Performance either fuels or inhibits growth. That’s important to keep in mind in the context of a recent Gartner survey showing that growth is the top business priority for CEOs in 2019 and 2020. The economy is booming and opportunities abound, so now seems like an ideal time to expand. Whether or not that happens, however, depends entirely on how companies manage their performance.
EPM reporting is a critical component of performance management. Improving performance begins by understanding where strengths and weaknesses exist, and EPM reporting is designed to expose them. By condensing massive amounts of data into clear and actionable insights, companies can make informed strategic decisions that further their performance goals, including increasing growth.
The clarity quality EPM reports provide is only matched by the confusion that bad reports create. That’s why it’s imperative to follow these best practices throughout the reporting process:
- Vet Your Vendors – The quality of EPM reporting depends largely on the technology facilitating it. There are dozens of reporting solutions on the market, and not all of them are created equal. Instead of prioritizing bells and whistles, look for a product that supports your reporting goals and vendors that offer stellar support. It’s important to consider things like customization options, implementation timelines, and scalability limits as well. Companies may be tempted to select a solution quickly to start generating reports faster, but selecting the right vendor should always be the priority.
- Get Everyone on Board – EPM reporting must incorporate all relevant data or else the insights it produces are inaccurate and untrustworthy. EPM tools can perform the integration automatically unless someone is hoarding data on a static spreadsheet or notes document. To prevent this scenario, everyone on your team should understand the importance of EPM reporting and their role within it. Be sure to emphasize where and how all data should be stored, the business benefits of accurate reporting, and the risks of leaving anything out.
- Extend Accessibility – The finance department typically takes the lead on EPM reporting, but they’re not the only department that can benefit from the reports. In reality, every department has a stake in performance management, so more stakeholders should have access to the information in the reports, or at least be aware of key takeaways. It’s probably not prudent to give every employee access, but in general, EPM reporting is a lot more impactful when it’s not isolated inside finance.
- Unburden IT – EPM reporting is a complex and technical process that, ideally, can be conducted by anyone. In the past, users had to rely heavily on IT to find data, generate insights, and design reports, which took a lot of time and limited the number of reports that could be run. Now, many of those processes can be automated so that users outside IT can generate reports independently. Look for tools that are intuitive and user-friendly enough for anyone to use. Users should also be able to produce reports that are clear enough for anyone to understand.
- Empower the Users – Even the simplest EPM reporting tools will take some training to master. Make this training a part of the implementation process, and invest in getting users to get up to speed. Then repeat this training on an ongoing basis, and whenever you make a new hire, to ensure that everyone on the team is using EPM reporting tools to the fullest.
Operating according to data-driven insights is important now, but it will be critical in just a few years. The companies that excel at EPM reporting will be able to confidently navigate the opportunities and obstacles of tomorrow’s economy. Conversely, those that struggle to leverage their data will struggle to preserve their competitive edge as well. When you’re ready to elevate your performance, insightsoftware can help. Contact us with all your questions about EPM reporting.