Business Reporting: Is it all Worth it?

This may sound familiar to many of you: each day begins with an influx of emails to your Blackberry / iPhone / Smartphone device and before you’ve even left home you’ve downloaded several attachments full of facts, figures and colourful charts from numerous departments telling you the average call volume, the number of emails received last week, the monthly A/R information as well as the IT budget report. Then, when you reach your desk you are faced with print outs and folders full of more graphs, charts and statistics all demanding your immediate attention / approval / input / decision. If you ever feel like your day is taken up with having to quickly analyse and review data and come up with the best decision you can, as quickly as you can, you’re not alone!

But have you ever wondered if it’s really that valuable to make such important decisions in a hurry? Or, worse still, avoid making the decision because you’re really not sure if it’s the best one?

With all the technology we have to hand and the simplicity with which we can access information, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and wonder – is it even useful to rely on so many reports? Of course, a business needs reports, to collate and present data. But have we got a bit carried away with so much data and lost the true insight good reporting can provide?

 

Woman using tablet outside office building

 

First, can you confidently say that you (and your team) fully understand the value of each report your company generates? What purpose is this one report serving in the overall growth and direction of your business?

If your organisation is generating report after report and either not leveraging the information provided (because it doesn’t give enough or the right information) or not even looking at the report at all then you should be asking yourself why you are dedicating valuable time and resources in such an ineffective way. Compliance and auditing requirements often dictate a certain amount of standard reporting but that doesn’t mean that the rest of your business should suffer because you cannot gather the right information and employ it in the best way.

Second, are your reports meaningful and useful? Do your reports empower your management and leadership team to make better decisions?

When implemented well, a report should enable you and your trusted leaders to rely on the data provided and take the necessary action.

 

Businesspeople having meeting

 

Finally, are your reports suitable for your company and industry? What decisions are you unable to make currently which could contribute to growth?

 

Retail

  • Do you know your top selling item per day, week, month?

  • How much of your warehouse space is taken up with unusable / unsellable stock?

  • What % of products are returned? Do you know why? Do you have a final customer satisfaction report for each returned item?

 

Decisions you might be missing (but could be making with the right reports):

  • Increase sales focus on top selling item

  • Write off old stock to make way for sellable items

  • Source new vendor for items with high return %

  • Offer vouchers/discount to keep the customer happy

Customer service

  • What is your average inbound call level throughout the day?

  • Which customer service operator takes the most / least calls?

  • How many complaints are received and logged each day, week, month?

  • Do you have a compliment tracking system? Where is this positive feedback going?

 

Decisions you might be missing (but could be making with the right reports):

  • Increase/decrease staff levels according to peak call volumes

  • Work with HR to standardise call volume rates and KPIs

  • Identify root cause of complaints and take necessary action

  • Implement social media strategy for brand awareness and customer engagement based on positive feedback received

 

Finance

  • Do you know the profit and loss on a particular project?

  • How’s the company’s cash flow looking?

  • How many overdue invoices have been aging for more than 3 months?

 

Decisions you might be missing (but could be making with the right reports):

  • Continue / cease project based on financial data

  • Allocate funds according to cash flow analysis

  • Review credit terms on late payments

 

Sales and Marketing

  • What is the resource cost (time and money) for you to acquire a new client?

  • What’s the average conversion rate for each marketing activity?

  • Which sales person generates the most sales? How and why?

  • Where do your leads come from?

 

Decisions you might be missing (but could be making with the right reports):

  • Allocate sales resources according to most effective conversion method(s)

  • Review sales targets and commission rates

 

Manufacturing

  • Which vendor supplies in the quickest (and slowest) time?

  • What’s the average order fulfillment time for each of your warehouses?

  • Has the cost of one product decreased the profit margin because of a specific piece of raw material?

 

Decisions you might be missing (but could be making with the right reports):

  • Change vendor and/or review terms

  • Combine warehouse delivery runs

  • Cease manufacture of profit-losing products

Your company already gathers and generates a massive amount of data – with the right reporting tools and methods you could accelerate your analysis of that data and act quickly on it.

 

Monthly Sales Analysis

 

Reporting is important…

An intelligent, well planned reporting structure is vital for you and your organisation to continue winning the business battle. Instead of drowning in paperwork and graphs, think logically about the outcome(s) you want to achieve and let this guide you in identifying the most valuable reports.

The rest? That part is easy! Blue Ocean Systems can work with companies across all industries to implement the right reporting tools they need to grow. We use the best in class methods and systems from SAP and Analytics Powered by HANA to integrate your company’s business strategy to your everyday operations. Never dread looking at a company report again!

 

Watch this video to learn more about the possibilities!

For more information on analytics for business, read our recent posts:

 

Change is a Risky Business

Dynamic Decision Making

The Before and After of Analytics

Big Data brings Bigger Challenges and Even Better Solutions

 

SAP Gold Partner

 

Note: This story has also been adapted for publication in Steemit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.