8 Report Types for Better Information Delivery

An important distinction to keep in mind while designing and building your management operating system is the classification of information and reports in the Gather process.

Classifying helps you assign the right process, tools, data, and resources to information, reports, and the Gather process. Without an overt classification, you can end up delivering information inefficiently, or worse, incorrectly.

Here are some common classifications:

  • Financial. Usually relates to items found on the Profit and Loss statement, balance sheet, or cash flow. Content can be at a detailed or summary level.

    Enterprise Performance Management, A Management Operating System, EPM, Ron Dimon

    A Management Operating System

  • Operational. Usually contains information about volumes, units, headcount, inventory levels, and so on. Can also be at a detailed or summary level.
  • Executive. Typically cross-functional information at a summary level.
  • Sustainability. Information relating to environmental, health and safety, and community and social issues.
  • Management or Internal. Includes flash reports. Typically contains information managers need to make business decisions before being transformed for external consumption.
  • Statutory or External. Information that has been transformed according to GAAP or other regulatory standards.
  • Canned. Standard reports that are used over and over again.
  • Ad Hoc. Usually one-time information that’s situational and does not need to be retrieved later— although if found useful across different audiences and at different times can quickly find its way into a canned report.

You can learn more about EPM and how it can help your organization build a common business process to execute its strategy in my book Enterprise Performance Management Done Right: An Operating System for Your Organization (Wiley CIO)

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A Management Operating System

I would like to introduce a framework for thinking about Enterprise Performance Management and Business Intelligence. The genesis of this framework came from my days working at Hyperion Solutions (later acquired by Oracle Corp.). It’s been called a management “operating system” for your company because, like the operating system of your computer, it helps govern input and output and manage what applications (or decisions) are being run and helps make the most effective use of resources (memory, disk space, CPU cycles). You can start anywhere on this closed-loop process to tell the management operating system story, and today I’ll share Gather – the most common part of the cycle, with you.

Enterprise Performance Management, A Management Operating System, EPM, Ron Dimon

A Management Operating System

Gather – While you are busy running your business (Execution, which means service customers, making products, selling in markets), you are generating lots of data. You gather that data and transform it into useful information (according to its context) and deliver it to the right people (according to impact and areas of responsibility).

This is the place where managers consume reports about the results of the business. It’s where they answer the question “where are we, right now?” Depending on your industry and your business, there are generally two kinds of reports: mostly financial and mostly operational. The trend has been to combine financial and operational information on one report, which is a good idea since the two are interrelated: financial investments help drive operational results, and effective operations help contribute to financial performance.

Reports are delivered in a variety of formats with a variety of tools and can be categorized as:

  • Canned (static) reports
  • Ad hoc or interactive reports
  • Dashboards and scorecards
  • Spreadsheets

Reports give their readers a snapshot of what results have been produced to date to help them gauge how close to their goals and targets they are.

You can learn more about EPM and how it can help your organization build a common business process to execute its strategy in my book Enterprise Performance Management Done Right: An Operating System for Your Organization (Wiley CIO)

Top 7 Signs Your Organization Needs Enterprise Performance Management

In working with my clients across a wide spectrum of business sizes, industries, and geographies, when it comes to EPM, there are some “buckets” of pain I have found common to them all. Here Enterprise Performance Managementare 7 reasons your organization needs EPM:

  1. More time is spent on assembling the numbers than on analyzing them— all this manual effort makes us inefficient and not very scalable.
  2. People show up to meetings with “their” numbers, and we don’t know how they got those numbers—there is not a lot of confidence.
  3. Some people aren’t getting the reports or analyses we’re sending out— it either gets lost in their email or the right people aren’t on the distribution list (or they’re ignoring it).
  4. There is little alignment across functions (Sales, Marketing, Development, HR).
  5. People aren’t following the prescribed processes, especially for submitting their plans and forecasts—they make different assumptions and interpret what we want differently.
  6. The right people don’t have access
  7. Sometimes the data is just plain wrong— it doesn’t include the latest numbers or it’s an old version, or it’s missing parts.

You can learn more about EPM and how it can help your organization build a common business process to execute its strategy in my book Enterprise Performance Management Done Right: An Operating System for Your Organization (Wiley CIO)

8 Principles of Enterprise Performance Management

This is a list of what most of my clients tell me they want.  I propose that this list is exactly what EPM delivers.

So unless I hear otherwise, these are the 8 principles of enterprise performance management:

  1. We have a lot of data, we’re getting more every minute, and we want to use it to compete better;8 robots
  2. To use all that data, we want to gather it and transform it so that it makes sense;
  3. We want new insights into our business, based on the facts gleaned from the data;
  4. We want to know what levels of performance are possible in our industry, for our business, in the future; Read more of this post
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