The challenge of informed decision making in the small to mid-size business remains: relevant information is scattered across the company in ever-increasing volume. Here’s what some better companies are doing about it, according to the team at Aberdeen Research, as published in an article titled “Enterprise Performance Management for SMBs” in August.
According to the Aberdeen report, over three-fourths of companies surveyed reported having difficulty accessing the right data to make critical decisions. So if you’re feeling the same, you’re clearly not alone. Too often companies suffer from too much data in too many places, and it’s not well filtered or communicated in the context of company objectives, and the progress being made toward them..
One part of the solution: ensuring that there is a single corporate repository for any mission critical data that ties to the corporate objectives. The best-in-class companies surveyed by Aberdeen do this, with integrated solutions often found inside their accounting, manufacturing and ERP systems.
Also, they use that platform to ensure that there exists an infrastructure that allows key managers to concurrently access financial, operational and strategic data. And they consistently monitor performance benchmarks by establishing milestones to ensure they are actually improving performance against the company objectives.
The metrics they use to define these objectives can then be calculated, made a part of the corporate dashboard, and be easily communicated to staff. They couple this visibility with open communications, both bottom-up and top-down.
By establishing actual workflows for key processes, and then bundling these into how they use their software, they can better lead, manage and track business improvements. They establish formal procedures for doing so, along with internal feedback platforms to validate performance strategies.
The best companies then systematically evaluate their decision effectiveness against business objectives, revising and updating their plans dynamically as required, against this backdrop of better and easier reporting, greater visibility into data across the organization, and improved two-way communications on an ongoing basis.
While this all sounds obvious, execution is another matter. A common repository of critical business data, available in convenient metrics and dashboards across the organization, and used to spur decision making, is the critical first step.
That’s the gist of it, the full reporting of which can be accessed here.