Getting the Most Out of IT Reports

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So your IT Manager just handed you a hundred page IT report…now what? Business leaders often demand reports and analytics, yet, next steps on what to actual do with those reports are often not clearly defined. Business analytics help companies streamline their processes, plan for future upgrades, and identify potential gaps or weaknesses, but without a plan in place to use those analytics, the business benefits will be limited. Below are three tips for getting the most out of your IT reports.

Receive, Read, Review, Meet. Reports have a habit of getting lost in your email inbox, or shoved in a desk drawer, never to be seen from again. In order to make sure that you are getting use out of your IT reports, schedule a review meeting for a few days after you receive the report. That gives you time to read it, makes notes, and prepare for future action. Schedule a review meeting with the key stakeholders involved. For example, if it is an IT infrastructure report, make sure to meet with your key IT staff. Scheduling a meeting to review a report helps ensure that people actually review it, and holds the stakeholders accountable for the findings and recommendations on the report.

Demand Clear, Easy to Read Reports. If your IT report is 100 page of words and script outputs, you probably are not going to make any clear progress with it. Reports should have an easy to understand dashboard that highlights high priority issues and paints a picture of what is going on without being too wordy. At IT Weapons, our quarterly infrastructure reports include a colour-coded dashboard the sorts issues by priority, allowing executives and decision makers to only focus on items that may be negatively impacting their business, or are important for a critical business upgrade. Furthermore, make sure that everything on your report is of actual use to you and your current strategy. Many reports often get bogged down by charts and graphs that generally do not serve any clear purpose. Each item on your report or dashboard should be something that affects your current operations and future business goals. If not, ask for it to be removed.

Assign Clear Action Items to Specific Individuals. This one may sound like a no brainer, but it is often overlooked. How often have you heard this? “We sure have a lot of admin users. Someone should clean that up.” Plans should not be made without clearly documenting who will be acting on them and when it should be completed. When reviewing IT reports, make sure to make clear notes as to who is responsible for each action, and make sure that those notes are sent to the entire team involved. This holds people accountable, and helps ensure that your reports turns from business intelligence to business action.

It is important to remember that a lot of time and effort typically goes into creating IT reports, and without action, that time is wasted. Always set time aside to review reports that you receive as they are designed to help you make decisions that will ultimately affect your entire business operations.

IT Weapons Managed Services clients receive Quarterly Infrastructure Reports, monthly server and ticket reports, and regular Continuous Service Improvement (CSI) reports that are designed to provide transparency on your environment, while working towards the future to meet your critical business goals. Check out our Managed Services page for more information. 

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