How to get beyond limited data analysis and reporting
Experienced business managers know that reliable data is a requirement for success. Accessing complete and accurate data can help your team determine if your business is achieving its key performance indicators (KPIs).
Data analysis is one of the most valuable practices for measuring business performance in today's competitive market. If you’re unable to gain a clear understanding of your business through data analysis, chances are you’re working within an outdated and limited data analysis reporting system.
Regardless of your sector, having access to timely, quality data means the difference between generating static reports and generating true business intelligence (BI) that conveys critical information about your business.
If you’re looking to get more out of your data and ensure your team is making decisions based on comprehensive reports that tell the whole story, consider taking your reporting and analysis in a new direction by implementing the following practices:
Maintain a single source of truth
When it comes to data analysis and producing accurate reports, accessing consolidated data is one of the biggest pain points facing businesses today. The next time you touch base with your finance and IT team, ask them how many data sources that have to manually add together to generate reports. Chances are that’s a job within itself.
This silo-based data system may have worked well when your business was starting out; however, as a business expands and its needs become more complex, outdated solutions could easily stand in the way of profit.
For many teams, it’s often only a matter of time before there are multiple versions of one spreadsheet being passed around among colleagues, compromising data integrity. A single, modern platform can ensure your data is processed in a seamless, efficient environment that keeps everyone on the same page.
Aim for real-time data
Staying competitive means understanding your business and the needs of your customers in real-time. When it’s time to run reports, where do they, and the team, have to go to access all of that data? Is your finance team searching for data, and making corrections along the way, instead of meeting deadlines and producing up-to-date, dynamic reports?
Fast access to data means having the ability to collect and analyze critical data on demand. Enterprise Resource Planning systems are an excellent way to store data and plenty of businesses may already have a reporting system in place that “just works".
Of course, the job gets done, but consider that keeping your data in ERPs may also be preventing access to the full power of data analytics. This is the difference between actionable data that your team can analyze and use to generate business intelligence and static data that doesn’t reflect your business's current state.
KPIs vs. metrics
When it comes to KPIs vs. metrics, it's important to know what you’re measuring and what you’re missing. Every industry has specific metrics that business managers must pay close attention to in order to understand whether their business is succeeding. Different reports detail P&L, customer information and sales. A single spreadsheet can contain valuable information about a business.
However, some business managers may not realize that they are missing the opportunity to perform deeper data analysis beyond preparing financial statements simply because they lack the most modern tools that can show them how their whole business is performing.
Once you have a more accurate picture of your business, you and your team may decide it’s time to reset your KPIs. New intelligence could mean new goals.
Over the past year, countless businesses have had to switch gears, moving into a full telework environment. Automation can help your business overcome the limits of this environment where resources may also be stretched thin.
Most managers would agree: Scrambling to find missing data at 5 p.m. is not putting your team’s collective experience and skills to good use. Instead, hand that work over to a platform so your team can focus on collaboration and find new synergies between departments. Revisit workflow with your team to gain a better understanding of where the barriers lie.
Aim for a truly inclusive workflow that encourages all team members to contribute rather than solely relying on a few people who seem to hold the secrets to generating reports only the finance team can fully understand and utilize.
By capitalizing on the subject matter expertise of your individual team members across your organization, business managers can use data to gain a clear picture of not only your P&L through financial statements but also your company’s potential for growth.
To find out more about Phocas data analytics download your free ebook: Build the case for data analytics.
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