You are what you eat
Why management information needs to be presented in a digestible way for businesses to reap the benefits
This might be a strange title for a piece about management information (MI). However, if you think of your organisation as a giant organic being it starts to make sense.
MI has become a critical part of business intelligence strategies across the majority of organisations. This has given rise to dedicated internal MI teams, which draw key insights from a range of sources including employee performance and objectives right through to technology being used within an organisation. The business then devours the reports and asks for more (supersize me anyone?). And, they will typically demand more complex tables of data to cross-reference with other data allowing management to make more informed decisions. In addition, analysts from other parts of the business can use the insights to uncover behaviours that drive certain trends and spot areas of underperformance across the organisation. The benefits of MI are rife from helping to improve overall productivity and increasing efficiency, but many are suffering from information-overload during the process.
With the wealth of information now available at management’s fingertips, it’s now starting to look like one of those all you can eat Las Vegas style buffets. Uncovering all these various mouth-watering morsels of information, it’s tempting for managers to sample everything at once. But where do you begin? And how do you consume it all in a digestible way, so it doesn’t leave you feeling sluggish?
There are many examples of the ways in which MI can help streamline tasks across the business, if the insights are broken down into bite-size chunks. For example, in the contact centre it’s common to provide daily summary reports of activity to other lines of business – a process which can take hours to complete. But, have you ever stopped to ask who actually reads the update within the business and if they even open it?
A friend of mine working in a contact centre recently did just this. He would arrive two hours before everyone else each day to run reports for a news summary to send to the network.. One day he was running late and after finishing it a good two hours later than normal, he noticed that no one had chased him for it. With this in mind, he decided to ask who actually read his report. So he trotted off and collated some stats. This revealed that only fifty percent of the recipients actually opened it. But here’s the killer, most of those who did open it didn’t actually read the report, they only opened the email because they thought he could monitor whether they had done so. . The result was a review of the MI he provided. Following this insight, he compiled a much smaller report and shared it with a more targeted audience that would read actually read it and benefit from it. And, most importantly for my friend, he could now enjoy a lie-in!
This story is typical of many contact centres, where mountains of data is produced making it difficult for anyone to find the answers to the questions that the business actually needs. By streamlining MI insights and processes, managers and the wider business can run more efficiently and ultimately get the information that’s required to the right people.
To deliver truly actionable intelligence based on detailed information, there are a number of things organisations need to do. These include:
o Understanding which metrics are actually important and delivering data on them
o Automating the data collection, so that analysts can do the analysis they were employed to do, rather than just produce data
o Making sure it’s as accurate as possible
o Delivering the data to those who need to see it using customised scorecards and dashboards to highlight trends, where necessary
o Sending it directly to their desktops, so it empowers them to act on it.
Gathering business intelligence and MI doesn’t have to be a daunting process. The key is to produce the right amount of insight and information, which is easily digestible, to the right audience. So, what are you serving up in your business? Offering smaller, targeted nuggets of information will be far more effective than inviting everyone to the all you can eat data buffet. Only then will organisations reap the rewards.
By Graeme Gabriel, Strategic Back Office WFO Consultant, Verint