Reporting has been a staple with marketers for some time, and with good reason. However, the challenge with reporting is that it is often geared at the replication and distribution of numbers and is not focused on the real challenge of answering ‘why’ things are happening.
So, if you are in reporting hell and getting ready to issue your reports for the 15th of the month, here are some reasons why you should just stop.
Insights Aren’t Produced Monthly It has been said that data is everywhere but there is not an insight to be found. The goal of reports is to help provide insights to guide decisions, but often the analysis is not done to dive into why activities are changing. The consumer of these reports is often looking for the ‘why’ activities are happening. This requires time to develop hypothesis and interrogate the data, and surprise, surprise, they are not often revealed on a monthly basis.
Automation is Available Reporting is often done through a series of outputs from dashboards and tools to create a presentation. The time, effort and resources required to do this are substantial. Delivering data in automated feeds to computers, in-office displays and mobile devices should replace the requirement to reproduce numbers and static documents. These resources can shift to the higher value functions of developing hypothesis and answering challenging questions.
People Lie Okay, so not all people, but this happens. Humans happen to have an incredible knack for telling stories that fit the narrative they want to hear. This bleeds into how reports are built – reality is distorted from the analysts to the business owner to the shareholder, all giving their version of the truth, and often omitting key elements.
So, let’s figure out some ways we can stop relying on the monthly regurgitation of facts and focus on the questions that help drive business results.