Data? Makes your life easier or harder?
When it comes to preparing reports for your boss, have you ever faced this situation where you spent countless hours preparing the report, and your boss didn’t even take a second glance at it, and asked you to redo? It is such a frustrating feeling that your hard work just went down to longkang (drain).
During my conversation with a friend from the financial sector, he shared with me that he was assigned to prepare a financial report. It had taken 7 to 8 times of revision before it was being approved. The hardest challenge for him was to get approval from different managers on the same report. As different managers would request for different forms of statistics, he would need to amend the report several times to fulfill every managers’ requirements.
Why is it so? Isn’t giving all the data to the management considered as a good report, and your job gets done?
Imagine if your report includes 20 different categories of data, for example, operational cost, sales achievement, no. of loss stock, slowest moving products etc. As the CEO of the company, you may find it confusing or overwhelming with this amount of data, and among all this data, you were only interested in 2-3 data indicators. The rest are redundant or meaningless for you.
The question is, how do you know you are using the right data for your business?
Step 1: Find out who will be using the data
Who will be using data? Isn’t everyone in the company? That would be ideal, as we want everyone to be data driven. In reality, this is not really the case, because of their job scope and also costing (more BI licenses = more cost).
And, some companies only allow the middle management to have access to data, whereas they would use the data to prepare reports for top management. Well, good start to be data driven. However, there will be time gaps to receive the report and get real-time insights.
The best practice is to allow the different managerial level of staff to access the data, in order for them to make the right decisions at their level. Just like store supervisors and regional managers could get insights on how to improve their daily operation of their designated store or region.
Step 2: Find out the problems they want to solve
For store supervisors, what is important to them is their staff performance and work progress of each staff in the store.
For middle-level managers (area/regional managers), what matters to them is more on what problems their outlets are facing, and what could be the possible cause of the problems. There they need to go troubleshooting.
For high-level managers or directors, what is crucial for them is whether the company is on track with the KPI they have set. Also, they don’t have much time to drill into every single detail, therefore giving them a summary (big picture) of the KPIs would be ideal.
Step 3: Select the right data to visualize
For store supervisors: Sales achievement, attendance and leave record
For middle-level managers: Team’s sales performance, customer satisfaction rating, inventory turnover, delivery efficiency and sales traffic conversion
For high-level managers or directors: Profit and loss, membership registration rate and Year-On-Year growth and net profit margin
Preparing reports that cater the needs of every level of stakeholders might not be an easy task. However, with business intelligence tools, you can now access all these data at your fingertips. If you are looking to customize your reports into insightful visuals that suit different management levels requirements, why not understand more about how our Business Intelligence solutions could help you?