Insights & Ideas

Why Traditional BI Reporting is Flawed

In my experience most businesses still run on standard reports. Profit and loss, operational performance, sales penetration, turnover, expense management – there are hundreds of standard reports generated by even the most modest sized companies.

Whilst these reports no doubt generate value and help decision making they also introduce complacency because they can often mask underlying issues that remain hidden to management.

By relying on static, automatically generated reports, management can fail to spot other trends and issues that need their attention.

Fraud analytics works because you’re forced to think outside of the box, to question, interrogate, probe and investigate. All of this can be lost with an over-reliance on canned reports.

Just as fraud always leaves a digital trail, the new breakthroughs in your business will not necessarily come from the same old sources. What’s more, your business is constantly evolving, as are your competitors and partners, so you need to look at your information from multiple perspectives.

A classic example of this is Apple, the computing super giant. When Steve Jobs floated the idea of creating a retail strategy for rolling out stores across the globe he immediately hit a backlash from the board. Other computing brands were closing their stores and losing a vast amount of profits. Fast forward ten years and Apple gross more per square foot than any other retailer worldwide. Board members looked at their own data (several were from other computing retailers) and voiced concerns that it just wouldn’t work but Jobs knew from speaking to customers, partners and other retail visionaries that this was the way to go. He ignored conventional thinking and looked to new data, new insights, to shape the future of the company.

If you’re just looking at the same old reports, you might just be getting the same old results. Perhaps it’s time to look through a new lens.

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