Companies collect huge amounts of data today. Albeit through both digital and non-digital means (paper). The problem most companies face is what to do with this data, how do we take this data and transform it so it becomes meaningful where we can get some insight and then make strategic decisions around.
However, before we get to data analysis, we must get data into a system for reporting.
For small and medium businesses, the challenge is not about collecting the data, it’s about how we get that data into software so we can make meaningful decisions on.
What this means is we must aim to digitize our data collection.
From the start, some companies do not think about collecting data digitally, they often design systems and processes around manual, paper-based methods. The good news is that this can always be transferred to a digital system by using the right software that matches your needs.
Capturing data digitally is just the first step before we can move towards sophisticated methods of analysis and reporting.
So we have captured the data, now what you may wonder.
Well we have choices, do we want to see this data only once? Or do we want to see it on a continuous basis.
The need for information will determine if we design simple reports that can be run on a one time basis, or where the report can be refreshed every week, month, quarter or annually to let us know how we are performing. In the design stage, setting this up right prepares the company to enter into the data analysis stage.
Data analysis is simply making business sense of the data. You can’t figure out if you have a seasonal trend from just looking at a week of data, comparing year on year will reveal this insight that can allow you to make decisions that help manage this scenario. In addition, data analysis allows the user to question the data, create different reports that use the same data in different ways and ultimately, allow for strategic decision making.
Reporting is simply preparing information gained from data analysis and presenting it in a simple and easy way to allow for informed and quick decision making.
If you have reached a point where a report is being generated and no one is really using it, question yourself as to whether this report is relevant or whether it can be updated or changed to suit the current state or needs.
Reports do not have to be onerous, consider your audience when developing a report. Sometimes a one pager with concise information can give the reader a wealth of information. You can also add another section with deeper details as required.
Whatever the format you choose, always ensure you keep it simple and straight to the point.
Add value by allowing the human to interpret and provide intelligence from the data that is being gathered, analyzed and reported on.
You don’t have to do this work alone
Remember that the point of hiring or partnering with an external company to help craft your company reporting is to draw upon their expertise. They bring something to the table that you don’t have — experience and industry expertise across many different clients — and can provide value and best practices. Your short-term investment in their time is designed to help your business reap bigger benefits over the long haul.
Let us help you design a reporting roadmap that can help your business or organization achieve its strategic goals. Setup a free quick virtual call with us here.