Executives need access to the latest business insights to make effective strategic, financial, and operational decisions. This becomes increasingly difficult to achieve as organizational data silos grow and make it harder to collate accurate data for enterprise reporting. Combine this with competitive, fast-paced markets and the need for constant innovation, and the decision-making process becomes a time-pressured minefield that puts undue stress on senior managers.

Despite this challenge, many management teams are still going into board meetings with static reporting booklets and presentations which have been manually collated by business analysts. It leaves them without the depth of information they really need.

The problem with traditional enterprise reporting

Traditional methods of management reporting (usually spreadsheets, static presentations, or management reporting booklets) no longer cut it in the data-driven business world.  They are extremely time-consuming to create, become outdated as soon as they are released, lack the level of detail required to explain underlying causes, and usually rely on one, or more, analysts or data specialists to produce.

This causes several problems for members of the board:

  • Outdated information – as soon as sales or production figures change, static reports from the day, week, month, or even night before lack the latest information, meaning decisions are made without the latest data
  • Lack of deep insights – if a further level of detail is required, such as understanding what caused the generation of X revenue in the last month, it is not instantly available in a static report. This delays decision-making or forces decisions to be made on assumptions rather than fact
  • Lack of a holistic view – despite every effort, masses of departmental data sources make it extremely difficult to gain transparency overall activities. The chance of missing data is high, affecting the accuracy of reports and therefore the accuracy of decisions.
  • Lengthy waits for creation – end users may lack the skills or time to analyze data and produce their own reports, creating a reliance on others within the business and increasing waiting times. Furthermore, this can often result in conflicting reports as information gets pulled from different sources, slowing down decision-making
  • Reports collated from different sources – often, enterprise reports are drawn together from multiple sources of information. This generates conflicting points of view and ultimately leads to a lack of trust in the final report. The solution is to invest in a unified decision-making platform which delivers a single version of the truth to executives

To combat these issues, senior management teams are enhancing their decision-making abilities by digitally transforming their boardroom reporting approach.

The benefits of a modern enterprise reporting solution

For the digital boardroom to function effectively, senior executives need access to real-time insights and intelligence from across the business to aid decision-making.

The self-service nature of modern end-user reporting tools can drive transformation in the boardroom. C-suite executives can move away from static reports, replacing them with interactive dashboards, presentations, and report booklets which:

  • Are based on aggregated, real-time data from across the business – meaning they provide an accurate and up-to-date foundation on which to base business decisions, removing the ambiguity caused by different data sources
  • Enable executives to switch between strategic and operational data instantaneously – with the ability to drill-down and drill-through data to enable a deep-dive exploration of what is driving the numbers, right down to the transactional level
  • Facilitate the discovery of hidden insights – by creating transparency across departmental data and enabling cross-function analysis which can highlight correlations which may previously have gone unnoticed
  • Are produced and refreshed automatically at the touch of a button – making reporting instantaneous and accurate, removing the need to rely on data analysts or IT teams to deliver information, and improving business responsiveness
  • Look forward as well as back – using advanced analytics and predictive technologies to simulate future trends which help to inform decisions based on solid insights

Only with access to accurate, timely information can senior executives hope to identify opportunities for growth, efficiency gains, and performance enhancement in increasingly faster timescales. What’s more, a competent enterprise reporting solution can create the foundation for Integrated Business Planning, creating a truly unified approach.

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Originally published on Board’s blog, by:

Pietro Castelli Head of Solution Development – Board International at