Operations Reporting Tips

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Is there a difference between decision support and reporting functions and processes?

Converting BI Focus From Decision Support And Reporting Functions To Operational Reporting Processes

An article in CIO Magazine by Meredith Levinson makes note of a typical BI problem area. Levinson writes that most CIOs look upon BI as a reporting and decision support tool for senior management. The general consensus seems to be that the old way of doing business was bad, the new way is certainly better, but it is still not optimal. The answer, she offers, lies in exploiting process, not product, reporting product, that is.

Levinson further mentions one expert's observation that most businesses using BI don't understand their business processes well enough to make a proper effort to improve them. Providing reports, scorecards and decision support tools appears, from this article's perspective, to fall short of the needed functionality to really improve a company's performance. Spending more time understanding the key operational functions and processes will illuminate flawed structures and components and point to corrective action leading to high level corporate performance. This is eminently better than following the crowd and using BI merely to monitor what is happening.

   
How did dashboard technology come to be?

Digital Dashboards Defined, Decoded, and Demystified

Digital display technology started to evolve in the 1970s in the defense and aerospace industries. The impetus was the need for new technologies to manage an exponential increase in operational information being presented to aircrew as the result of emerging digital subsystems. Among the leading development laboratories were NASA, the USAF (especially Wright Aeronautical Laboratory), the Navy (especially the Naval Air Development Center), and various aircraft manufacturers.

This technology initiative emerged in the business world in the post-Internet era of the late1980s with technologies like the digital dashboard. Dashboards provide efficiently formatted displays of an enterprise's state using clever metrics and performance indicators. The underlying data, culled by BI software techniques, is transformed and presented in "at-a-glance" views that provide decision support aids, such as warnings, alerts, opportunity sweet spots or status summaries.

Be the operations reporting pilot of your company and use this aviation display technique to fly to performance management success.

   
Is risk analysis used outside of the insurance industry.

Risk Analysis As A Broad BI Topic

Business intelligence reporting and analysis techniques are helpful in achieving performance management success across many functional business areas. Predictive analytics are frequently the BI tool most suited for this purpose. Insurance and reinsurance operations are obvious users of these techniques and, originally, probably invented them. But what other areas of business operations could employ such analytics? Consider the following:

Financial Services – Credit worthiness and debt load as a tool as a tool in credit card pre-approval campaigns.

Pharmaceutical/Biomedical – Outcome of clinical trial projects and potential downsides to regulatory approval.

Retail Sales – Reduction or alteration of a trusted customer base as the result of introduction of controversial or divergent product offerings.

   
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Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.