Knowing that we are a little behind where we want to be can allow us to change that situation and avoid disappointment when the final results arrive. However, I find it’s rare that small to medium businesses are able to provide their staff with effective access to the reports required to actually measure the key drivers of their overall results.
An automated report can provide individuals, teams and managers with live information on how results are tracking as well as effective access to historical results. We particularly use and recommend Crystal Reports for this purpose.
- Staff members have visibility at any time to see how they are going towards their targets
- Management have visibility to how overall results are tracking so they can get involved if required
What are Crystal Reports?
Crystal Reports is a software package produced by SAP that you can purchase for around $650 AUD. The program is designed to integrate and report on data that is stored within any application database.
What can be reported on in Crystal?
- Productivity and billing
- Revenue and margin
- Manufacturing or shipment progress
- Sales results, leads, opportunities
- Other custom performance metrics
- Pretty well any data that is stored within an application database
- Generally a Microsoft SQL database or any database with supported API/ODBC connection can be reported on
Essentially 90% of the database driven applications we come across can be effectively reported on.
How do you structure your company’s reports?
Company reporting is usually structured in the following levels:
- Individual level reporting – metrics reported on should ideally match the individual’s KPI’s.
- Team level reporting – metrics reported on should promote effective team work to achieve an overall goal.
- Company level reporting – the key metrics that drive the company’s progression should be reported on.
We find its best to design reports based on the schedule that the results actually need to be reviewed. All key metrics should be visible on a single report and ideally reporting should be automatically sent to the individual or team when results are due to be reviewed.
Results VS Progress reports
A results report allows final results to be reviewed from a specific time period such as last month, last quarter or last year. Whereas a progress report allows progress within the current reporting period to be reviewed so the individual can see how they are tracking. Ideally a progress report includes a field to define what the target goal is, a forecast field to estimate the anticipated result based on the progress so far, and a variance field to advise the impact of how your results are tracking against your target.
How can you get started with automated reports?
If your business doesn’t effectively measure all of its KPI’s, automated Crystal Reports may be the answer. If you would like to test the waters first, I recommend thinking about one custom report that you think would benefit your business or a particular staff member the most. Work out how you would like the report to look and what information you would like in it. Depending on how complex your report is, we usually require between 2 and 16 hours labour to complete a custom report on your behalf.
If you would like to see an example report, click here and let us know what kind of report you are thinking of so we can send you an example.