With 2016 just a few months old, I’ve been reflecting on just how fast our world keeps moving. I think all of us recognize that the pace keeps accelerating, and we must find ways to work more quickly, both as individuals and in teams, to make the best decisions. I’d like to share a business leadership tip with our Workday customers about some of my favorite tools for using data to help meet these goals.
They’re called dashboards, and they come built into your Workday applications. Maybe you’re aware of them but haven’t started utilizing dashboards. If so, it’s a missed opportunity, and here’s why: Every day, dashboards are helping my colleagues and I make better decisions for our business.
When I meet with our CHRO, we’re not pulling up spreadsheets and trying to reconcile why my headcount numbers are different from hers.
I use dashboards in Workday Financial Management to instantly see critical information such as financial spend versus budget, and progress toward monthly and quarterly cash collection goals. The sooner I can identify any issues with these key business metrics, the faster I can act on them. There are pre-built dashboard templates for auditing, competitive benchmarking, profitability, revenue metrics, sales performance, and more on the financials side, and templates for Workday Human Capital Management, too.
Dashboards help us better collaborate across teams. When I meet with our CHRO Ashley Goldsmith, we’re not pulling up spreadsheets and trying to reconcile why my headcount numbers are different from hers, since we’re using the same financials and human resources data. We can spend our time discussing how to solve challenges and meet goals rather than wasting time trying to agree on the facts.
There’s tremendous value in giving managers and executives the tools to track and make sense of real-time data for making everyday decisions.
So where do you begin? It doesn’t have to be a big initiative—you can start with bite-sized morsels and grow over time. I would recommend identifying three to five key metrics that drive your company goals. For example, two-thirds of our costs are people costs, so one of our key focus areas is headcount compared with hiring plans. Like most companies, we also focus closely on cash flows. Identifying key metrics that have meaning across the company helps get everyone focused on the right things.
Once you have those metrics you can determine which template to use, or configure your own dashboard. If you decide to configure, find individuals in the organization who would enjoy creating them. One of my most useful dashboards was created by someone on my team who took it on because he thought it was a fun, interesting project.
As business leaders everywhere look ahead to the rest of 2016, they are taking time to analyze data so they can prioritize where to focus their energies and resources. Long-term planning is very important, but I would argue there’s tremendous value in giving managers and executives the tools to track and make sense of real-time data for making everyday decisions. After all, it’s the results of our day-to-day decisions that determine how well we’ve set up our organizations for future success.