Monday, December 3, 2007

Management reporting in the developing countries

In the developing countries, the usages of computerized database management software are increasing in every day corporate life. More and more companies are trying to manage their data electronically. MRP, MRP II, ERP, etc… are the buzzword in the corporate circle of the developing countries. With the introduction of these applications, the amount of information available for analysis is growing exponentially but what is not growing is the style of reporting and we are still using the old “static” style of reporting i.e. somebody (typically an IT person) develop the reports and these reports are presented to the top management for review and decision making. Even if the reporting is available “online” the kind of reports available still depends on the capability of your technical staff. So if he/she e.g. understands marketing then he/she can give something which can be close to what the marketing team is expecting and if he/she does not understand marketing then… good luck!

What is missing is that the functional departments like Finance, Marketing, Human Resources, etc… are keeping the reporting at a safe distance. They don’t want to involve themselves in reporting as they think it’s not their job and someone in the IT department should be doing this. But they should realize that it’s their data and they are the one who should have the first right to dice and slice the information. Now days the reporting software are so user friendly that you don’t even have to acquire formal training to use them and there is so much help available on the internet in the form of articles, tutorials and forums that you can even surprise your own IT department (because these are the sources from which they are getting the information). Of course you would need the support from the top management otherwise all your efforts could go in vain. The top management should also realize that they need to arm their front line resources with the tools to support proactive decision making.