Any manager who wants to be effective and efficient in his or her job should meet three requirements: manage correctly and care for the well-being and satisfaction of the team; retain talent within the team in order to keep knowledge and expertise ‘in the family’; and last but not least, attain the objectives imposed by the company and report adequately on them to Top Management.
Requirements for Optimal Performance
The first two requirements can be learned and developed with experience and training, best-in-class recruiting processes and by offering attractive compensation packages in line with the market. No manager is born with these skills. They must be acquired and are so complex that no company can provide them all. However, companies can obviously provide their managers with tools that allow them to monitor their objectives and report on them. And this is where business reporting and business statistical tools come into play, for instance, the already well-known scorecards, which are visual management tools, key performance indicators, and statistical data.
Managers handle a great amount of information they must store, manage and analyze to be able to make informed decisions. That information comes from different sources: e-mails, mobile devices, social media, etc. Well, statistical business applications precisely allow consolidating all this data and turning it into useful and meaningful information. They usually offer a wide range of statistical business procedures that make it possible to perform accurate analyses, prepare data so that these analyses can be made quickly and easily, and help prepare high-quality reports and graphics. All this without forgetting visualization capabilities that clearly show the meaning of the conclusions drawn from the analyses.
The Advantages of Business Statistic Tools
The specific benefits of statistical tools abound, but they could be summarized into five:
- Visibility: Managers know exactly what is going on across the business, which helps them manage it better.
- Ongoing improvement: As Peter Drucker, a management guru of the 20th century, said “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”; a quote perfectly applicable to a company’s performance.
- Time savings: Managers spend a lot of time gathering data from different systems in the company and generating reports from this information. Statistical applications are strong allies in this sense, because they show the latest results from each report, thus saving a precious time.
- Performance monitoring: All managers spend many hours drawing up business plans. However, this is only the beginning of the journey. What comes afterwards is making sure plans are on track, since scorecards automatically display in real time where the company is vis-à-vis the expectations of the plans designed.
- Employee productivity improvement: When an employee knows that their performance is being measured and they can also see it easily, their first reaction is to improve it.
It is not too difficult to illustrate some of these advantages. Let’s put an example that any multinational firm experiences frequently. If the company sends its best sales representative to close a deal to the other side of the Atlantic, they’d better be aware of the fact that the employee’s mobile consumption has rocketed in just one day and broadly exceeds the telephone budget for the whole trip. In this way, the company could undertake measures such as blocking the mobile phone.
Likewise, business statistical tools are a gold-mine for the people responsible for designing marketing campaigns, since they help them adapt the campaigns to real market requirements at the exact moment. That is to say, they manage to know that at 10 p.m. the majority audience of a certain channel are men between 30 and 40 and, therefore, they decide to broadcast a car commercial.
As far as document management software firms are concerned, statistical business solutions allow their clients to optimize their processes, since they know at all times what processes require more resources, the amount of time each process has taken, and the physical space on disk and data bases the resulting files have occupied.
The Scorecard as Main Challenge
Now there are only some challenges this type of business statistical applications have to face. The first one is the selection of the metrics that underlie the analyses they make. If managers choose the right indicators, the resulting statistics will be more reliable. The second one is that scorecards should be built by using APIs or application programming interfaces with corporate systems. The option of employees entering data manually into the scorecard involves too many risks (incomplete, wrong, obsolete data, etc.). And let us not forget that it should be possible to see the results on any web browser instead of storing them in individual computers. In this way, any person who needs to access the data can do it easily.
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