Typically, most business will have a set of Management Reports indicating its daily productivity and performance. These reports provide an overview of what has been happening in the business, often in great detail. However, too much data and reporting can be a bad thing.
It can lead to creating reports that do not have a direct influence on running a business, potentially masking the critical information required to answer big questions, which are often answered by a significantly smaller set of data. This can be hard to identify if data is inconsistent or the reporting is not aligned to the bigger challenges faced.
Dashboards are a great way of visualising large quantities of data, but can often lead to creating charts or output for the sake of it leading to cluttered output and confusing the end user, often masking the real nugget of information that could be critical in running a business.
A common trap is to only use the data produced by a source system to determine what is reported on and how a business is performing. This means that often your company strategy and targets are ‘cut adrift’ from your day to day reports and activities.
Now, Operational Management Reporting most definitely has its place in the day to day running of a business, but to really maximise the information at your fingertips, creating real Business Intelligence can enable growth and productivity.
It is crucial to have relevant targets and accurate related measures. By starting at the top, and breaking the company vision down into levels of KPI’s, you only measure the things that are relevant and directly influencing the ultimate target/goal.
By enriching source data with basic analysis (calculations etc.), creating new combined data sets and pulling in external data, a far more targeted understanding of business performance is instantly available. Adding simple analysis creates business intelligence and not only reports on what happened, but also explains why and how something happened and its influence on the future, enabling information based decisions to be made.
Figuring out the data adds real depth to the understanding of a business operation and its performance enabling increased profits and productivity.