Are Your Business Analytics and Reports in Distress?

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For businesses that use dashboards and other types of analytics and reports to help run their companies, it isn’t uncommon for many to find that that their reporting systems aren’t up to snuff until something critical happens like a lost major customer, decreased revenue, shrinking margins, and more.

Many companies experience such distress because they consider more advanced analytics and reports as “nice to have” versus “mission critical.” It’s easy to push off enhancements to their current reporting systems if they have not yet felt the pain of churning customers or failing revenue due to poor business visibility.

Before they know it, their analytical needs go from “nice to have” to “need it now” and a significant amount of time and money is invested in quick-fix solutions that IT staffs are stuck trying to maintain.

Businesses that are approaching an emergency with their analytics and reports will certainly pass a number of warning signs first.  Here are a few of the most common indicators that your current reporting system is failing you.

#1: Never-Ending Backlog of User Requests

Most companies start their performance analysis journeys by creating basic dashboards and reports. This satisfies users for a short period of time, since they can finally visualize their data.  But within a few months, they typically want more.

Today’s business user wants to look at data from numerous sources, explore it on their own, and create and share their analyses with others. This leads to a long queue of ad hoc requests for new and more complex analytics, and the ability to both customize dashboards and analyze information coming from places beyond their primary business systems alone.

Is your backlog of user requests constantly getting longer? Does your team struggle to keep up with the influx—much less get ahead of it? If so, you could be headed for analytical distress.

#2: Less Than Stellar User Engagement

Poor user engagement also is a clear indication that something is wrong with your current analysis and reporting system. To determine if it’s in trouble, ask yourself these questions:

How many users are regularly accessing their dashboards and reports?

Are users spending more or less time with them?

The more valuable your analyses and reports, the more user engagement you’ll see.

#3: Increased Complaints By Your User Community

Complaints are inevitable; but if your users become increasingly vocal about what they don’t like about your analytics, consider that a warning sign, too. Like your ERP and other core business systems, your analytics and reports are not static. The outer bounds of capabilities that business users both want (and need!) are constantly evolving. More importantly, if users know that something’s amiss but can’t access and drill through their data quickly to determine and rectify the root cause, much more’s at stake for the company overall.

Conclusion: No Decision Can Be A Lethal Decision

Failure to act is a choice; but ignoring the warning signs of distress with your analytics and reports could mean lost opportunities and declining revenue for your business in the long run.

Consider teaming up with a business intelligence solution provider that specializes in analytic applications specifically for your industry and that has the technical domain expertise to help you deploy and evolve with performance analytics.  This will provide the building blocks necessary to maintain the ongoing health and longevity of your business performance initiatives.

What should you look for when deciding on the best vendor and solution for YOUR business?

  • The solution’s ability to contextually analyze data coming from one or more ERP systems and other sources like CRM, supply chain, customer/vendor-supplied data files, and more.
  • Access to a built-in data repository that serves as a single version of the truth for enterprise reporting and that’s optimized for analysis so users don’t need to understand how their data is stored.
  • Pre-built analytics that expand the key performance areas of your company – across sales, finance and operations.
  • A detailed roadmap for leveraging data to drive the performance of your business long into the future.
  • Access to various information delivery options so that business users with different skill sets can easily access and work with their data.

 

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This post was written by Pat Hennel