Transparency and data-driven decisions are two essential components of corporate success. The monitoring and evaluation of available data should thus not be done manually and on demand, but continuously and systematically. There are several options available for this in Controlling, such as BI (Business Intelligence) and Real-time Business Monitoring. In this Article you can read about the reasons for implementing such systems.
Standard tools like Excel are no longer sufficient
Despite modern possibilities, the controlling in many companies is still based on tools such as Excel or Access databases. Data from different systems are transferred to these tools in order to determine key figures and to answer business questions. This approach is not only “out of fashion”, but also entails numerous disadvantages and risks.
1. Susceptibility to errors
2. High effort (inefficiency) for creation and updating
3. Limited data volume (lack of scalability)
4. Difficulties in real-time collaboration
5. No live data available (only viewing the past)
In the following we take a closer look at these aspects and show why BI and real-time business monitoring are the better solutions.
1. Susceptibility to errors
The transfer of data into tools such as Excel and Access consists of several manual steps, which always involve a high risk of errors. Furthermore, it can never be completely ensured that all formulas, references and relationships have been set up correctly. Changes to the data – for example, due to overwriting or the shifting of cells – also cause misalignments. In extreme cases, mistakes of this kind can lead to serious wrong business decisions. The situation is different when using BI and (real-time) business monitoring software. The data transfer from the upstream systems is automated, which means that the error rate is minimal. The extensive testing of newly developed key figures and reports can also ensure that the results are correct.
Manually created reports are not only prone to errors, they also cause enormous effort. This is especially true when tables with more complex formulas and relationships have to be updated regularly. In this case, too, business monitoring solutions and BI tools bring clear advantages. On the one hand, they make it easier to create individual reports, and on the other, you save a lot of time thanks to the automated data supply.
3. Data volume and scalability
Spreadsheets are not designed to process large amounts of data. Tools of this type quickly reach their limits. If the volume exceeds a certain point, significant performance problems and crashes occur. This aspect is to be viewed critically, especially with rapidly growing databases. Modern analysis systems, on the other hand, have no difficulty with extensive data. They are also usually extremely scalable.
Working together on tables at the same time is also difficult. Because when working on corresponding files at the same time, the changes made by colleagues are not displayed in real time. This means that errors and redundant inputs are preprogrammed. Business intelligence and business monitoring, on the other hand, allow any number of users to simultaneously carry out analyzes, adapt visualizations individually and set up specific alarms. Apart from that, access can be clearly regulated via authorizations.
It is obvious that data from Excel or Access reports can never be up to date. Due to the high cost alone, evaluations of this type are often only updated weekly, monthly or quarterly. However, in times of rapid market changes and complex value chains, this fact is becoming an increasing problem. Classic BI does not solve this problem, since it is only supplied with past-related data at certain time intervals. If you want to make decisions based on real-time information and want to be informed immediately about significant changes, you should consider real-time business monitoring.
Conclusion: business monitoring clearly advantageous
Minimized sources of error, efficiency, real-time information and an optimal basis for decision-making: Modern business monitoring solutions are clearly superior to the manual procedure overall. An investment in professional tools usually pays for itself very quickly and should also be considered by SMEs.