Monday 6 January 2020

6 Reasons to Rethink Your Business Reporting

Well-designed business reports can support business strategy, form the backbone of decision-making, and guide your every action. Unfortunately, many businesses are working with reports that do a lot less.

Legacy systems often produce lists of figures that send us to sleep, rather than prompt action. Which is a shame, because regardless of how or where your data is held, modern, visual reporting is now available to everyone. Unfortunately, most business data is never analysed or used to make data-driven decisions, even though data analysis has become a competitive issue.

So, are your management reports driving your business forward, or holding it back? Here are 6 reasons to rethink your business reporting.

1.     Support your strategy. Implementing strategy is tough. Conflicting views and too many distractions make it easy to get blown off course. Clear reporting that shows the status of your key business goals improves the chances of implementing your plans.

2.     Visuals are better. Visuals have two big advantages over lists of figures: speed and impact. When data is shown visually, it’s much easier to understand. Our brains can process variances, comparisons and trends within a fraction of a second. And when data is shown visually it becomes compelling and much harder to ignore.

3.     Dashboards let you travel faster. Having data on a single dashboard has big benefits. Firstly, part of planning is deciding what’s important and what’s not. By designing a report on a single page, focus on the important goals is improved. Secondly, having a visual and single page view gives you an instant view of how well things are going. When you are driving, you don’t expect to have to examine a 16-page report to find out whether you are running out of fuel or the engine is overheating. Business dashboards give you the same at-a-glance view of your business journey – allowing you to travel safer and faster.

4.     Big picture to detail. Interactive reporting works in the same way as our brains, allowing the big picture to be understood before the detail. The ability to drill down allows us to understand the overall situation first, and then investigate interesting parts further. Whether things are going well or badly, big picture to detail allows us to work in a logical way.

5.     Access from anywhere. We may still do most of our work in the office but thinking happens anywhere and anytime. Reporting that can be viewed on a mobile or a tablet means you have your data with you, whether you are working from home, travelling, or suddenly get a flash of inspiration during breakfast.

6.     Better collaboration.  All of us work better when more brains are on the problem. Modern reporting encourages collaboration by sharing reports and allowing input.

Modern reporting software has much more ambitious goals than the listing reports of old. Highly visual, compelling reports that convey more understanding, more quickly. Thanks to software like Microsoft Power BI, it’s never been easier to create highly effective visual reports.  

If you want to rethink your business reporting, get in touch to find out how.  

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