You can only manage what you can measure – Peter Drucker

At company A they initially had no reports on call stats for their telesales reps. And sales people were consistently missing their goals. They finally implemented call reporting and found most reps were spending ½ hour making calls each day (and another 3 hours calling family & friends). With the new daily reports they were able to turn that around to have reps on the phone half the day – and thereby making quota. That delay for 6 months turned 2 quarters that should have been profitable into a loss. The delay was because the I.T. group was so backed up it took 6 months to get to this request.

At company B they had great reporting on overall spends for online marketing and total sales. But it did not break it down by product line. After a year they were finally able to get the detailed reporting that tied spending by product line against products. And they found that 20% of their marketing was spending more than the products were bringing in in sales. The other 80% was profitable enough that it had hidden this loss. But 20% of their marketing expense was completely wasted. The delay was because the marketing group struggled with exactly what they needed from reporting and how to explain that to the I.T. group.

At company C they needed to add information to their health insurance reporting as required by the new healthcare law. Because of the complexity of their reporting system and the backlog of urgently required reports, they had to hire very expensive outside consultants to revise their reports.

Most managers ask the question, is our reporting software capable of delivering the reports we need. But usually that’s the wrong question. The question for most companies is “with our resources and needs, can we quickly create & revise the reports we need.” You need to use reporting software that, with the staff you have, can deliver the reports you need – quickly.

A great place to start looking is the website Reporting Software – Comparisons & Reviews of Reporting Tools. This provides a good picture of all of the reporting packages available. From that you can then dive into the 2 or 3 that are the best fit for your needs. As you do so, keep in mind not just can the system being evaluated produce the reports you want, but more importantly, can your staff use that system to create & revise all the reports you need quickly.

ps – One reporting system that jumps out in terms of enabling people, including business users, to quickly create and design reports is Windward Reporting Software. Windward is a revolutionary improvement in reporting technology. You design reports in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Report design, formatting, and layout are all performed using the most sophisticated, powerful, and easy to use tools available. So you already know how to use it.