Management information challenges: A functional role perspective

  • Richard Thelwell
  • March 9, 2015

management information challenges job functionWhen it comes to enterprise reporting, different sectors of the business often have a very different set of priorities. It is therefore no surprise to see that when we asked the question “What is your biggest management information challenge?”, responses varied significantly across job functions.

We recently conducted a survey of over 10,000 business managers and senior executives. This cross-functional and cross-geographical study aimed to outline the issues such people have when it comes to creating reports by asking the question, “What is your biggest management information challenge?”

Overall, there was a very clear outcome, with “Delivering self-service reporting/ analysis” found to be the biggest challenge by a considerable margin. 35.8% of respondents named this as the most pressing management information challenge they faced.

But this does not paint the full picture. When we drilled down further into this data, we found that there were some interesting results from a functional role perspective.

The list of management information challenges, broken down by job function, can be found in the figure below.


CEO/ Managing Director

management information challenges cfoThe overall results of the survey found that the single biggest management information challenge was “Delivering self-service reporting/ analysis” with 35.8% of total respondents listing this as their top concern.

When broken down by functional job role, the group with the highest percentage of respondents listing this as their biggest challenge were CEOs/ Managing Directors. Over 40% saw “Delivering self-service reporting/ analysis” as the biggest challenge in their organisation.

This observation matched a general trend across the board when it came to the seniority of respondents. Put simply, the more senior a respondent’s role, the more likely they were to see “Delivering self-service reporting/ analysis” as their organisation’s most significant management information challenge.

CFO/ Finance Director

management information challenges cfoAnother group for whom “Delivering self-service reporting/ analysis” was clearly a top concern, were CFOs/ Finance Directors. Over 39% of respondents listed this as their biggest information management challenge – the second highest across all job functions.

Self-service reporting allows users access to data and gives them the ability to create reports without the prerequisite of extensive technical skills. This can alleviate pressure on IT departments, and reduce bottlenecks in the reporting process, both of which factors can save the business a lot of time and money.

With these cost savings in mind, it is no surprise that access to self-service reporting tools is such as a major concern for this sector of the business.

CIOs/ IT Directors

management information challenges CIOCIO and IT Directors are amongst the most important individuals within an organisation when it comes to management reporting, so it is interesting to ascertain their top concerns in this area.

Consistent with the overall findings, the ability to deliver self-service reporting/ analysis was found to be the biggest challenge for this group.

However, there were some interesting findings across the other challenges listed, with “Reducing the cost of producing reports” ranking particularly highly when compared with other job functions.

IT Managers

management information challenges IT ManagerAmong IT managers, it is not surprising that interest in “Freeing up IT resource from reporting/analytics” was extremely high relative to other functional job roles. Some 12.6% of IT managers cited it as their biggest challenge, a level more the double average response.

With traditional business intelligence, reporting is often a complex process, and only a few individuals within the business have the necessary skills to manipulate data and create reports. The brunt of this work typically falls to the IT department and this can quickly cause bottlenecks to form around these individuals.

In SMEs, this can cause a huge drain on IT resources and detract attention away from other, more important, tasks that IT staff may have. It would therefore be in the best interest of IT managers to find a way to alleviate this pressure on their department by improving reporting across the business.

IT Programmers/ Technicians

management information challenges IT programmer technicianThe results show that the group least likely to express the view that “Delivering self-service reporting/ analysis” was their organisation’s biggest management information challenge were IT programmers/ technicians.

With 31.32% of respondents from this category listing it as their biggest challenge, it still constituted their biggest concern, but this figure was some way below the average for the total response base.

This group were found to express concerns over a range of management information challenges and again, unsurprisingly, freeing up IT resource ranked very highly amongst these.

Other Senior Executives/ Directors

management information challenges other senior executives“Unlocking data buried in systems” was found to be the third biggest management information challenge overall, and amongst those expressing a strong interest in this area were “Other Senior Executives and Directors”. With 19.31% of this category listing it as their biggest challenge, this was the highest percentage across any job function.

Arguably best-placed to see and understand the value in unlocking buried data, such senior people perceive the prospect of a return that is more compelling than the one on offer through, say, rolling out business intelligence on mobile devices.

To view the complete results of our survey, including responses from over 10,000 senior executives and decision makers, click on the link below.

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