Creating reports for the top management is not an easy task by any stretch. Every report needs to be on point, every time. But despite the best efforts of the professionals involved in the task of creating reports for the C-suite, the reports do not fulfill their purpose of being useful to the top management when they want to intake information, analyze it, and make suitable decisions on its basis.
So, in order to prepare excellent reports that meet top management expectations (and might get you a promotion or two), we must first ask: What does the top management expect in terms of reports? Here are 5 common expectations and the solutions to them:
Expectation 1 - Management expects a management report, not a financial report
Among the prime differences between a financial report and a management report is that financial reports are mandatorily created for legal purposes while management reports serve a specific audience’s specific requirements. Managerial reports are people-oriented, and you need to make them so. They are not there to provide an account of the company’s activities, they are there to help people arrive at decisions
Solution - Distinguish managerial reports from financial reports by adding relevant KPIs and keeping the report clear and concise. One way of doing it is to add language-based insights to the reports to provide all information in a capsule format. Language-based insights are far easier to digest than complex visualizations which occupy unnecessary mental space of management. Tools like Phrazor also generate automated reports that cover a vast set of KPIs through the wizard feature.
Expectation 2 - Management wants conclusions, not a backstory
Many reports dwell too much on past activities rather than having a forward-looking, decision-oriented approach. As comfortable as jotting down already occurred events is, the upper management is looking for how they could possibly experiment in the future. After all, they didn’t get there by choosing comfort.
Solution - Keep your presentation result-oriented. Only share information that is useful. Focus on performance-driving KPIs. Augmented analytics tools identify hidden insights from within the data and present them in the form of actionable insights. These insights are improbable to detect in manual analysis and are thus all the more valuable. Not ignoring the importance of context at all, some of these tools also add the reasoning process it followed to generate these actionable insights. In fact, Phrazor received a patent for explaining the underlying reasoning processes it made while making decisions after analyzing live data, among other things.
Expectation 3 - Management expects everything in their reports
What we mean by this is that the management wants an overview of all internal and external factors. At the same time, they demand an in-depth understanding of any particular factor they deem important. They are ‘in the zone’, so to speak, and require immediate answers and information.
Solution - Reports should be able to provide both. Starting with an overview, the reports should possess an inbuilt capability to delve into the finer details as and when required. The data needs to be drillable. Phrazor provides deep drill-down advantages, where one can literally track a product from a continent right down to its Order ID, for example. The second benefit is the Ask Phrazor functionality through which immediate answers can be obtained via live querying of data.
Expectation 4 - Managements wants fast and cost-effective reporting
There needs to be no additional emphasis on the importance of speed and cost to an organization. The problem lies when, despite knowing this, reports take awfully to be created. The investment into these creations is also significant, and oftentimes unsatisfactory to the powers that be.
Solution - Instantaneous and personalized reporting from Phrazor helps create thousands of reports in seconds, each of which is highly personalized in nature. The machine speed at which Phrazor generates these reports solves the speed issue. Organizations need not have a large team of data experts/analysts to create reports anymore; Phrazor would work just as qualitatively, at a more cost-effective scale.
Expectation 5 - Management wants a data narrative (hidden expectation)
The top management is a group of highly skilled and experienced individuals. However, it needs to be noted that they are excellent people managers, in that they deal with many individuals on a daily basis and coordinate most efficiently with them on the professional front. The mistake that most report creators make is assuming that such people are purely logic-driven. When management fails to engage, to connect with the data, the report fails to push the desired conclusion in a convincing manner.
Solution - Data storytelling merges data, visualizations, and language to create an experience instead of a robotic presentation. This type of reporting appeals to the acute faculties of the senior level, from both the logical and non-logical perspectives. Such an experience is only possible when you have language to accompany your visuals and powerful, actionable insights that conclude the experience meaningfully.
Phrazor provides all of these solutions and more. You can try Phrazor for free or request a no-obligation demo with our industry experts.
Akanksha Ramchandani has worked in IT industry as Developer, Project Lead, Strategy Lead, and Solutions Consultant for over a decade. She understands the requirement and problems of the clients and delivers a tailor-made solution. Currently, she is looking to help fortune 500 companies in changing the way they look at data and automating their reporting by using vPhrase's AI product.