Our last post discussed the value of a data inventory – a list of all data sources throughout your organization. A data inventory is one of the first and most critical steps towards developing a long-term business intelligence strategy and roadmap. The next key discovery document we will discuss is the “Report Inventory” and why this document is critical to both long-term and short-term BI success.

What is a Report Inventory

Similar to a data inventory in some aspects, a report inventory is a listing of all of your recurring reports compiled throughout the organization. For example, lending typically has a host of monthly reports ranging from basic pipeline reports to delinquency and charge-off reports. Operations will pull a host of reports about their ACH transactions, debit and credit processing, ATM terminal volumes and several others. If you take a deep dive throughout your organization, I am sure that you will be amazed by how many reports are compiled on a recurring basis (typically monthly).

A report inventory collects some high level information about each of these recurring reports. We are interested in a description of the report, the rate of recurrence of the report, the creator of the report, the recipient of the report, and the estimated number of hours (on a monthly basis) that is required to compile the report. I have included a Sample Report Inventory template that you can use in your organization if you wish.

Report Inventory Screenshot

Why create a report inventory?

The biggest question you probably still have is why do I need a report inventory? What is the value?

What a report inventory tends to do is identify areas of significant manual effort in accessing and compiling data. A key component of business intelligence that people tend to overlook is the automation of key reporting and business processes. A report inventory helps us identify areas that spend a significant amount of manual effort and time compiling recurring reports. By estimating the amount of time that is spent, we are able to prioritize our automation efforts which can drastically reduce your organization’s total time spent creating reports.

Automating one report here and there might make a small impact but isn’t the type of impact we are shooting for. By using this report inventory, we can systematically identify ways to save your organization hundreds or thousands of hours. By understanding what data sources these reports typically access (which we would have already identified in the data inventory), we can effectively determine where our business intelligence efforts need to focus. Having this information allows you to more accurately quantify returns on your business intelligence efforts and ultimately lead to a more successful BI strategy implementation.

Interested in learning more about how The Knowlton Group can help you with your business intelligence strategy and implementation? Send an email to brewster@knowlton-group.com to learn more!