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Karel van der Poel
Karel van der Poel
Founder Mirror42

Mirror42
Founder

Websites:

Drop the calendar view.

Posted about 4 years ago

Almost all the businesses that I have met in the last 10 years are using a calendar view for external and internal reporting.
When the month ends, the financial controllers and business analysts get to work. They crunch the numbers and produce the monthly spreadsheets and powerpoints. Ten years ago this was done for financials only and the whole process took 3 to 4 weeks. Today this is done much faster and with more business data living a digital life the scope expanded from financials to sales, marketing, production, project management, IT management and many other business area’s.

Businesses have become more metrics oriented and despite the fact that there is more data to crunch, business have managed to speed up the crunching process. This development will continue. Businesses will want to crunch more data, faster. Some people refer to this as the Big Data revolution.

Some business are already taking the next step by shortening and intensifying the “reporting cycle”. The internal reporting cycles will become less oriented on calendar months and more oriented on rolling sums and averages and that the time to crunch the numbers will be reduced to a single day. The Big data business will consolidate all their metrics every single day and analyze outcomes.

And this makes perfect sense. What has more predictive information about the future performance of your business?

  • On the 15th of May you receive Aprils numbers compared to March, February and April last year?

or

  • On the 15th of May you receive the numbers over 14 April to 14th of May compared all rolling numbers starting on February 1 and a comparison with the last years rolling numbers? On May 16 your receive the numbers over 15 April to 15th of May and so on.

The benefits of using rolling sums and averages such as sum/avg last 7 or 28 days over calendar based views are tremendous:

  • You are comparing apples with apples, every period has the same length, this is not true for the calendar view.
  • Rolling sum/avg can be calculated every day or hour and therefor generate much more trend information.
  • More trend information means faster pattern recognition.
  • Faster pattern recognition means agility and the ability to take corrective actions.
  • Quicker corrective actions means the ability to generate more shareholder value.

This approach is not futuristic. This approach can be implemented today for any business who is using CRM-ERP-ITSM-PPM-HRM business applications.

Yet a lot of businesses that I meet prefer the “old” calendar view over the “rolling views”. The main argument: “Management is used to the calendar views”. I fear for these businesses.
In the evolution of the business world, I believe big data can play an important role and every management team in the world should start embracing new techniques to analyze business data.

If your management is telling you that the new dashboards and reports have to look like the old reports, if management is more interested in the colors and lay-out of the report then with the data and analysis, if your management is ok with labor intensive-fault tolerant spreadsheets and not willing to change to better data analysis then ask yourself if you are working for a dinosaur who is about to face serious evolutionary challenges.

Welcome to the world of big data.

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