The ‘Favorites’ bar across the top of your web browser is completely full. You spend most of your time preparing for meetings by copying and pasting information from one software tool to another. Each month, you spend hours creating reports for your stakeholders, each of whom need different information, in a different format, with a different chart. Reports which, despite the hard work, inevitably look like Frankenstein’s monster, with a mishmash of tables, charts, fonts, and formats from different systems that don’t match.
You might be using too many reporting tools (or just an ineffective one). Trying to manage too many tools leaves a lot of room for miscommunication and data entry errors, not to mention puts undue stress on your management team. The good news is that consolidating your reporting is not as daunting as it sounds, and the benefits to your team of a streamlined process will have you wishing you’d made the change a long time ago.
Need direction? Keep reading to learn more about why you should consolidate your reporting and how you can find the best tool to fit your organization’s unique reporting needs.
Why Should You Consolidate Your Reporting?
Take back your time!
- Save your monthly reports as templates and integrate automation for regular data uploading, status checks, and reminders. When it’s all in one place, you don’t have to do the same work every month to generate your most important reports. With a streamlined reporting process, you can spend less time compiling and more time analyzing and improving your strategy.
- Consolidation also means that you only need to train employees to use one tool. This will also require less internal support, freeing up additional resources across your organization.
Get your team in sync.
- Consolidated reporting prevents miscommunication and makes it easier for your team to collaborate.
- With improved reporting, team members can easily share information across the organization and ensure that everyone has the data they need to move forward with planning and execution.
Save yourself a headache.
- Sometimes getting into each of your reporting tools can be almost as difficult as creating the reports themselves. Consolidating your process eliminates the headache of remembering (or forgetting) dozens of login credentials.
Eliminate copy and paste.
- When reporting is consolidated, all data can be entered into the same system, eliminating extra steps and wasted time. Make sure the reporting tool you choose has a Data Loader that allows you to automatically upload data from existing spreadsheets and other systems.
- More reporting tools means more money spent, and more complexity leads to wasted time. Wouldn’t you rather be using your time and money for something else, like executing on your well-thought-out strategy?
What You Need to Know Before You Start Searching for That One Tool
Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Almost too good to be true? It doesn’t have to be!
So how can you find the one tool to rule them all?
First, make a list of your main goals for a new tool. What exactly do you want the tool to do, and what are you willing to compromise on? Oftentimes, a tool won’t do everything on your dream list, so prioritize what’s most vital to your team by deciding on your key goals. Also make note of how users of the new tool manage the things outside of their software that don’t quite fit in, such as everyday task management and detailed budgets.
You will also need to assign an owner for the process. They will be responsible for managing the new tool and ensuring that all users are well-trained and comfortable with the software. This person will be an integral part of determining what type of information your team wants to report on with the new tool, where that information is coming from, and leading the charge on making the switch. The right person for your organization will depend on your organization’s goals, priorities, and current reporting processes.
As a final note, be sure to look for a partner in your reporting process, not just a software tool. Managing reporting is no small task, so consider the types of support available and the onboarding provided by your new reporting partner. A dedicated support team with knowledge of your industry and organization will ensure that there is someone who will help you with your reporting throughout the entire process. Choose a partner who has your best interests in mind and who wants to help you succeed and reach your goals.
If you still aren’t sure what features you need in a tool, our reporting features checklist should help you narrow it down. Best of luck in your strategy journey, and happy reporting!