Many of us have experience in upcoming sales meetings, executive team meetings, board meetings or other similar situations where we are expected to give a situation report on our own area of responsibility or our business operations. However, have we ended up in a situation where we are just making reports for the sake of reporting instead of thinking about what we are actually reporting and what the figures and information are telling us?
Most reports focus too much on detailing the past and looking for the causes and the consequences of what happened. I do not deny the importance of historical data, but we should also think about what we can learn from the results and how we can make use of them in planning future management practices. At best, reporting is used to manage the predictability of business operations and to make significant and necessary changes in management practices.
Going through events and figures in summary form once a month based on a hastily prepared report is not enough to develop business operations and improve predictability. Reporting should be part of the organisation’s everyday operations and it should harness the organisation’s data to serve everyday management.
Every organisation has several different operation-specific information systems that produce large amounts of usable data. In my own work, I have often come across situations where, instead of linking management processes together, reporting is too operation-specific. For example, the sales team may report total sales while the accounting department reports total turnover, even though combining these two would lead to better predictability of turnover.
There is a huge number of ongoing BI and reporting projects that make use of data. Terms like AI, Machine Learning and IoT as well as robotics-related terms are circulating around the market. Too often reporting projects turn into technology projects that are guided more by technical choices rather than by the needs of business management. Even though the aforementioned technologies automate operations and data processing, it is the responsibility of people to manage and confirm the correctness and timeliness of the information. The data and the information systems of the organisation are supposed to support this, and not the other way around.
Tips for making use of reporting for predictive management:
- Define your organisation’s predictive management models instead of only relying on reporting.
- Describe what data your organisation produces and how the key information can be visualised and presented to support the various operations and overall management.
- Make sure that you understand what the data is telling you and act accordingly.
- Manage the continuous increasing of the customer value and the improvement of internal efficiency.
- Remember that we cannot change the past but we can do something about the future.
At Solteq, we are involved on a daily basis in projects that aim to improve internal efficiency and continuously increase customer value through reporting. We can, for example, analyse the way customers use your online services as well as transform a significant amount of data into a more processable format through visualisation and create predictive models.
Contact us, and we will help you get more out of your data.