Should your company invest in mobile analytics technology needed to deliver critical management information to users on the go? It is a decision nearly every organization is now facing, and one that will consume a significant amount of time and money.
Conventional logic says that if management information—measure, metrics, dashboards, reports, analytics—is delivered via a smart phone or tablet is more convenient for leaders to review, directing their subordinates, and as a by-product improve performance. Anyone who’s been on the receiving end of a barrage of questions from their boss who’s trapped in an airport with nothing but a stake of reports knows, it seldom results in anything meaningful or lasting.
Yet when done properly there are benefits to making your management team mobile.
Benefits to Mobile Analytics
Mobile devices have always been about enabling better communication—smarter devices allow us to be smarter about it. For most organizations management is still about getting out there with the employees, in the field with the sales force, at the client location with customers or on the manufacturing line with workers. Mobile analytics and information allows a manager to leave the email in the office and work face-to-face with the people who make things happen—all while the information that explains performance is still right there in their hands so that they can make the connection between operational effectiveness and financial success all the more clear for their employees.
Information is worthless if it doesn’t prompt action. It is the action that produces a measurable return. To facilitate this information delivered via a mobile device should be inherently different the information available via reports or management portals. It should be actionable. It should be the details of what went wrong, or right. It should be specific and directly relate to the business. It should be the type of information that gets people talking about the real problems a company or its customers are facing, and the type of information that helps create a solution.
Mobile analytics is more powerful than people think. It has the ability to shape conversation and focus discussion towards the things that most benefit the company. Having trouble getting your sales force to focus on new products, recent discounts or unusual incentives? Having trouble getting your supervisors to hold their workers accountable? Create a dashboard that shows them all of the metrics and critical information they need so that not only can they review it before they have that difficult conversation, but they can also refer to it and use it as a blueprint for how you want that conversation to go. The same approach applies to face-to-face conversations with someone’s boss, employees or vendors. And mobile devices, with their richer graphics and visualizations, are better at generating attention and interest than paper reports ever were.
The true power of mobile technology isn’t its ability to get employees to respond when they should otherwise be away from the office spending time with family or friends, doing things that help them unwind and focus better when they are working. That was just the easiest application of it. The true value of mobile technology is its ability to unshackle managers from their desk when they are actually in the office, so that they can get out there with their employees and lead from the front, getting more intimately involved in what makes their business successful and having richer, information-based conversations while they do it. The return on that investment may be hard to measure, but its benefit is immeasurable.
About The Author
David F. Giannetto helps organizations leverage information—providing both the technology and methodology necessary to create, understand and utilize it to improve performance. Widely respected as a thought-leader in the areas of business intelligence, enterprise performance management, information management and analytics, he has led some of the most complex information-driven initiatives for today’s leading brands. He is author of two books, including The Performance Power Grid (J.Wiley & Sons, 2006), one of today’s leading performance management methodologies. He is SVP of Performance Management for Salient Management Company.