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Automated Reporting, Analytics & Intelligence

August 3, 2017

Automated Reporting, Analytics & Intelligence

Automated Reporting, Analytics & Intelligence
Automated Reporting, Analytics & Intelligence

Automated Reporting, Analytics & Intelligence

A report is informational work made with the specific intention of relaying information or recounting certain events in a widely presentable and scrutinised form.

Reports are used for keeping track of information, which may be used to make decisions. Written reports are documents which present focused, salient content, generally to a specific audience.

Reports use features such as graphics, images, voice, or specialised vocabulary to persuade that specific audience to undertake an action. Additional elements often used to persuade readers include: headings to indicate topics, to more complex formats including charts, tables, figures, pictures, tables of contents, abstracts, and nouns, summaries, appendices, footnotes, hyperlinks, and references.

Management information system (MIS) refers to the processing of information through computers and other intelligent devices to manage and support managerial decisions within an organization. The term is often used in the academic study of businesses and has connections with other areas, such as information systemsinformation technologyinformaticse-commerce and computer science; as a result, the term is used interchangeably with some of these areas.

Automated Reporting, Analytics & Intelligence in SAP Waste & Recycling One

SAP, Waste & Recycling One has a suite of pre-built reports covering the full end to end process. Data can be displayed in forms or output using SAP Business Objects Crystal Reports, which is embedded in the software. Scalable (SAP BO / CR) Analytics and Intelligence packages and platforms are also available. SmartWorld, ISB Global’s mobile, web and IoT connectivity innovations platform also allows for reports, analytics and intelligence platforms to be designed or choose off the shelf versions of the customer and supplier web portal or design your own mobile alerts with information you want to receive to any operating system and any device in real time.

Automated Reporting, Analytics & Intelligence - The BI Journey
Automated Reporting, Analytics & Intelligence – The BI Journey

Automated Reporting from Business Process

Business processes comprise a set of sequential sub-processes or tasks with alternative paths, depending on certain conditions as applicable, performed to achieve a given objective or produce given outputs (i.e. a report or information on activities). Each process has one or more needed inputs. The inputs and outputs may be received from, or sent to other business processes, other organisational units, or internal or external stakeholders.

Business processes must include up-to-date and accurate reports to ensure effective action. An example of this is the availability of purchase order status reports for supplier delivery follow-up as described in the section on effectiveness above. There are numerous examples of this in every possible business process.

Business process owners and operatives should realise that process improvement often occurs with introduction of appropriate transaction, operational, highlight, exception or M.I.S. reports, provided these are consciously used for day-to-day or periodical decision-making. With this understanding would hopefully come the willingness to invest time and other resources in business process improvement by introduction of useful and relevant reporting systems.

Automated Reporting & Business Analytics

Analytics have been used in business since the management exercises were put into place by Frederick Winslow Taylor in the late 19th century. Henry Ford measured the time of each component in his newly established assembly line. But analytics began to command more attention in the late 1960s when computers were used in decision support systems. Since then, analytics have changed and formed with the development of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, data warehouses, and a large number of other software tools and processes.

Automated Reporting Using Trustworthy Data

Business analytics depends on sufficient volumes of high quality data. The difficulty in ensuring data quality is integrating and reconciling data across different process’, and then deciding what subsets of data to make available.

Business analytics (BA) refers to the skills, technologies, practices for continuous iterative exploration and investigation of past business performance to gain insight and drive business planning. Business analytics focuses on developing new insights and understanding of business performance based on data and statistical methods. In contrast, business intelligence traditionally focuses on using a consistent set of metrics to both measure past performance and guide business planning, which is also based on data and statistical methods.

Automated Reporting to Drive Informed Decisions

Business analytics makes extensive use of statistical analysis, including explanatory and predictive modelling, and fact-based management to drive decision making. It is therefore closely related to management science. Analytics may be used as input for human decisions or may drive fully automated decisions. Business intelligence is queryingreportingonline analytical processing (OLAP), and “alerts”.

Automated Reporting to Predict, Answer & Optimise

Querying, reporting, OLAP, and alert tools can answer questions such as what happened, how many, how often, where the problem is, and what actions are needed. Business analytics can answer questions like why is this happening, what if these trends continue, what will happen next (that is, predict), what is the best that can happen (that is, optimise).

Automated Reporting & Data Management for Knowledge & Information

The Information Management Body of Knowledge was made available on the world wide web in 2004 and sets out to show that the required management competencies to derive real benefits from an investment in information are complex and multi-layered. The framework model that is the basis for understanding competencies comprises six “knowledge” areas and four “process” areas:

The Information Management Knowledge Areas

The IMBOK is based on the argument that there are six areas of required management competency, two of which (“business process management” and “business information management”) are very closely related.

  • Information technology: The pace of change of technologyand the pressure to constantly acquire the newest technological products can undermine the stability of the infrastructure that supports systems, and thereby optimises business processes and delivers benefits. It is necessary to manage the “supply side” and recognise that technology is, increasingly, becoming a commodity.
  • Information system: While historically information systems were developed in-house, over the years it has become possible to acquire most of the software systems that an organisation needs from the software package However, there is still the potential for competitive advantagefrom the implementation of new systems ideas that deliver to the strategic intentions of organisations.
  • Business processes and Business information: Information systemsare applied to business processes in order to improve them, and they bring data to the business that becomes useful as business informationBusiness process management is still seen as a relatively new idea because it is not universally adopted, and it has been difficult in many cases; business informationmanagement is even more of a challenge.
  • Business benefit: What are the benefits that we are seeking? It is necessary not only to be brutally honest about what can be achieved, but also to ensure the active management and assessment of benefit delivery. Since the emergence and popularisation of the Balanced scorecardthere has been huge interest in business performance management but not much serious effort has been made to relate business performance management to the benefits of information technology investments and the introduction of new information systems until the turn of the millennium.
  • Business strategy: Although a long way from the workaday issues of managing information in organisations, strategyin most organisations simply has to be informed by information technology and information systems opportunities, whether to address poor performance or to improve differentiation and competitiveness. Strategic analysis tools such as the value chain and critical success factor analysis are directly dependent on proper attention to the information that is (or could be) managed

The Information Management Processes

Even with full capability and competency within the six knowledge areas, it is argued that things can still go wrong. The problem lies in the migration of ideas and information management value from one area of competency to another. Summarising what Bytheway explains in some detail (and supported by selected secondary references):

  • Projects: Information technology is without value until it is engineered into information systems that meet the needs of the business by means of good project management.
  • Business change: The best information systems succeed in delivering benefits through the achievement of change within the business systems, but people do not appreciate change that makes new demands upon their skills in the ways that new information systems often do. Contrary to common expectations, there is some evidence that the public sectorhas succeeded with information technology induced business change.
  • Business operations: With new systems in place, with business processesand business information improved, and with staff finally ready and able to work with new processes, then the business can get to work, even when new systems extend far beyond the boundaries of a single business.
  • Performance management: Investmentsare no longer solely about financial results, financial success must be balanced with internal efficiency, customer satisfaction, and with organisational learning and development.

Automated Reporting & Real Time Business Intelligence

Real-time business intelligence is a concept describing the process of delivering business intelligence (BI) or information about business operations as they occur. Real time means near to zero latency and access to information whenever it is required.

The speed of today’s processing systems has allowed typical data warehousing to work in real-time. The result is real-time business intelligence. Business transactions as they occur are fed to a real-time BI system that maintains the current state of the enterprise. The BI system not only supports the classic strategic functions of data warehousing for deriving information and knowledge from past enterprise activity, but it also provides real-time tactical support to drive enterprise actions that react immediately to events as they occur. As such, it replaces both the classic data warehouse and the enterprise application integration (EAI) functions. Such event-driven processing is a basic tenet of real-time business intelligence.

In this context, “real-time” means a range from milliseconds to a few seconds (5s) after the business event has occurred. While traditional BI presents historical data for manual analysis, BI compares current business events with historical patterns to detect problems or opportunities automatically. This automated analysis capability enables corrective actions to be initiated and/or business rules to be adjusted to optimise business processes.

Business Intelligence is an approach in which up-to-a-minute data is analysed, either directly from operational sources or feeding business transactions into a real time data warehouse and Business Intelligence system.

Automated Reporting Displays on Dashboards

Dashboards often provide at-a-glance views of KPIs (key performance indicators) relevant to a particular objective or business process (e.g. salesmarketinghuman resources, or production). In real-world terms, “dashboard” is another name for “progress report” or “report.”

Often, the “dashboard” is displayed on a web page that is linked to a database which allows the report to be constantly updated. For example, a manufacturing dashboard may show numbers related to productivity such as number of parts manufactured, or number of failed quality inspections per hour. Similarly, a human resources dashboard may show numbers related to staff recruitment, retention and composition, for example number of open positions, or average days or cost per recruitment.

The term dashboard originates from the automobile dashboard where drivers monitor the major functions at a glance via the instrument cluster.

Automated Reporting Dashboard Benefits

Digital dashboards allow managers to monitor the contribution of the various departments in their organisation. To gauge exactly how well an organisation is performing overall, digital dashboards allow you to capture and report specific data points from each department within the organisation, thus providing a “snapshot” of performance.

Benefits of using digital dashboards include:

  • Visual presentation of performance measures
  • Ability to identify and correct negative trends
  • Measure efficiencies/inefficiencies
  • Ability to generate detailed reports showing new trends
  • Ability to make more informed decisions based on collected business intelligence
  • Align strategies and organizational goals
  • Saves time compared to running multiple reports
  • Gain total visibility of all systems instantly
  • Quick identification of data outliers and correlations

Dashboards can be broken down according to role and are either strategic, analytical, operational, or informational. Strategic dashboards support managers at any level in an organisation, and provide the quick overview that decision makers need to monitor the health and opportunities of the business. Dashboards of this type focus on high level measures of performance, and forecasts.

Strategic dashboards benefit from static snapshots of data (daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly) that are not constantly changing from one moment to the next. Dashboards for analytical purposes often include more context, comparisons, and history, along with subtler performance evaluators.

Analytical dashboards typically support interactions with the data, such as drilling down into the underlying details. Dashboards for monitoring operations are often designed differently from those that support strategic decision making or data analysis and often require monitoring of activities and events that are constantly changing and might require attention and response at a moment’s notice.

Balanced Scoreboards and Dashboards have been linked together as if they were interchangeable. However, although both visually display critical information, the difference is in the format: Scoreboards can open the quality of an operation while dashboards provide calculated direction. A balanced scoreboard has what they called a “prescriptive” format. It should always contain these components (Active Strategy)…

  • Perspectives – groupings of high level strategic areas
  • Objectives – verb-noun phrases pulled from a strategy plan
  • Measures – also called Metric or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Spotlight Indicators – red, yellow, or green symbols that provide an at-a-glance view of a measure’s performance.

Source: Wikipedia; SAP