In an era where we can access a large amount of valuable data you would think that gathering this information and utilising it would be a simple and pain free operation, but it seems that many businesses are currently suffering from ‘information overload’ as a recent report by Matillion discovered that 35% of businesses listed reporting as their biggest concern.
A troubling figure when you consider that business reporting is pivotal to analysing every element of a business, from understanding it’s success to providing insights that can help to drive the businesses future strategies, if the reporting system is not up to scratch how can you manage the business effectively?
To resolve the chaotic dump of information, it’s important that you have a clear and concise strategy that takes the pain out of reporting.
A common problem amongst many businesses is that the software you’re using is so complicated that only a few key individuals within the company know how to use them.
This could be due to lack of training funds when the systems were implemented or the outdated top down approach of micro-managers.
Unfortunately, no matter the reasoning behind it, bottlenecks can quickly form around these individuals slowing the entire process down. Whilst you may want control over the process, it can dramatically delay it, meaning that reports take days rather than hours.
By ensuring that all team members are trained on the system can make the process more user friendly and achieve a higher ROI as a result.
With everyone on board a report can be processed far quicker, ensuring that essential data can be drawn upon for any project.
Furthermore, if you have an off the shelf system, you won’t have pre-built reports that meet your needs. Therefore, work arounds and exporting data is required to get a report that is meaningful.
Collecting data from a variety of systems can make it difficult to bring together when it’s needed the most.
Rather than the chaos of inaccurate data, centralising data on one system can make the reporting process more efficient and provide more reliable insights.
Alternatively, if this isn’t feasible there are business intelligence solutions that can collate data from multiple sources, saving time.
Refine the Data
The spiders web of data that you can gain from reporting may leave you more confused than when you began the process, so before you start ask yourself some basic questions;
What do you want to know? And is this report easy to read?
Many systems will allow you to display this data in a format that you prefer, whether that’s extracting it into excel or simple file format, you can then spend time presenting this information in a clear and creative manner that will highlight the key points to your team or board of directors.
Don’t let your business continue to suffer from information overload, follow these steps to gain a clear reporting strategy and you will begin to use your data more effectively.
By Neil Slater - General Manager at DMC Software