Public Relations News | Leverage technology to monitor business performance
March 2020 brought many changes to the way owners run their businesses. The workforce has become remote – or at least hybrid for a time – the way companies interface and collaborate as a team and with their customers has also changed, as has the way companies monitor financial performance. .
Before the pandemic, reports could have been dropped on a manager’s or owner’s desk to examine the performance of a team, project, client, or business as a whole. Often these reports were retrospective and not strategic in nature. Suddenly, with a remote or hybrid business model, owners had to be more forward-looking and real-time information became even more valuable. Has your organization evolved to track performance metrics digitally? Otherwise, recognizing the need to shift to harnessing technology in order to make better business decisions is the first step in transforming the process.
|This article is featured in O’Dwyer’s Oct. ’21 Healthcare & Medical PR Magazine
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Better understand your business thanks to dashboards
How much time does your organization spend generating reports? Do you have the visibility you need into key operational data? Is your data out of date when management reviews it? Does it provide actionable information?
Collecting and processing data can be time consuming for many PR and marketing organizations, especially when you need to pull data from multiple locations. The amount of data generated by a single business can be overwhelming and difficult to access, interpret, and update on an ongoing basis. This is made worse by the fact that many of the teams that cultivate this information are no longer centralized.
More often than not, this information represents historical data and offers little information about the actions you can take to grow your business based on the results.
The good news is that you can monitor operational and financial data in real time with dashboards that give you a better feel for your business.
How are dashboards different from Excel spreadsheets?
Seasoned business leaders know the trends in their operations, but exploring this information can help identify inefficiencies and ways to improve productivity.
Presenting and comparing datasets in a graphical format allows businesses to capture valuable information often hidden in the rows and columns of Excel spreadsheets.
Dashboards not only provide information fast and easy to digest, but they are also accessible anytime and anywhere. Putting information at your fingertips allows you to quickly identify issues and opportunities so you can easily pivot and make more informed business decisions. They also enable organizations to continuously analyze large amounts of historical and current operational and financial data and transform that information into actionable insights.
Dashboards are customizable, aggregate data, present information in a visual format and update in real time. Technology makes this possible, bringing data together from multiple sources and making it available to you in the cloud so you can access it whether you are traveling or working from home, day or night, from anywhere. which web browser, tablet or phone. This allows you to track data like current sales activity down to the hour or even the minute.
Data presented in a visual format also helps business leaders quickly analyze performance and trends, compare time frames, and explore key metric categories.
There are many tools, including Power BI and Tableau, that allow you to quickly answer questions about business activity and eliminate the need to collect reports manually and after the fact.
Metrics against key performance indicators
To create meaningful dashboards, you need to establish your KPIs and make sure you capture the right data to monitor and track that information. While the terms “metric” and “KPI” are often used interchangeably, they are actually different. Metrics are quantifiable data related to the performance of a business, such as: revenue, expenses, profit margin, website clicks and number of employees.
KPIs capture information related to a specific organizational goal that is defined, achievable, measured, tracked and monitored. Examples of KPIs include: year-over-year growth of service lines, employee retention / turnover, profitability of projects / services, usage (billable or not billable), revenue per employee, and project overruns.
Determine your KPIs
Identifying your KPIs depends on many factors, including your business goals. Working backwards from there can help your organization determine the necessary KPIs to track to measure your success.
To collect this data, it needs to be tracked individually and consistently. Many PR and marketing firms aren’t the best at tracking time by project, but this information is needed to analyze and measure profitability, usage, and revenue. Again, we can turn to technology to help capture time and how wages are allocated. When tracking KPIs, you may start to notice things about your business that you didn’t know before. As a result, your KPIs may change as you develop new information-based goals.
Once you have the KPIs and metrics you want to track and have identified where the data will come from, custom dashboards can pull that information together to give you better and more timely information to run your business.
Creation of custom dashboards
Imagine being able to follow the profitability of a project in real time from your smartphone. Having the ability to make timely adjustments to a project plan is essential when running a business in a remote or hybrid environment. Leveraging technology through the use of dashboards can make this possible. Programs like PowerBI and Tableau can help harness the multiple lines of data that flow through your business every second to create tools for the business owner to execute plans successfully. No more wasting time waiting for the latest report to drop to your desktop or send to your inbox. Create a plan to establish dashboards for your business that you can access anytime from any of your many devices while running your business.
Dominic Rovano, CPA, is a co-partner in charge of the New York office of Janover LLC.