As a manager, CEO or a member of the technical staff, chances are there comes a time in your working day, week or month where you find yourself waiting for information to be made available to you from another member of staff.
Every organisation, whether large or small, needs to understand how it has performed to power smarter decision making, learn from its mistakes and achieve its goals, and the reporting process in organisations is often so established, few take the time to challenge how it is done.
Perhaps it's time that you should.
Of course, back before the introduction of computers to the workplace, paper & pencil was the only tool used to collect and share data, perhaps with manually drawn graphics to help understand the true meaning of the figures.
Today, many organisations still work in this fashion, waiting for various departments to gather data and key in manually, so that data can be distributed throughout the organisation, allowing others to create their own lists, reports and presentations for their own purpose and with their own interpretations. This means the same data is often stored in multiple places, and can become increasingly inaccurate the more times it’s distributed.
With Spreadsheets, different people do things different ways. Users generally like to set things up as they like to see them, meaning many different versions of the same data exist across your systems. This inefficient method of sharing data can result in “no single source of truth”, creating confusion and leaving too much open to interpretation.
In 2018, it’s time for a change that’s fit for the times.
Business Intelligence software gives everyone a true picture of the business.
Microsoft’s Power BI, for example, can show users what they need to know in real-time, using data collected directly from the source in near real-time. Employees don’t even need to be in the office to see what’s going on, as they can access their dashboards online via any device that has an internet browser.
Consider the amount of time in your organisation that is spent collecting data & presenting it in a readable format for others. Power BI could all but restore this time spent, letting your teams get on with what they do and deliver the best possible offering to your customers.
It's time to kill the clipboard.
Manual data collection is tiresome and prone to error, no matter what field you're in. In enterprise, it's the chore of scouring through various reports stored in silos to find a figure, only to copy and paste it into yet another spreadsheet. In processing and manufacturing, it's physically getting up and walking around a line to gather information, only to write it on a piece of paper, before then getting back to a computer and manually keying in data.
Automating data collection is essential to improving reporting efficiency and providing insights to all staff in near real-time, eliminating human error in the process.
If you’re presented with three versions of the same data, how do you know which one you can trust?
It’s unfortunate, but true that the data presented to you at times can be inaccurate thanks to factors such as human error, misunderstanding & massaged or 'spun' data from staff for various different reasons. Inaccurate data of course means that users aren’t getting a true picture of how well their area is performing.
With BI tools, you can pull data straight from the source in near real-time, providing you with an honest and accurate picture of what’s going on- now, allowing your teams to resolve issues when they happen, not 4 weeks after the problem first occurs.
One of the best aspects of building Business Intelligence tools in your organisation is that you can build them around your specific needs, and the possibilities of what you can view and achieve are near to endless.
Once set up, users can build their own specific dashboards, and teams can also share dashboards with each other to provide that all important single source of truth. High level reporting also provides 'drilldown' to see the information behind the report without having to go elsewhere to find it.
You can also build branded dashboards with company logos and share selected information with your customers or suppliers, without the need for generating them separately. This is a great way to communicate with your client base, showing integrity and openness and in the case of your supply chain, encouraging them to operate to similar standards.
Introducing transformative Business Intelligence tools such as Power BI in an organisation doesn't need to be a headache for technical teams.
Software has come a long way in making technology like this as simple as possible to implement, and without the significant level of processing power required in the past.
You may be surprised to hear is that this doesn't all need to be run in the Cloud. Data to power your software can be pulled from disparate different sources, be that on-premise, in the Cloud, or a hybrid solution.
Clipboards and Excel may have worked well in the past, but in modern working environments with Just in Time supply chains and increasing competition it’s essential to stay on top of every part of your business in real-time. Business Intelligence tools allow you to perform & react to business developments more efficiently than ever before. The benefit of understanding the performance of your business now, not in a month’s time when reports are released, is a game changer. It’s time you made the switch.
Posted by Jordan Maciver on Friday, January 19, 2018
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