Last week, I had the pleasure of attending one of my customer’s internal strategy planning meetings.
Leaders from a few different IT groups had come together to talk about how to streamline their operations over the coming year, sharing successes and strategies.
Explore Analytics was being featured as one of the solutions that had freed up time and brought agility to decision-making.
In order to demonstrate the value and efficiency Explore Analytics delivered, we focused on just one report that Explore Analytics replaced.
The True Cost of Relying on Excel
The following chart shows the Explore Analytics report that was previously done using Excel:
The spreadsheet replaced by the report above was an important decision-making report using data dumped out of SAP.
The report shows the average length of time that a scheduled job within SAP takes to run, and it’s an important indicator on whether or not SAP is running into performance issues.
Before Explore Analytics, the customer needed to dump the relevant information into an Excel spreadsheet to generate the report manually.
Because this was being done in Excel, it had to be done by hand every day.
I asked his manager, “What happens when he’s on vacation?” and the answer was: “We don’t get the report.”
This report was a crucial report — in the sample above, you can see that the job time spikes later in the week, indicating a serious problem that needed to be addressed.
With a manual report, run once a day, this insight could come delayed or not at all, depending on the availability of the human manually running the report.
Are You Held Hostage to Excel Spreadsheets?
This is just one Excel report. This customer now has nearly 1500 reports and counting; many of which were also laborious manual reports needed for crucial insights.
The reason this report was the subject of discussion of the process improvement summit was because this report was not an outlier.
Rather, this report is typical of how problems get solved in IT — with an Excel stop-gap report that sadly becomes a routine, manual process.
Every organization I come across is suffering from the same problem — time being wasted by manual reports and Excel workarounds to fill in gaps in existing reporting.
Ask your team. Are any of them spending time on excel spreadsheets for reports? You may be shocked to find out how much time your team is spending on these manual efforts.
Get Better Visibility
Explore Analytics provides a better alternative, for a few reasons:
- Automate your reports; Reports only need to be built once, so manual effort is never needed again to get the same insight. Spend your time elsewhere!
- Get your reports live; In the example above, the manual version of the report would only be accessible once daily. If problems began at the beginning of the day, they wouldn’t be seen until late in the afternoon. Live reports give you insights when you need them, not just when people have time to build them.
- Connect to data and build reports easily; Many organizations think they have the reporting tools to solve these problems. But when they require advanced integrations, knowledge of coding or SQL, and other time and labor intensive efforts, they are throwing too many barriers up to letting your team build reports. Instead, your team will fall back on Excel, thinking they’re saving time. With Explore Analytics, you don’t need to waste time on the technical side — get it done in minutes!
Take a few minutes this week to ask your team and see — are they spending time building reports manually? Are your key reports based on one-time or scheduled dumps of data? Is it dragging your team down?
If so, give Explore Analytics a try, and free up your team today!