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Self-service reporting is the biggest management information challenge

self-service reporting biggest challengeOur global survey of over 10,000 senior decision makers reveals what businesses really want from Business Intelligence and analytics. Access to self-service reporting was found to be the biggest management challenge these respondents faced.

The survey

A new 12 month long study of over 10,000 business managers and senior decision makers across 150 countries and 18 sectors, has revealed the ability to carry out self-service reporting is the single biggest management information challenge they’re facing today. This is followed closely by the ability to pull together and analyse information from diverse business systems—multiple ERP systems, databases and line-of-business systems.

The cross-functional and cross-industry survey, conducted by cloud business intelligence provider Matillion, was conducted over a 12 month period between January and December 2014. The aim? To find the answer to one question; “What is your biggest management information challenge?”

 

The full survey can be accessed by here, or by clicking on the image below:

management information challenge self-service reporting

Whitepaper: What businesses really want from Business Intelligence and Analytics

The sample

A sample size of 10,857 participants is clearly statistically significant. Moreover, it can be considered representative of the broader business world, both in terms of geographic reach and functional responsibilities, with respondents stretching across a diverse set of industries, and right across finance, IT, and line-of-business functions. Specifically:

  • 2,130 respondents were finance department professionals, including 1,161 CFOs.
  • 1,972 were IT professionals, including 810 senior decision makers (CIOs and IT Managers).
  • 2,455 were senior business and line-of-business executives, including 1,217 CEOs.
  • 1,328 were business analysts.

In addition, respondents were drawn from over 150 countries, with the majority coming from the United States, the UK, Western Europe and Asia. Industry representation was equally diverse, with the survey embracing 18 different industry sectors, ranging from manufacturing, logistics and retail, to telecommunications, construction, and healthcare.

The findings

By a considerable margin, the most frequently-cited management information challenge reported by respondents was ‘delivering self-service reporting and analysis’, with 35.8% of respondents naming this as the most pressing issue they face.

 

self-service-reporting-management-information-challenge

Self-service reporting was found to be the biggest management information challenge

 

In second place, with 27.4% of respondents stating, ‘reporting and analysing across multiple systems’, as their biggest challenge reflecting the difficulties that businesses face when trying to collate together a ‘single version of the truth’ from across multiple data sources and systems.

Two further challenges—‘unlocking data buried in systems’ and ‘reducing the cost of producing reports’— also featured relatively strongly, with the former seen as the biggest challenge by 16.0% of respondents, and the latter by 8.6% of respondents.

What does this show?

The results show companies see the importance of data in gaining an edge in an increasingly competitive environment but reveal frustration amongst executives; suggesting their existing management reporting systems aren’t delivering the functionality they really need. Added to this, the findings reveal the more senior the job role of the individual respondent, the more likely they were to regard the ability to carry out self-service reporting and analysis as their major challenge.

Matthew Scullion, Managing Director at Matillion, said: “A third of all our respondents cite delivering self-service reporting as their biggest management information challenge. Almost another third tell us they simply want to be able to report across multiple systems. This tallies with what we hear every day from customers on the ground. Clearly many businesses don’t have this capability already, which we believe is due to the cost and complexity of traditional Business Intelligence systems. That’s why so many rely on manually produced spreadsheets for management information”

“What real businesses really want from Business Intelligence isn’t at the ‘high end, hi-tech, hype’ end of the spectrum, but is instead much more prosaic: self-serve reporting and analytics, ideally coupled to the ability to pull together and analyse information drawn from multiple systems.”

Matthew Scullion concludes: “For all the talk of Big Data, Mobile BI, Predictive Analytics and Data Visualisation, the evidence is that the real management information needs of most executives are far more down-to-earth: fast, easy, self-service access to data—for the people that need it, and from whichever data sources are relevant.”

To access the full whitepaper, which includes further geographical and functional role analysis, click on the link below.

management reporting challenges whitepaper download