Any good manager knows that it does not take hundreds of reports to run his business.
But it does take the right ones.
And these key reports need to evolve with the company.
Fundamentally, there are 2 kinds of reports a business benefits from:
1) Reports generated for the purpose of large scale data analysis.
These are commonly known as data mining reports and perform tasks like cluster analysis and anomaly detection.
2) Reports generated to track results of primary goals.
These are known as performance management reports for example.
There never seems to be a shortage in demands for data mining.
Who can resist the benefits of discovering new anomalies or new insight?
Large sums of money are spent in purchasing such systems.
Even larger sums are invested year after year in manpower to design queries and programs to work with data mining systems.
In our constant struggle to keep or grow our market shares, we do well to invest some money in some form of “data mining”.
However, if left unguarded this could become a money pit.
Its lure of so many revenue-generating and cost reducing discoveries may seduce you until your ROI becomes non-existent.
You can safe-guard your investment by being mindful of the following:
a) Lack of basic understanding of corporate goals
b) Disconnected front-line goals
c) Inconsistent and conflicting goals
d) Inter-departmental goal conflicts
e) Lack of principled leadership
f) Lack of clearly defined objectives
The existence of these weaknesses will spiral your data mining costs out of control.
Where that be in countless meetings where people argue with no specific guidance the necessity of one more report.
Conversely we are tempted to put strict rules for people to follow before making requests – these rules may stifle your best problem-solvers.
Companies with smaller budgets may not benefit from data mining but are also sheltered from the additional costs they incur.
On the other hand, fortunately, all companies live with performance reports.
Unfortunately, they also suffer from the same challenges that data mining reports create.
Many companies have their own in-house developers just like the data mining group has.
Because companies evolve and that their markets are constantly shifting, business managers and executives rely heavily on practical insight provided by both types of reports.
So the demand for changes and add-ons will never cease.
How can you increase the flexibility and reduce the costs of having new or modified reports?
1) Clear connected goals from front-line to the top executives.
2) Effective communication of plans.
3) Efficient yet flexible report request guidelines.
4) Don’t underestimate the benefit of a corporate-wide structured problem-solving approach. (There are great one-day courses offered in your city.)
5) Use of third-party reporting software that leverages benefits of data mining and performance reports, offering complete flexibility to any non-programmer in the company to generate their own analysis or reports when they see fit.
Check out: The Reporting Engine
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
This is true of every aspect of our businesses.
Remember that it also applies to our expenses with regard to your data mining and performance report requirements.