“So why would I even want to convert all the old reports? Maybe we should just start over and do everything new in our new system.” This was a question asked by a leader excited about moving from a hodgepodge of older reporting systems to a new Business Intelligence tool. We share her excitement about what BI will bring to her organization – the ability to create and measure (for the very first time in her setting) key performance indicators that measure success or failure, the ability to empower local managers with ad-hoc reporting, and so on.
But sometimes in our excitement about what’s new, we forget about what users depend on to run their daily operations. It’s seldom KPIs and ad-hoc reporting. More often it’s the tried-and-true operational reports they’ve been running for years.
The new BI environments allow for standard reporting for a very important reason: The daily details that operations have to cope with are critical to their ongoing operational success. Whether these reports are simple lists of customers or vendors broken down in a variety of ways, or reports that help a manager measure the execution of a business cycle, or a breakdown of costs, or a budget report – many reports have little direct relationship to KPIs. But the daily operation can’t run without them.
Applying our analytical powers once again can come to the rescue. When contemplating a move to a new BI tool, try asking these questions:
1) Which reports haven’t been run in a long time? If not, why keep them? There’s usually a good reason no one is using them.
2) Do we have a report that no one is running because it’s broken in some way? Perhaps with a little tweaking we can make it work and worth bringing forward to the new environment.
3) Do we have reports that are ripe for combining? Could small changes to one report make others expendable?
4) Have we asked our users what’s important to them?
Often the best choice is both/and rather than either/or. With BI, you’ll both enjoy the new and the tried-and-true.