In an economy where information is an organization's biggest asset, how they analyze information, and create and distribute reports is the critical element which dictates success and failure. Most reporting has internal and external purposes. Organizations need to know where they stand on the issues that need addressing. They need to increase understanding and communications. They need to understand and address risks and threats. They need to change the way they do business and improve their impacts on their market. The Performance Reporting Process helps organizations understand the stages of data as it transforms to meaningful information and is distributed throughout the organization. The Performance Reporting Process consists of 5 phases:
- Data Gathering
- Data Extraction
This article will briefly discuss the different phases, as following articles will discuss in detail the different types of tools that are associated with performance management and how to differentiate among them.
Gathering data is the first step toward solving problems and satisfying organizational curiosity. When we look up information to answer a question or to formulate new questions, we are gathering and analyzing data. When we conduct surveys and draw conclusions from them, we are gathering and analyzing data.
The following are tips to consider in the data gathering stage:
- Keep it simple. The purpose of analysis is insight, and the best analysis is the simplest analysis which gives the needed insight.
- The data gathering exercise should not interfere with normal work.
- The people who work in the area under investigation should assist and have buy-in on data gathering methods.
- Determine scope and purpose before deciding what data to gather. Pilot your data gathering method on a small scale and modify it if necessary.
- The data gathered should be a reasonable representation of the whole process. For example, it would not be a good idea to gather data over a bank holiday, or only on Monday's night shift!
- Don't reinvent the wheel. If the data you require already exists in an accurate usable format, all you need to do is map to it. If it doesn't, you will need to design a method of gathering the data.
Data extraction is the process of extracting data from various tables within the organization and preparing it for integration into master data. Often combined with transforming and loading (ETL), this is where data is moved from these multiple sources, reformatted, and loaded into another data source for analysis or business process support. This step will be discuss in more detail in the following chapter under ETL tools.
Data integration, as mentioned earlier in the Data Quality Management Process, allows organizations to logically apply data across different sources. Data integration is especially necessary when organizations acquire other organizations or consolidate internal business units. This is where apples are compared to apples and organizational data can be clearly understood and utilized for decision making.
Reporting allows companies and organizations to gain a better understanding of their business by providing critical information to employees, managers, partners, and customers. Performance reporting provides information against everything from metrics, scope, schedule, cost, risk, procurement, and quality. Performance reports are presentations and documents that summarize work performance information in the form of bar charts, S-curves, histograms, tables, etc.
Report distribution is the methods an organization uses to share and deliver performance reports to stakeholders. Reports can be distributed manually; however this process takes a lot of time and resources from the performance management team. Automated report distribution allows the performance management team to develop a series of reports, obtain buy-in from all stakeholders, and ensure that the reports will be made available at specific intervals. Many report distribution tools allow flexibility as to what format the report will be distributed in, how it will be distributed, who will receive the reports and how often they will be sent.
About Victor Holman
Victor Holman is a performance management expert who helps organizations reach performance goals through best practice analysis and implementation and custom enterprise performance management products and services.
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