Reduce reports, revive productivity


An overload of reports that collate information instead of synthesising it is getting in the way of executive decision-making at many companies. It's time to change. Move tactically and think strategically.

 According to McKinsey , 30-40% of all daily business reports are adding 'little to no value' to the decision-making process. That's a lot of pointless effort for no return. What's less clear, but also worth considering, is what reports are actually costing a business, from time spent generating, reading and presenting, to the people resources needed to rekey the data from one application to another, to the physical resources required—paper and ink.

Too many trees
There's another angle to consider, and it's that an excess of reports cloud the ability to make effective decisions. A full 61% of executives say that they waste at least half of their decision-making time. That time tends to be spent on the discussion about the decision—the reports that feed it. They are spending time sifting through data, hearing every position, instead of being presented with what's relevant.

Additionally, decision fatigue happens when leaders are tasked with making critical choices at so many junctures that at some point, the outcome of the decision stops taking precedence. It only matters that the decision gets made so that the next decision can get made. An onslaught of reports creates a decision swarm—about the reports themselves—before the decision they are informing even comes to the table. Which are crucial, which can be discarded? By the time of the actual decision, the mind is exhausted.

A path of crumbs
A significant reason behind this is how business software can create information silos, even within a single operation. If applications don't talk to each other, then teams generate reports for each other to share critical information. HR generates a report for finance, for example. Finance takes this report, and then reprocesses it. In other words, someone has to re-input the data into the finance software, often manually, a redundant piece of work. Finance then generates a report showing the quarterly position, which indicates action needed from manufacturing. The chief product officer keeps this printed out on their desk to refer to when making decisions for the newest product, but it's not showing demographics on the target consumer. It's showing a management accounts variance from sales three months ago. In this case, the data in the finance report doesn't go anywhere at all, certainly not into manufacturing decisions.

They are also misusing their software. Many companies plug blocks of text into Excel spreadsheet cells, using it as a database, which can have major reporting consequences. Additionally, an over-reliance on one software, especially if it's being used improperly, can have a knock-on effect when it comes to trying to actually generate a useful report. Trying to extract a useful report from a spreadsheet that's doubling as a works order or a customer lead tracker is essentially impossible. Very little useful information is going to result, except a list.

This is not sustainable for a company that is serious about growth. People need to talk to each other, and not just around the coffee maker. There needs to be a continuous and automated flow of information between people which results in contextualised, relevant and aggregated information that assists and doesn't detract from the decision-making process.

Managing the forest
Clockworx does more than provide a control tower solution or personalised dashboard to display key events and metrics from across the business. Those types of overviews are good at giving a snapshot of what's going on. But Clockworx goes further, uniting information from across multiple sources, with which users can then interact. This allows for strategic data visualisation, end-to-end project visibility, and actionable insight into external trends and previously unforeseen events.

A major upshot is that unnecessary reports can be scrapped, saving time and reducing costs. Perhaps most importantly, by leveraging advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence, to ingest, search and understand data, a company can reduce or eliminate manual reprocessing. This in turn breaks down departmental information silos and creates a more collaborative culture of sharing and preserving knowledge.

A thriving ecosystem
Any business can benefit from this kind of solution, and a bespoke system integration is entirely achievable. Clockworx isn't peddling an all-in-one solution. It automates tasks that include more than one application. These are applications that don't normally communicate with each other. With an emphasis on integration, we are able to connect the disconnected by binding existing applications and systems together to create cohesive workflows. We do this by enabling data to be extracted and also fed back into legacy systems. It's in this way the Clockworx assists businesses with accurate and timely decision-making.

Reports are still needed of course. What they will show will be a more strategic view of the business, with the option to drill down as needed. They will be able to accelerate and justify decision-making, instead of delay it. Ultimately, this helps businesses better predict disruptions, improve resiliency, manage exceptions and respond to unplanned events, all from a single system.

Let's talk more about your business processes and information flow.



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Saturday, 01 April 2023

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