Business Intelligence – What’s Right for You?

This blog originally published in Printing Impressions.

 

Running a profitable business is no easy task these days. The arrows are coming from all directions and as a CEO, you must be able to stay focused, on point, and have a handle on what’s happening in your business. What do you see, what do you hear, and what do you know on a daily basis?

 

Customizing Your Dashboard

So what’s the right kind of dashboard for you? One option is to have a strategic dashboard that focuses on the overall goals and metrics for the company, giving you a high-level view of your progress. An operational dashboard will have emphasis on the manufacturing side of the business, again at more of a high-level view. A tactical dashboard will take the operations and break them down, perhaps at the machine and operator level. And a sales dashboard will provide insight into sales, customer, and marketing activities. You have several options and I’d recommend that you look at several formats before settling on just one.

 

Trigger Points that Drive Action

Dashboards are not reports or screen shots that you look at and say, “that’s nice,” or “wow, what’s going on here?” They are meant to give you the guidance to make the best decisions, with an emphasis on actually making a decision. This leads us back to a few of my previous posts about the need to create goals and expectations at the company, department, and individual level. Without goals and expectations, what are you measuring against? The information derived from a dashboard can tell you what’s working well in your organization. It can also tell you areas that are lagging. Going back to the expectations that had been established can help you diagnose what might be failing.

 

Create a Common Language

Dashboards have secondary benefits in that they create a common language for you and your team to communicate the progress of your efforts. A dashboard can take away the subjective nature of how the company or department is running. I’m reminded of a young operations manager that when asked how the pressroom performed yesterday, replied, “oh, pretty good.” He’s come a long way since then and can now tell you virtually anything that you want to know about the pressroom and of their all operations. Another great benefit is the realization that what gets measured gets done. Funny how that works.

 

What’s in Your Way?

At the recent Print 18 Conference, I spoke with several of the software and technology providers about their ability to provide business intelligence through their product offerings. The amount of data available and the formats in which it can be presented has come a long way. If you haven’t updated your platform recently or fully optimized the tools you own, you really should look into it. With the data and information available today, you have every opportunity to paint by numbers and make the best decisions for your company. Give this a try and let me know how it works out for you. Good luck and remember, doing nothing is not an option!

 

Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic assessments, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or email at mphilie@philiegroup.com.

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