Brand Yorkshire magazine featured an article by Roger Stocker, Director of Intuitive Business Intelligence, outlining the business benefits of business intelligence dashboards.
It’s 9.00am on a Monday morning and you’re about to go into a management team meeting, along with other senior managers in your company. Like most companies, you come together with your colleagues every week to discuss the most important company matters and to focus on key actions that the business needs to implement.
Prior to each weekly meeting, you and your colleagues spend a considerable amount of time preparing a number of reports, analysing them and identifying the most critical issues for discussion. These reports are generated by a number of different management information systems that exist within your business, including accounts, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), HR, help-desk systems and typically, numerous spreadsheets used by sales, marketing and finance.
Unfortunately, as these systems are not integrated with each other, each manager brings their own set of reports to the meeting, handing out reams of paper-based reports, statistics, graphs, charts and grids, all designed to help the team to pinpoint what is going on across the various departments within the business. Many of the reports are extremely lengthy, out of date by the time of ther meeting and don’t provide relevant information that you and your colleagues can use as the basis of your discussions.
As a result, important business issues may remain unresolved or even unidentified, trends in customer buying patterns are buried within complex reports and a large, long outstanding invoice will go unpaid by your most demanding client for another week, despite the fact that your Sales Director approved a further order discount to the client the day before the weekly meeting. Ultimately, the lack of visibility of your real performance means you cannot be 100% sure what is driving or constraining your business.
Sound familiar? The example may appear extreme, but most business owners acknowledge they face an ongoing challenge to manage critical management information more effectively and make it actionable.
What is required is a tool that can help to help pinpoint the most relevant, useful and current information on which to base important business decisions, such as can I afford to employ an extra sales executive, do we have the production capacity to meet the order we’ve just received and, crucially, when can I expect to see an increase in profitability? At the same time, it needs to be presented in a format that makes it easy to understand and share with colleagues who may work in other areas of your business.
So while information may be your company’s biggest asset, it can also prove to be your biggest headache. Collating information from a myriad of systems is a huge challenge, yet most management information tools do not easily integrate with each other, nor do they allow you to quickly and easily produce a snapshot of what’s really happening in your business.
Business Intelligence Dashboards: