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The journey from data to dashboard… using actionable insights to drive informed decisions Sam Wilson, UK Country Manager at Serviceware

Over the past few years, digital transformation initiatives have increased significantly; for most businesses change became a necessity rather than a ‘nice to have’. In fact, digital transformation has reached a clear and distinct tipping point – it has become increasingly apparent that those who do not invest in a digital future will be left behind.

However, success is increasingly challenging where there is an absence of a robust data governance programme. With businesses capturing large volumes of information, there’s a need to leverage this data in order to maximize value, reduce cost and manage risks. But a traditional one-size-fits-all approach to data and analytics governance simply won’t cut it in terms of delivering the value, scale and speed that businesses demand. This can lead to poor decision making and ultimately impact business growth in the long-term.

Quite often, companies are surrounded by data but starved of business intelligence and actionable insights that can deliver a better understanding of customer behaviour to improve business outcomes. Gartner analysts estimate that by 2025, 80% of organizations seeking to scale digital business will fail because they avoid taking a modern approach to data governance.

So, how can companies easily monitor costs and prove the value of IT initiatives across the business? And how can all this data be bundled and presented in meaningful reports to enable business leaders to make informed decisions?

The value of data preparation for businesses

Business intelligence and analytics no longer benefit only the larger enterprise. Companies across all sectors and sizes are now realizing the transformational advantages of collecting, analyzing and integrating data insights. Careful and comprehensive data preparation ensures business leaders to understand insights to better interrogate their data and, most importantly, to understand IT costs.

Luckily, IT Financial Management (ITFM) solutions help organizations understand, manage, and gain insight into the costs of delivering IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS), as well as enabling accurate alignment of costs to business units. IT and service managers look at this holistically to derive an overall view of IT costs. However, there are different stakeholders within any organization who require very specific information or perspectives on the overall ITFM business model. CIOs want to know how their digital transformation is going overall whilst CFOs care about financial metrics, and where the revenues are around the services. With data governance, business leaders are able to consume data in an actionable format, and various departments such as product teams, marketing, and customer support are empowered to use the data in a tailored way to make informed business decisions.

Reports are an aggregation of all the ITFM data with filtering options to keep it simple and easily accessible. ITFM reports make the information understandable by combining all the data sources together. Complex data preparation and report configuration is a process that takes time as it quite often requires retrieving information from multiple data sources and systems to create meaningful insights. An analytics dashboard allows companies to see a general or detailed overview of their performance. This tool is used to visually track, analyze, and display key performance indicators (KPIs), metrics and key data points to monitor the health of a business, department or specific process. However, it’s important to remember that a pretty dashboard doesn’t necessarily make for a good report. Insights and results are more important than the overall look-and-feel of a report.

Tailored reports for individual needs

A platform that provides high quality data transformation functionality doesn’t have to be complicated. Most businesses use multiple services to track KPIs and metrics, which consumes valuable time and resources to both monitor and analyze data from disparate sources. It’s important that there’s a certain level of customization to provide businesses, and the various stakeholders within the organization, with the insights they need. The best analysis tools on the market can bring together the required data from various internal and external sources in one place. Analytics tools such as Microsoft Power BI help combine both dashboarding and reporting. Company data from disconnected sources can be quickly summarized, evaluated, attractively visualized in dashboards and the results can then be easily shared with others.

Business intelligence for the big data generation

In an era of big data, powerful analysis tools are a must. There’s no question that being data-driven continues to become an essential component of business innovation driving future growth. ​​According to a survey by International Data Corporation (IDC) on behalf of Sisense, 66% of business leaders said the ability to deeply embed analytics into applications and processes was very or extremely important to them.

Today every business can collect masses of data from multiple channels, but the challenge can often be future proofing the business and managing the exponential growth of data generated. A great ITFM solution has all the data at its disposable to answer questions and provide information about transformation, digitization and cloud strategy from any stakeholder or target group in the board meeting. It’s important that organizations are not only able to create reports from their ITFM data, but also to bring in valuable data from other internal systems like HR, for example. The combination of an ITFM framework and also BI tools can help businesses define their own transformational targets or key metrics.

For more information about integrated business analytics and customized out-of-the-box reporting, please download the full whitepaper here.

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