Whether you are a XERO or an SAP user, the assumed benefits of adopting a Financial/or an Accounting system are the integrated information instead of having data distributed throughout a number of separate databases, All information is now located in a single location. Data is also kept consistent and up-to-date and the ability to make reporting easier and more customizable.
In spite of amassing a lot of information within these systems, the out-of-the-box reports that come with them serve day-to-day operation requirements very well but have a long way to make-up when it comes to supporting both tactical and strategic decisions. Furthermore, IT intervention will be required when it involves extracting and manipulating data from multiple modules. Here, in fact, is the business justification for implementing a Business Intelligence system.
Information at your fingertip
Self-service Reporting and Dashboard systems have been around for well-over a decade now. During that time, many advances have been made, that makes implementation less expensive and use much easier to the typical business users. At the same time, the exponential rise in the use of social media, internet marketing and IOTs have lent more support for such a system to be put in place.
Supporting Decision making and identifying problem areas
A typical decision-making process involves comparisons and reviewing data that supports the decision. Ideally, it should be done over a range of time period and across various categories or attributes.
For example, in perpetual inventory financial system, a company's P&L statement can be generated on the fly to take a snapshot of how well a company is performing. They may every well be able to drill-down and check the ledger and verify the number of transactions made with customers. Let's dissect it further, can we see average size of order? Can we identify which brand or product category are really doing well? Can we compare it with across different time period? Are we really doing better than last week or we are doing better even compared to last year? Likewise, the same mental process can be applied when examining COGS. For example, knowing freight charges have gone up, may be an indicator to start a new contract negotiation or simply find a new supplier.
Identifying how a management team of a company examine the business and support their decision is important in dashboard project. Then all the components should be tied together. This process requires meticulous planning. Just like it is easy for someone to create a beautiful Powerpoint slide without conveying the message, it also just as easy to create a beautiful dashboard that serves very little purpose.
A dashboard should enable better, smarter, faster decisions.