In today's world, the struggle has moved from how to collect and store data to how to make sense of it. Experts predict a 4,300 percent increase in annual data production by 2020.
With so much data available, it becomes increasingly important to define your business reporting goals so you can then align them with the relevant data, understand the status of your business faster, and start tackling areas for improvement right away. No one has time to waste on tracking down data-based insights that ultimately don’t matter.
To start leveraging your data via business performance reports, here a few key tips to follow:
1) Identify Key Performance Indicators
Business performance reports are the cornerstone of most business decisions for the KPI’s they bring to light. A business’ growth and success is dependent upon the ability to meet defined targets and goals over a period of time. Identifying these key metrics keeps employees and companies focused on the actions they can take to make improvements and drive results.
In short, as modern business managemnet expert Peter Drucker states: "If you can't measure it, you can't improve it."
2) Know your audience
Once you've established your KPI's, you'll want to share them. But how? Knowing your audience is a fundamental communication rule, and your business performance report will change based on the audience consuming it.
For example, generating a business performance report for the executive team and the employees within the unit will differ in both content and tone.
Executives will want succinct reports that highlight the stats that most impact the bottom line—insights related to sales, spend, new customers, gross margin percentage, and other performance-indicating metrics. But to the manager of a team on the ground, they’ll want reports with information like leading indicators that provide detailed snapshots of their team and inspire immediate action.
Leading indicators are specific to the individuals and their performance and help drive the metrics reported to the executive team. Examples of these metrics include: number of calls per week, successful deployments, documents published, etc.
3) Evoke action
Once your measurements are defined and then tailored to address the intended audience, enable the consumer of the report to take action by providing context to identify areas of improvement or continued success.
For example: How much did spend increase from last quarter? Am I on track to make my yearly goal for total calls? What are some tips to increase calls/week if I am trending downward?
Providing context enables the consumer of the report to take action and improve performance metrics.
This approach to business performance reporting will help you generate invaluable insights but it is time intensive. Now, with technology like our advanced natural language generation platform, Quill, companies can instantaneously analyze data, produce reports that provide context to enable action, and tailor the language to the appropriate audience.
Identifying your key performance indicators is what's hard, but reporting results shouldn’t be.