Since the advent of modern management, organizations and professionals have experienced profound satisfaction and joy in their ability to churn reports. Management ‘gurus’ played their part in pushing the need for these reports. It started with our good old and humble Microsoft Excel, and PowerPoint-based graphs and pie-charts. Creating and sending an excellent looking report was a simile for ‘corporate nirvana.’
With the advancement of software capabilities, these reports and its stylish sibling ‘dashboards’ took on a new ‘avatar’ of presenting information across the organizational hierarchy. The pace at which these reports and their frequency grew is mindboggling and kept the corporate reporting machinery amazingly busy throughout the year – both at work and outside of it! Separate departments were created just for this purpose and treated with utmost respect for what they dished out with impeccable frequency!
So far, so good!
These reports served their purpose for a while. With the change in the global business dynamics, business leaders soon realized that these project reports were mere ‘post-mortem.’ Apart from merely conveying what happened in ‘the past’ the reports did not disseminate much value for taking remedial actions to fix the business challenges. While some reports fulfilled regulatory needs, most others were ‘non-value adding’ in nature.
Today’s software solutions, in general, continue to focus on reports and dashboards in different formats. They are yet to realize that business leaders, project managers, and functional managers need ‘short-cuts to decision making.’ Professionals do not need to know whether a task is two days ahead or delayed ‘after the event.’ Manufacturing or construction managers should not be chasing the Stores manager for raw material inventory. Sales managers should be on tenterhooks for finished goods availability. All of the above-said managers need to have business-critical insights at their fingertips – not through memory, but system-driven. Above all, they all need a ‘single version of the business truth.’
It is imperative that software development companies change their focus of their solutions and capabilities that empower professionals for ‘predictive’ management rather than mere ‘post-mortem specialization.’ Enabling proactive management calls for a radical change in the way software solutions should be designed. Some scenarios that business leaders could benefit include:
- Capture and notify significant external events that impact business.
- Dynamically integrate projects, program, and portfolios with any changes at any of the three layers.
- Alert resource managers about a potential reduction in resource utilization.
- Aid project and program managers with trend-based alerts on adverse impacts to schedule, cost, quality, and stakeholder satisfaction.
- Automatically notify the Accounts Receivables teams about an upcoming payment milestone.
- Equip finance managers with instant flagging of cashflow impact driven by changes made at the projects, programs or portfolio levels.
- Help human resource managers with automatic matching of skills required with resource profiles in the company so that they do not run from pillar to post to match business demand.
- Provide intelligence to quality managers on the likelihood of product/service defects so that they put preventive actions in place.
- Empower risk professionals on the probability of risk triggers so that they could focus their energy on planning responses.
- Offer platforms for instant collaboration rather than hierarchy-based interactions.
- Integrate manufacturing and inventory managers to derive the benefits of ‘Just-In-Time’ inventory management.
- Letting professionals decide the consumption of information – type, timing, and frequency of delivery
- Automatically ‘push’ relevant information based on user-choice!
- Democratize organizational knowledge to drive better business outcomes
So, business leaders and professionals, would you still look for reports and dashboards while selecting software solutions for your enterprise? Think again!