“Thanksgiving Dinner”CSM Dashboard.png


“A 2 Day Trip”


“Your Fantasy Football Draft”


“Monthly Reports”


No… this isn’t a round of ABC’s revival of “The $100,000 Pyramid”, but if it was, the answer to the above would be “Things we spend a disproportionate amount of time preparing for”.


The difference between the first three of these and Monthly Reports is that depending on who you are talking to, you may find someone who actually enjoys the preparation involved in the first three on the list.  But I don’t think you’d find anyone who’d say the same about the data preparation that goes into the generation of Monthly Reports.


Industry studies consistently report that analysts within organizations spend more than 60% of their time on data preparation needed for proper analysis. Here are some recent TDWI results.


This time spent is usually the result of not having the proper tools or administrative rights to access the data and/or being dependent on another department to provide it, or a manual extraction process where an analyst pulls the data from a system of record and then has to massage or manipulate it to ensure it can be effectively communicated to others. 


Just typing that sentence was exhausting.


I’d like you to take a moment and ask the following questions of your organization:

  • How much time do you or someone in your organization spend preparing data for a structured reporting process like Monthly or Weekly Reports?
  • How old is that information once it is available to be communicated out to a broader audience?
  • How often and time consuming is the communication of results from your Reports?
  • How much flexibility do the recipients of that information have to ask questions of it? or worse, is the information static?


Too often, the answer I get to questions like these are along the lines of: “We have more than one person spending several hours a month preparing data and then delivering a static PowerPoint or PDF to stakeholders, which ultimately results in follow up calls for more information, additional data work, and delayed reaction time to real business opportunities”.


To paraphrase the great John Lennon:

Opportunity is what happens when we are busy preparing data.


What would be the impact to your business if you could reapply all the time that is spent preparing data to actually analyzing it, identifying the areas of opportunity and then innovating and improving based on the insights?


Isn’t that why we embark on analytics efforts in the first place?


Automation of the data preparation for analytics, including your more structured analytics like Weekly and Monthly Reports, is one of the many benefits of an embedded analytics engine like ServiceNow Performance Analytics.


Some additional benefits include:

  • Improved data integrity – more trust in the data results in higher stakeholder adoption and usage of the analytic results
  • Elimination of data latency – moving from Monthly or Weekly cadence where you are making reactive decisions only 12 or at best 52 times a year to more proactive environment when you are making decisions based on data that is readily available in real time
  • Increased flexibility to ask follow up questions – moving from static documents to online interactive content puts the power to ask follow up questions in the hands of the decision makers and subject matter experts rather than relying on the analyst.


Automating the data preparation process and creating an interactive approach to communicating information within an organization are critical components to becoming a more proactive and responsive organization.


Eliminate “Monthly Reports” from the list of the “Things we spend a disproportionate amount of time preparing for” and move it to “Something that happens while we are acting on insights”. 


That is a more valuable and a winning answer.



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