Russ Budden, E-Tabs Client Consultant, asks if its time to change?
A New Year brings with it a desire to reflect on the year that was and look forward to the year ahead – making and breaking resolutions, starting new initiatives and changing the old for the new.
The word ‘change’ is often met with trepidation, as it is often commented that people fear change. However, in business the only way a company can continue to thrive and not remain static is a continual desire to review and improve – whether that be an improvement on their offering to their clients, an improvement in team morale, or improving the way they work.
In terms of reporting, you may go through exactly the same process for delivery of every report produced – you may go into field with a project, when fieldwork has finished your DP team will get the data tables generated and then your team will sit down and manually create the presentation. Although this may be the way that it is ‘always done,’ is that way the most efficient use of your time? Just because it is the norm, does that make it the ‘best’ way?
The process of report automation brings with it many benefits, however in the initial stages it does pose many challenges; perhaps most significantly is an openness to changing current internal processes. Through countless prospect conversations, I am often met with this objection when discussing report automation – in that, it would be a massive step-change for the way we work and therefore not something they would be interested in. However, would this change to the way they work be a benefit in the long-term?
The only way to truly assess this is to breakdown and quantify the amount of time the process takes. It is important not to treat each project in isolation, but as a collective. For example, if one report takes a research executive two hours a week to produce manually, that extrapolated across a year would equal almost three working weeks, charting just that single project; that’s not including the analysis or subsequent deep-diving. If the team has several of these types of projects running throughout the year, it would be reasonable to assume a few months a year in total is dedicated just to charting. Report automation would drastically reduce this to just a few days a year, rather than a few months.
The incorporation of report automation means the time spent manually charting a report can be reallocated – perhaps into more deep-dive analysis into the report itself. It is often the case that companies are not totally aware of how much time is spent manually creating their reports. An exercise I often do with my prospects is quantify exactly how much time is spent on this stage of the process. More often than not this comes as a surprise to them and adds further justification behind the need to change their processes.
Through my years of consulting, I’ve seen numerous instances where a client was hesitant to change their internal processes, however once new processes were implemented it dramatically improved the efficiency of their reporting delivery – in some cases it was as a result of using our software and in other occasions our charting service.
Make your New Year resolution to not be fearful of change and the benefits it can bring. Reassess how you’re currently producing your reports, and whether you could benefit from report automation. I’d be more than happy to chat to you and see how we can improve together.
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