Are you trying to understand the importance of analytics and reporting in business and how they can help increase productivity and profit?
Every department needs a robust business intelligence strategy for data analytics and management of business information to help teams make more data-driven decisions, and get a competitive advantage over other businesses.
Insights and analytics have the power to fundamentally change the way a job is performed, as every step can be planned based on evidence.
Businesses that use big data have an average profit increase of 8% compared to those that don’t.
With the advent of customization, data engines and dashboards can be molded to suit every department’s business needs - whether that be job recruitment, social media marketing performance, or tax management.
Today we will take a look at how analytics and reporting can be utilized across the different sectors of business. But first, let’s take a quick look at the kinds of business analytics available.
There are 4 types of business analytics that a business can use to make data-driven decisions across the board - descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive.
It's important to understand the differences between them so that you know when to use each one (or a combination) to assess a situation and create an effective plan moving forward.
1) Descriptive: "What happened?”
Through the interpretation of existing data (historical and current) descriptive analytics are used to identify patterns and trends, allowing a business to see the bigger picture
2) Diagnostic: “Why did this happen?”
Going one step further, diagnostic analytics are used to assess why a particular outcome occurred through contrasting trends and identifying connections between variables.
3) Predictive: “What might happen in the future?”
Through analysis of historical data and industry trends, businesses can use predictive analytics to make data-driven predictions to identify opportunities and potential threats.
4) Prescriptive: “What should we do next?”
By assessing every aspect of a situation, prescriptive analytics is used to come up with a plan of action based on the data available.
These 4 types of analytics bring many benefits to a business, including:
- Increased communication: both internally between departments and externally with clients.
- Increased productivity: from being able to adapt to changes in market trends.
- Increased accuracy: reporting accurate data means more accurate budgets and financial forecasts as a result.
- Increased timeliness: automated reporting means that you have the data you need to inform decisions at the right time.
Now let’s take a look at the importance of business analytics and how they can be applied to the different sectors of business.
Optimized reports can be obtained for every department's activity and can be aligned with business goals to improve the overall success of the company.
A good marketing report brings together all marketing activity results, goals, and historical data in one place.
Structured reports can help a company or client understand whether the current marketing strategy is working and if there is any scope for improvements.
Using a tool like Metrics Watch, they can be quickly generated, easy to understand, and delivered efficiently to recipients.
A typical digital marketing report could include an overview page, organic website traffic, social media data, and paid campaigns data. Keeping a tab on active campaign analytics can help marketers uncover useful consumer behavioral insights, and also give their sales teams important lead data.
This is especially helpful if you are providing digital marketing and content writing services to a set of clients as these reports can come in handy to understand the progress of all your efforts in a snap.
Recruiting the right talent determines the growth and success of a company. But it is a tough job and without proper information, it can be time-consuming too.
HR reports containing data points (such as the number of job vacancies, candidates at each stage of selection, time spent to fill a position, etc.) can optimize the whole job recruitment process and make it more efficient.
HR data analytics can also improve a company’s hiring strategy. Jobsoid’s analytics and reporting feature, for instance, provides an overview of your recruiting performance with the help of reliable dashboards that assist in prioritizing tasks, monitoring performance, and identifying bottlenecks.
Apart from hiring, regular reporting enables HR to track key workforce metrics.
Moreover, new trends and opportunities can be identified early on, whereas emerging problems can be nipped in the bud.
Although financial reporting is a standard accounting practice, an advanced report can make it easier for management to make informed business decisions based on the company’s financial health.
It is also crucial to maintain tight finance reports for investors and banks if you are looking for borrowing funds. Moreover, they are required by law for taxes.
A good financial report can help in optimizing and monitoring cash flows, expenses, sales, and profits.
It can also help the top management to stay on top of the company’s financial statements to make sound economic decisions during a time crunch.
Managers can refer to a company’s assets and liabilities in a financial report to understand how to manage debt efficiently.
Further, it helps simplify taxes and also makes businesses compliant with laws and regulations.
Operational reporting in business is usually short-term (i.e. hourly daily, weekly) as it details the ins and outs of a company's day-to-day processes, typically deliverables related to production.
Therefore, having an automated dashboard that gives real-time insights into the company's operations is beneficial in expediting decision-making.
Operational reports make it possible to track progress at all levels in various departments. It helps save time and money as it allows leaders to identify specific trends and patterns to strategize and improve productivity.
Let's take a look at 2 different examples to see how this works in practical applications…
A manufacturing company can utilize operational reports to prevent or reduce machine downtime, overlook entire production lines, and improve individual worker efficiency. It also makes forecasting future raw material needs, analyzing defect rates, optimizing production rates, and reducing costs easier.
While operational reporting in the retail industry helps retailers track individual store businesses, manage inventory, recognize loyal customers, and ultimately improve sales.
As an organization keeps growing and expanding, the significance of reports, business insights, and analytics increases.
They contribute to creating a vigorous business intelligence framework that gives leaders a bird's eye view of the entire organization’s functioning.
Staying on top of all the processes and tracking performance continuously gives a competitive edge to a company, being a major factor in its success!
Kelly Barcelos is the digital marketing manager for Jobsoid, an applicant tracking system, and is responsible for leading the content and social media teams. Her expertise and experience in the field of HR enable her to create value-driven content.
You can find more of Kelly's articles on Jobsoid’s blog, where she publishes content regularly.