You’ve probably heard people at your company say things like:

  • “I can never find the report I’m looking for,” or
  • “It takes my team way too long to compile the weekly updates,” or even
  • “I get 15 different reports from my team with the same metrics, and yet the numbers are different.”

Unfortunately, this happens all too often in corporate decision-support teams, especially in the field of finance.

And if financial teams are using inaccurate or untrustworthy reports to make decisions, that can be a HUGE problem for companies in terms of lost profits and wasted resources.

These reporting complications destroy our power to make informed process and performance decisions

You and your company may have an opportunity if these statements apply to you:

  1. you have way too many reports, spreadsheets and documents
  2. you are looking at the wrong reports or reports that capture only a little bit of the story
  3. you have too many people contributing to the reports and pulling different sets of numbers
  4. you simply have the wrong data

So, how can we build a business case and identify the impact to the organization? Read on to find out how.

Reporting that doesn’t change behaviors is useless data.

We recently worked with a large corporation to create data accuracy and ensure decision-making confidence.

We found the company was using approximately 1,000 individual reports and spreadsheets for roughly 250 people. It was crazy to see that each person was generating four unique reports that made their way to the decision makers within the organization. This was the classic case of “too many cooks in the kitchen.”

The hours this company spent creating redundant and useless reports was estimated to be over 75,000 annual hours!

The breakthrough: only 4% of the company’s unique reports were necessary.

A closer look at these reports showed that nearly 80% of the involved metrics were common to all, and 20% of the reports were almost completely identical.

When we broke down the reports to their most finite components, there were about 25 key metrics across a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly time series, and we realized there was only a need for between 30 and 40 unique reports – 4% of the current total!  

Those 75,000 wasted reporting hours were all spent creating the same reports with the same numbers over and over again.

The consequences of reporting complexity: waste and distrust.

Obviously, this particular company was having some issues with their reporting processes, which led to some negative effects for their decision-support teams:

  1. Way too many reports: a large quantity of spreadsheets and documents
  2. The wrong reports: reports that capture a little bit of the story, but not the entire story
  3. Hours and hours spent reporting: teams and teams of people hacking away at spreadsheets, databases and pulling export after export
  4. The wrong data: data integrity issues causing distrust in source data

The company was at a point where decision makers had no trust in the data in the reports, and it was clear that something needed to change.

We’ll dive into the root problems and solutions related to these consequences in Part Two of this two-part case study.

What questions do you still have about the sense of complexity in reporting and decision-support organizations? Leave us a comment below, or contact our team of cross-functional performance improvement specialists today for personalized support