Strategic planning is a key tool for running an effective local government. When done correctly, it turns today’s vision into tomorrow’s reality. But in order to meet the goals in the plan efficiently, local governments need a management reporting system to help them implement the plan. A good reporting system is the foundation for successful strategy execution.
What is a management reporting system? It’s a structured and scheduled set of reports designed for specific stakeholders that allows the organization to track performance, identify trends, analyze data and align performance to overall goals.
It’s important to understand what makes a “good” management reporting system, because let’s be frank – not all reporting systems are created equal. A good reporting system has several key properties: it is timely, clear, relevant, easily-accessed and has the capability of running automated reports. When those criteria are met, the reporting system provides the data to identify non-performing areas and leads to the following benefits:
1. Increase communication
When senior management and employees are sharing the same information, there is better communication between them to identify problem areas and find mutually agreeable solutions. In addition, local governments are able to share statistics and progress reports with council members and the community. This is one of the most important benefits, because having the data readily available and clearly communicating it builds trust in the organization.
2. Improves productivity, accuracy and timeliness
A good management reporting system not only promotes cross-functional cooperation across departments, but also helps decrease any duplicate efforts among team members. Automated reports also save employees countless hours of sifting through mounds of paperwork in search for data and results. Employees are more productive because they don't have to spend time gathering the data that management wants, allowing them to tackle other items on their to-do list.
3. Improves decision-making and efficiency within organization
Without an effective, functional management reporting system, managers are often relying on their experience alone and employees don’t have a clear sense of direction. Better availability of information reduces uncertainty and lets managers make decisions based on reliable data.
4. Identifying potential problems early, when you still have time to act on them
A good reporting system serves as a preventative measure, designed to help management achieve maximum effectiveness before a program or project reaches crisis level. Management is also able to explore various alternatives and analyze the possible results before making decisions and commitments.
5. Cost efficiency
This is the most tangible benefit of all as it can mean decreased costs and increased revenue. Having the data at your fingertips allows managers to be better equipped to switch gears if necessary and respond to changing business environments faster. Simply put, slashing budgets is no longer effective unless there is data behind that decision.
6. Customer focus
Customers and stakeholders want to know what is being done and if their issues and concerns are being heard. With more data about the needs of customers, management is better able to improve customer service and design better service delivery systems. Automated reports also make it quick and easy to generate quarterly and annual reports for your customers.
A management reporting system is essential for any local government that is serious about improving the performance of their organization. Without a good management reporting system, managers are often using a trial-and-error approach, rather than making sound decisions based on thoughtful analysis of data.
Envisio’s management reporting system has helped cities like The City of Goodyear, Arizona achieve success in implementing their strategic plan. According to Goodyear staff, Envisio “takes the outstanding work of [their] individual departments and aligns them to paint a picture of the whole city’s performance.”
If your organization could benefit from any or all of the key benefits mentioned above, take advantage of Envisio’s strategic planning and reporting software, which delivers a full set of tools and services that will help streamline your workflow and improve performance.