Management Information Problems
Companies often contact us because they have problems and frustrations with management information. Typically they spent a lot of time assembling and correcting their management information in Excel, requiring huge amounts of effort.
If good management information isn’t available then informed decision-making is difficult and delegating proper authority to managers is virtually impossible.
Wasted Effort Creating MI
Many of our clients approach us because their finance team are stretched but still need more people. Often busy managers who have better things to do, work late into the evening fiddling with reports. Or the reports the Board need are unavailable or wrong.
Sometimes the CEO can get the reports he or she needs, but the aim is normally that managers all around the business can have their own dashboards and make their own decisions based on upto date information and dashboards. But if MI takes days of preparation then this vision is impossible!
In our experience there are 2 root causes for this kind of situation:
- Most companies we meet have a back-office system, some they have several! These were normally delivered to meet the requirements at the time but frequently the business has moved on and the systems have not have kept up with this. The result is that data which is needed for reports is simply not in these back office systems – instead it’s in Excel, on post-its, in other databases or in people’s heads.
- Management information is often the responsibility of the finance team and this activity soon becomes an ordinary part of their job! Before long, people are spending more and more time each month just fiddling with Excel to create reports.
A Series of Improvements
Our Principals are well used to helping companies in these areas, undertaking independent and impartial reviews of how data flows around the organisation and how it could be improved. The conclusion to these reviews is very rarely that there is a single system that could fix everything for you, it’s more likely a series of improvements, possibly including some new IT, that can be implemented over time making it much easier to work with the data your organisation has and therefore making it easier to make good decisions quickly.
Giving Managers the Data They Need to Make Better Decisions
We work with the Board and other managers to understand what information they need, how and when and create solutions to these problems. Some of these may be simple, sometimes the causes run deep and new systems might be required if it’s worth it.