We live in a world of immense technical innovation and data is something many of us are immersed in, and there are times when there seems to be too much of it. Other times, we’re seeing a lot of information, but it’s not being presented in a way that is relevant and provides us a chance to make informed decisions. As the owner of multiple companies and brands, I spend a lot of my time looking at data.
- Data informs the strategic goals for my companies.
- Data helps me to understand what’s working and what isn’t.
- There’s a direct link between some data, such as marketing for instance, and the bottom line of my companies.
There isn’t a day that I don’t walk into my offices, and I’m not looking at multiple reports, particularly financial reporting and sales or even asking my team to provide me analytics on things, such as our social media results. Data spans the gamut, and I can slice and dice every area of my businesses and see how we’re performing.Early Days
After I first when I started my holding company, there eventually came a time when the work of my team and I began to take off. All of the sudden I was asked for interviews and people wanted to speak to me and get my take on things. I always knew that as a CEO, it’s just not possible to be involved in every aspect and minute detail of the businesses. On occasion, I was asked a question that I couldn’t answer on the spot, although I was always able to provide at least some answer.
In those early days, I asked two of my team members to come into my office so I can tell them about the experiences I had been having in speaking to people outside of our organizations. I also told them that I was having trouble making strategic decisions because the information I needed was not the way I needed to digest it. Even though I was not part of every decision within the company, such as the lower level ones, I still needed to have critical information rolled up to me so I can understand the broader implications. And, it needed to be presented in such a way that it made my decision-making process effective. My team developed dashboard reporting for me that day which gave me the essential information about each of the business lines and also the totality of all of it.
As an example, I’ve had occasions where I’ve been asked about the number of followers on one of our social media platforms. Some people can consider it an irrelevant question that perhaps a CEO might not know, but that’s not the way it should be. As the chief executive, I should know the number of followers, clients, and issues that are outstanding for our brands, even if it seems minor. I may not need to know that the best hours for social media promotion for us, but I need to know the top-line information in all departments.
Old School Reporting
Dashboard reporting is an essential tool for business, and I ask my teams to create a lot of it internally. Yes, there are plenty of platforms today that give you their analytics, and that’s all well and good, but often it’s not what I need to know as CEO. If you’re the senior-most executive in your organization, don’t shy away from ad-hoc dashboard reporting that is prepared by your team members. Getting precisely the information you need–as you want to see it–is essential to making informed strategic decisions. And, the reality is that sometimes the ready-made tools out there are useful, but they’re not providing you the relevant data you want or presenting it in a way that you need to understand it.
Dashboard reporting provides clarity and insight to CEOs, so they understand information and can interpret it in a way that makes sense to them, in their role, and is not imposed due to the functionality of a software package or by others.