How to Customize Budgeting Reports: Part 1

This article describes the benefits of using “playlists” for budgeting.

 

Imagine how challenging reading a book with the chapters out of order would be. Whereas reading a properly organized book gives a much higher understanding of the subject matter. Setting up your Business Intelligence (BI) solution with folders or “playlists,” sometimes referred to as “storyboards,” can organize reports and dashboards into a structured analysis. Putting thought into the order of content in analysis can play a huge role in a company’s ability to make world-class decisions. Without this structure, a company with hundreds of reports from different systems will struggle with analysis. This hardly empowers the average BI user.

Ideally, employees can access a single web portal with organized playlists. The playlists can start with big-picture items, then reports and dashboards with specific focus areas. Below is an example of how a “playlist” can enable faster and better decision-making.

 

A “Corporate Playlist” can be organized with reports and dashboards in this order:

1. Exception Report

This report quickly presents any business issue as represented by a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) by only showing KPIs where a given threshold is breached.  The BI solution could then distribute an “alert report,” saving users from repeatedly log in to a system in order to find exceptions.

2. KPI Report

This report provides a structured list of all the KPIs for a business unit. One can easily monitor these metrics with the option of diving into any KPI of interest for further analysis. There should also be a comment feature so the user can notes for their peers.

3. Dashboard for KPI 1

This first dashboard follows the KPI report. The goal is to show graphical analysis with comparative and trend analysis for the first KPI (KPI 1) in the KPI report.

4. Financial Statement or Operational Report for KPI 1

This would be the first detailed report, such as a financial statement or a sales report. The goal of the report is to provide numerical analysis for the first KPI 1, with drill down to underlying transactions.

5. Dashboard for KPI 2

This second dashboard follows the KPI report, and the goal is to show graphical analysis with comparative and trend analysis for KPI 2 in the KPI report.

6. Financial statement or Operational Report for KPI 2

This would be the second detailed report, such as a financial statement or a sales report. The goal of the report is to provide numerical analysis for KPI 2, with drill down to the underlying transactions.

7. Dashboard for KPI 3 (and so on)

This third dashboard follows the KPI report. The goal is to show graphical analysis with comparative and trend analysis for KPI 3 in the KPI report (see above).

8. Financial Statement or Operational Report for KPI 3 (and so on)

This would be the third detailed report, such as a financial statement or a sales report. The goal of the report is to provide numerical analysis for KPI 3, with drill down to the underlying transactions. Here in an example of a BI portal with reports and dashboards organized similarly to how it is described above:

Of course, a user should be able to navigate the BI portal based on their ad-hoc analysis needs without following the suggested structure above.

If used to its fullest potential, a reporting and analysis tool can automate busy work and present clear information for fast decision-making. The use of reporting playlists, for example, maximizes the functionality of a sophisticated BI tool. The playlist above describes a tangible application of reporting playlists and hopefully inspires other ideas of how your organization can use them. If you need assistance or help, Solver has a team of experienced professionals that can get your organization started in building the right template for you.

Solver enables world-class decisions with BI360, leading web-based CPM suite made up of budgeting, reporting, dashboards, and data warehousing, delivered through a web portal. Solver is reinventing CPM with its next generation solution. BI360 empowers business users with modern features including innovative use of Excel in the model design process. If you’re interested in learning more, our team is excited to hear about your organizational needs and goals.

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