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Moving from Ad-hoc Reporting to Management Dashboards

by Chris Shaw

Most housing providers hold high volumes of information, but due to ad hoc reporting methods, obtaining value from this data often proves to be a challenge.

Having a system in place that includes the use of management dashboards enables the meaningful collation of data, which is key in maintaining compliance, improving service speed, quality and managing costs.

The Challenge

Ad hoc reporting requires high levels of involvement from staff members in order to produce a meaningful report. While this may be necessary for specific one-off reports, manually pulling together information from different systems and databases can become laborious when using this method for regular reporting

Service provision is hugely complex for housing providers, and is constantly changing - meaning that an integrated, responsive approach needs to be implemented to improve efficiencies and offer more accurate and up-to-date reports in a simple to understand format.

The Solution

When it comes to monthly, weekly or even daily reports, eliminating the need to search through housing management, compliance and service databases for the information you need can save significant amounts of time.

Data Warehouse Diagram

Management dashboards present the most important information required for a specific business area on a single screen, designed for 'at-a-glance' monitoring and decision making.

Dashboards can be set up for each key area of the business, such as service and compliance, and will automatically pull together the required information from your various systems and databases with little to no manual input beyond the initial setup.

A top level overview will be given, with the ability to drill down into the detail where needed, enabling the easy monitoring of metrics and KPIs. And because dashboards present data in real time, your team are able to immediately gain sight over the current status of the business, without being required to wait for reports to be produced manually (which can take hours or even days) if the information is needed urgently.

Further to this, having management dashboards in place enables the monitoring of 3rd party suppliers' performance and provides improved availability of data for regulators, minimising the time and cost involved in preparing for audits. And for key areas of compliance, alerts can be added to flag up problems before they become too serious, as well as to aid with maintenance and resource planning.

Interdepartmental communication can also be enhanced through the use of dashboards. Staff can be granted access to relevant dashboards to increase visibility of key information and transparency across the organisation, while also linking to data from field staff (such as maintenance staff) for live updates on the status of different assets.

While implementing a new system and reporting strategy may seem costly initially, the business will benefit from the time saving of reduced hours spent manually gathering, collating and interpreting data and financial saving accrued by quicker, more efficient actions.

Implementation

In order to effectively make the move from ad hoc reporting to management dashboards, correct implementation is essential.

Management dashboards should be easily accessible to all members of staff who use them, whether this is through a cloud hosted platform or server based. Systems should be easy to use on a range of devices (such as desktop computers and mobile phones) so that information can be input and accessed quickly by both office based and field based staff.

It is also vital that prior to the setup of your dashboards, the requirements are clearly defined. Making sure that you know who will be using each dashboard, the type of the data they will need and which key metrics to display is essential to ensure your dashboards are useful. Taking into consideration the most effective way to visualise each section and the alerts that need to be applied will make certain they are put to good use from the offset to improve efficiency.

Thorough testing also needs to be carried out prior to a full rollout to ensure a smooth switchover from manual reporting. Working with an independent IT specialist who has a deep understanding of the software available will ensure that the system you implement is the most appropriate option for your business, is set up properly and tested effectively. They will also assist with the company-wide switchover to help you avoid any unexpected challenges.

Shaw Consulting are specialists in IT consultancy for the social housing and care sectors. We operate completely independently from suppliers, meaning that we will work with your internal teams to identify and implement the tools that are the best option for your business.

If you have an upcoming project you would like to discuss, please contact us via the website or request a Skype call and our expert consultants will be happy to help.

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