Mini-Series Topic #6: Data Management
This month we look at the importance of all programs maintaining data on program metrics.
Why do we gather information?
There are several reasons to gather information, and the reasons will depend on the type of information being gathered. Some information will need to be gathered for legal purposes, such as documentation of student applications, employment records, signed consent forms, etc. Other types of information will need to be gathered for use to guide the growth of your program. Some examples of types of information that may be used to guide you as your program grows includes:
- demographics – one example of this for a SD training program would be the type of SD assistance requested: mobility, hearing, medical alert, PTSD, psychological
- test scores – scores on all required tests enroute to certification and information on how many attempts required to pass
- outcome measures – such as # of teams graduated, # of program drop-outs and wash-outs, etc.
Gathering and analyzing information along the way allows you to monitor and adjust your process, and also identify any patterns that may otherwise have been missed. A well designed database should provide an updated analysis for you with each new entry. This will obviate the necessity for you to pour through columns of data and hand count entries to obtain values. Information gathered can be useful in reporting program metrics, which are information on outcome measures for programs. For example, average test scores, the percent of teams that pass their certification test on first attempt, etc.
Another reason to gather data is for inclusion in quarterly and annual reports. If you are an independent trainer this will likely not be necessary. If, however, you are set up as a non-profit organization then you must maintain data for reports to your Board of Directors. In this case, we suggest that prior to setting up your database you first determine a format for the required reports, and set up your database to mirror the fields that must be reported in these reports so that you can retrieve and transfer data with ease.
An ability to anticipate the ups and downs that are a part of everyday business is important. Make a list of what you will need if things go right. And then make a list of what you will need to have in place if things go wrong. It is sound advice to “plan for the worst and hope for the best”.
Behind the scenes management is the area where you will need to place the greatest emphasis in terms of planning for the good, bad and ugly. Be certain that you select a system that will permit you to manage the everyday needs without having to resort to contacting tech support, or pay an IT person and then wait to have an issue addressed on their schedule.
Example: An employee is fired and you need to suspend their company email account to prevent them from getting into your contact list and sending any inappropriate messages. You also need to change document privileges to prevent them from deleting, editing or stealing any company documents.
This situation is urgent and should be addressed immediately. You must have an ability to suspend accounts as needed to safeguard your information. You must also have the means to retrieve any emails that they may have deleted in the past 28 days in the event that they have engaged in any behaviors that would be to the detriment of your business.
It sounds awful to have to think this way, but this is an unfortunate reality in today’s world. Our workforce has become transient, and employees do not always demonstrate the type of loyalty that we would hope for. Information tampering and theft of company documents is a rampant problem and you must approach information management with this in mind. Your IT management system must allow you to accomplish the following with ease:
- suspend email accounts
- change document privileges
- transfer a Drive from an employee to a supervisor
- change passwords
- retrieve any deleted emails during the prior 4 weeks
Managing the Drive
We cannot emphasize enough how important it is for you to have a good handle on the storage and security of all company documents. In this “cut and paste” world we live in theft of trade secrets (company documents) is one of the fastest growing corporate crimes, and small businesses are particularly vulnerable. The Drive is typically accessed from the email box, and an employee must first log in to the email account in order to view documents.
In order to effectively manage the Drive, we suggest that you put certain policies and procedures in place and make these applicable to all company employees or others with access to the email or Drive. This policy should be signed by all on the day that they are hired. Though this will be covered in greater detail in Level Four, for the purposes of this lesson we introduce the idea that the following rules need to be spelled out:
- individuals are not permitted to share passwords with anyone else
- individuals may not log in to their account for the purposes of allowing others to view materials
- individuals may not copy or transmit any materials without advanced written permission of the business owner / Exec. Director
- individuals are not permitted to create any documents for company use without permission of the business owner / Exec. Director
- individuals who are given permission to create any documents on the Drive MUST share and give edit privileges to the business owner / Exec. Director
- under no circumstances should documents be shared with any individuals outside of the business without written permission of the business owner / Exec. Director
- all documents on the company Drive represent trade secrets and are subject to protection under federal trade secret law; it is a felony offense to copy or transmit trade secret documents without written permission of the business owner / Exec. Director; directly cite federal and state statutes that apply
This is one way in which you may assign privileges. In this manner, you may share an entire document. First, you should be able to manage the settings to restrict sharing to only those with a company email address. This will prevent others from attempting to share the document with outsiders.
Next, you should be able to select the level of privilege you will need to assign, based on their duties:
- view only – individuals with this level of privilege will only be able to view the document contents, but will not be able to add, delete, copy or edit the document in any manner
- edit – individuals with this level of privilege will be able to copy or revise documents; this includes any data entry DIRECTLY into a spreadsheet
Effective management of your proprietary materials will help you to protect your program.
Our new facility is open for business!
Our sincere thanks to all who came out to share this special day with us. We will be offering new services in addition to the training services we have traditionally provided. These new services include:
- Canine CPR workshops
- Mini-series of SD-related topics
- Meet and Greets for SD teams
- Temperament testing
- CGC testing for privately training teams
- SD education to community professionals who interface with teams on a regular basis
Come on out to our new location to check out our training facility. Our new designer collars are also on sale,and proceeds from these sales support the services we provide to our military and first responders.
Beginner Class – the beginners are all hard at work on mastering obedience tasks. This class is still early in the training process, but we want to commend all students on making a good showing on Opening Day.
Advanced Class – The dogs in our advanced class are preparing for their final certification test. Kudos to”Team Bentley” including student trainer Lindsey Carlson and recipient Brian Brown for an exceptional job.
Spring has arrived and this means that venomous critters will come out of hibernation. The most dangerous time of year to be bitten by a venomous snake is Spring,as the snakes are dehydrated and this means that the venom is more concentrated. Remember to take the following steps to protect your service dog:
- remove rock or wood piles where snakes can hide
- keep your dog away from bushes where snakes may lurk
- check your yard before allowing your dog to go outside to play
- look both ways outside before letting your dog out to potty
- stay on walkways, and avoid areas with tall grass when outdoors
If you reside in an area where rattlesnake bites are common, speak with your veterinarian about the rattlesnake vaccine. Remember that snake aversion training is aversive training,and prohibited for service dogs. Make certain that you brush up on your basic obedience skills including:
- leave it
- down from a distance
Good obedience training can save lives in cases where you become aware of an imminent danger in the environment.
With Sincere Thanks
We would like to express our appreciation to the following individuals who have donated to support our training program in March:
- Valerie Schluter
- DAV Auxiliary Unit 1
- Margaret Brown, MD
- Rich Korona from Encore Floors in Surprise, AZ
- Mike Mataysz from AZCA Signs in Surprise, AZ
- Network for Good
- Martin Chorzempa
- Stan VanPeursem
- Stu Lofquist
- Westbrook Village Veterans Support Club
- K. Chevalier
- Charlene Wheeler-Riley
- Woodworking Club of Sun City Grand
We would also like to express our gratitude to the following individuals who have played a pivotal role in our Grand Opening:
- Armed Forces Support Group of Sun City Grand for their hands on assistance with locating flooring, cubbies, signage and other needed items – particularly Ron Coslett. We wish to thank Barry Curseaden and Stan VanPeursem for honoring us by cutting the ribbon on Grand Opening Day.
- Edie Schmitz of the Westbrook Village Veterams Support Club for leading us in asking for a blessing on our new facility space.
- Rich Korona from Encore Flooring in Surprise, AZ for rescuing us from “flooring drama” and making it possible for us to secure beautiful, durable waterproof flooring that will withstand the occasional potty accident in our puppies.
- Mike Mataysz and his staff from AZCA Signs in Surprise, AZ for designing and installing our signage for the new facility.
- The Phoenix PD for the gracious use of facility space from January 2016 up until the opening of our new facility. Their generous support of our program at a critical time for us will always be appreciated.
Community Training Events TBD– please note that the facility will be closed to the public during those hours when community training is schedule. Session dates are currently being scheduled for approx. the 3rd week in April. Please follow us on FB and Twitter for updates.