The cultural impact of automated reporting

Monthly reports help businesses track their progress. These reports typically include documents, spreadsheets, and presentations that provide all the information needed to make informed decisions. Unfortunately, only 25{9281046d44a12349a8aab5cb4ead3830e4c4429c260446471c9e8fc98f8f4729} of companies use specialised performance management software or enterprise management systems to manage their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The rest use spreadsheets, presentations, and free-form documents.

In recent years, more companies have started automating their scorecards to gain benefits such as a centralised data source and improved data distribution. Here are the top five reasons to automate your business scorecards:

  1. Single source of truth – Spreadsheets allow for quick changes and easy chart creation, but they also allow for misinterpretation or manipulation of data. By centralising data in a single system and providing standardised charts, there is a single source of truth that cannot be manipulated.
  1. Best industry practices – Automation software developers have drawn on decades of experience to create systems and methodologies with proven track records. Adopting these best practices can save time and improve efficiency.
  2. Responsibility and accountability – KPI management systems encourage a cultural shift by making KPI ownership and progress visible. This can create a more collaborative and supportive environment instead of a blame-focused one.
  3. Alignment with strategy – Good KPI management software will encourage users to consider their business objectives and align them with company strategy. This can be easily visualised with tools like strategy maps.
  4. Standardisation – Using a single dedicated system will standardise data, making it easier to benchmark internally and externally.

While automating KPI management can provide significant benefits, some businesses may hesitate to switch. The shift towards automation requires a cultural change and increased transparency, which some managers may find uncomfortable. Additionally, companies used to tracking metrics may need to shift towards managing through objectives.

Many companies still need to rely on spreadsheets and presentations for data management, despite the increasing availability of specialised performance management software and enterprise management systems. This is often because switching to automation requires a cultural change within the company. The following are reasons why companies may find it culturally challenging to adopt automated IT processes.

  1. Resistance to change: Some employees may resist change, particularly if they are familiar with the old way of doing things. They may feel comfortable with spreadsheets and presentations and may not see the need for change.
  2. Lack of understanding: Some employees may need help understanding the benefits of automation or the technical knowledge to use new software. This can lead to a lack of buy-in and scepticism about the new system.
  3. Fear of loss of control: Automated IT processes often mean data is centralised and controlled by IT departments rather than being spread across different employees. This can make employees feel as though they are losing control of the information they are responsible for managing.
  4. Increased transparency: Automation often increases transparency and accountability, making some employees uncomfortable. They may be used to having control over their spreadsheets and presentations, and having their data visible to others can be unsettling.
  5. Cost and time: Adopting new software can be a time-consuming and expensive process, especially for smaller companies. Employees may be worried about the impact on their workload, and the time it will take to learn a new system.

In conclusion, Organisations should be aware of the cultural challenges associated with switching from spreadsheets and presentations to automated IT processes. Addressing these challenges requires effective communication, change management strategies, and training and support for employees to help them become comfortable with the new systems.