You’ve all been there. You’re reviewing the results with your sales team, and you find that one of the team is 20% below her sales goal for the quarter. You want to know, “Why did you miss your goal?”
“Several orders pushed, I lost an important deal, and my pipeline wasn’t very strong,” she answers.
You can’t help your salesperson make adjustments to their process if you don’t understand why she missed her goal. But all she is telling you is what happened, not why. Without additional information, you have no idea what went wrong, nor can you guide her into making better decisions. As a leader, you must continue to ask “why” until you find an area to adjust and help.
This is what only looking at traditional financial reporting is like. You can examine the numbers and look at what happened over the last month, or quarter, or year. But without digging into more underlying data, it’s difficult to get a complete picture on why.
Digging Deeper Creates More Questions
Digging into your financials may create more questions for your than they solve. For instance, you may find that you had a dip in anticipated sales last quarter. How much deeper can you go to get answers before you have to pick up a phone or ask a line-of-business owner what happened? Probably not very far.
What you might find out, after some more digging, is that your sales were off because your production fell short, and therefore you weren’t able to deliver enough product. Further digging, you find that your production was off because one of your key product components was in short supply. Digging deeper, you find that the component was in short supply because a storm in the area where the component is produced prevented your supplier from getting shipments out.
After a number of phone calls and emails, and possibly even several days, you finally have the data you need to make decisions. Without a deeper understanding, you wouldn’t know whether you needed more training for your sales team, more shifts for production, or better processes as part of your supply chain. Any one of those decisions would have cost your organization money and wouldn’t have addressed the actual problem. Only understanding why are you able to adjust to the actual situation.
Business Intelligence Tools Provide a Broader Picture
Now imagine that you were able to get that information with a few clicks instead of days of phone calls and communication. That’s the power of business intelligence. It can pull together relevant data from across your organization to help you get a full picture of why not just what. Business intelligence software aggregates data from across an organization and layers it with financial data and then presents that data in accessible reports and dashboards. With the data presented visually, business leaders can quickly understand what has happened and why, and drill into the data that is relevant to their area of responsibility.
This kind of reporting requires more than a spreadsheet. Software tools that aggregate data from multiple sources are needed to put that data in context with the financials. But today’s business intelligence software has advanced sufficiently that reporting off of this data is self-service and on demand. It’s how businesses can make informed, intelligent decisions to stay profitable and efficient.
For business intelligence reporting tools that marry financials with a host of other business data, organizations of every size rely on Centage Corporation’s Maestro Suite which includes Budget Maestro™ to help them keep track of and manage their cash flow. Budget Maestro improves the efficiency and effectiveness of business budgeting and planning, financial forecasting, financial consolidation and reporting processes. For more information, take a tour of Budget Maestro, contact Centage, or call 800-366-5111 now.