation process go much more smoothly.
Begin With Reporting
What we’ve found at eClass4learning is that, even though it might seem counter-intuitive, you will save time if you begin with reporting. Reporting is a key feature of Totara with a powerful, flexible report builder. Totara ensures you have a complete picture of usage, progress and achievement across your operations. It has a built in report builder. It allows you to build your own reports from scratch – no technical knowledge required! You can export reports to a variety of formats such as CSV. You can also add in customized search filters to allow users to drill down into data. You can report on numerous data sources such as e-learning and assessments. You can assign pre-built or custom reports to any system role. You can also filter reports by organization, position or user information. And how do you make best use of all these features? Read on:
Start by identifying what reports you need and who in your organization needs to see these reports.
What information does your organization need? Identifying what reports you need as well as who needs to see these reports is important because it will help in the mapping of your organization’s hierarchical structure in Totara. Totara’s reporting structure can be set up so that reports can only be seen by the appropriate people.
For example, maybe you have people at the corporate office that need to see reports from all of the regions in your organization. Or maybe you want each regional manager to see reports that pertain just to his or her region or you want each plant manager to see reports on his or her individual plant. Departmental managers may need to see reports on their direct reports. Figure 1 shows an example of who in an organization might need to see different reports for their position in the organization and everyone below them.
Figure 1 Sample Organizational Structure
Taking the time to identify what type of reports you will need and who needs to see these reports will help you to set up your hierarchy correctly for your organization and save time and reduce confusion.
Setting Up Your Hierarchy
Totara has a built-in hierarchy system. This is the engine that powers Totara functionality (i.e. Reports, Learning Plans, etc.). It allows you to map out your organization (i.e. regions, departments, etc.), positions, competencies, and goals. Learning can then be mapped and assigned to the various areas mapped out in your organizational hierarchy.
Once you have identified what reports you need and who in the organization needs to see these reports, you are ready to map out your hierarchy.
If you take the time to carefully plan your hierarchy at the beginning, you are truly leveraging the Totara platform to improve organizational capacity, improve succession planning, and promote continual improvement across your organization.
There are unlimited ways that you can map out your organizational structure and it can be overwhelming. For example, you might do it by
Corporate Office> Regions > Locations in Regions > Departments at each location
Figure 2 Totara Hierarchical Tools Embedded in the Platform
Figure 3 shows how the organizational chart looks when set-up in Totara.
Figure 3 Corporate Hierarchical Structure Mapped Out in Totara
However, if you have instead identified what reports you need and who needs to see these reports, you have clear direction on how best to set-up your organization’s hierarchical structure. This is important, because when you go to the Totara ad-hoc reporting tool you can easily pull the correct reports for the people in your organization.
Add Positions, Competencies, and Organizational Goals
Once you have mapped out your organizational structure, the next step we recommend working on is adding a position structure. Figure 4 shows the creation of positions in the Accounting Department. It shows the hierarchy of positions and who reports to whom. This will be important in setting up reporting later on.
Figure 4 Mapping of Positions in Totara
How Organizational Structure and Reporting are Related to Each Other
Totara has a flexible reporting system that allows you to customize any report without having to know programming. Now when you create your ad-hoc reports you can use the built-in Totara tools to easily designate who in the hierarchical set-up should see what reports. If your organizational structure is not set-up correctly, this would not be possible.
Figure 5 shows some of the built-in Totara configuration settings that allow you to restrict what data a user sees according to the organizational structure you have set-up. For example, the Manager of the Information Technology department will only see data for those staff members whose position is under their own.
Figure 5 Leveraging Access to Reports by Position in Hierarchy
If you have taken the time to strategically map out your hierarchy in terms of what reports you want to show and who needs to see them you will save yourself a lot of frustration.
Reports can also be scheduled to be run at a specified time interval (e.g. daily, weekly, or monthly) and emailed automatically to key managers in your organization.
eClass4learning consultants are experts in Totara implementations. We have helped dozens of clients implement Totara in order to help achieve internal strategic goals. We want to help you maximize your organization’s potential greatness by implementing Totara.