It’s the start of the New Year, and for many contingent workforce programs, reporting and analytics become the most important activity for the year. Well-established programs have in place different strategies to quickly and efficiently extract data, analyze metrics and present their findings back within their organizations. But what if your program is just starting out? Many new programs initially struggle to implement a robust reporting strategy, and this problem is compounded each year as your program goals expand and evolve.
There are three key ideas that can be extrapolated from what more mature programs do well, which, when applied to newer programs, can lead to a more effective reporting and business intelligence strategy.
1. Stop asking “what” reports your program needs. Too often we focus on the wrong metrics, or are in a hurry to jump straight into defining a catalog of reports and dashboards that make them look mature, but may not be actually solving the problem at hand. Instead, stop to consider “why” you need to report. Mapping your program’s goals and objectives provides you with a clearer picture of what measurements and milestones are really important to the success of your organization, and your VMS and MSP partners can help you define your metrics and reports after that.
2. Understand your audience. Not every type of report or dashboard is suited for each type of end user. Hiring managers have very different needs than executives, and having a grasp on what your users are asking for and what you are delivering will ensure that you are not over-promising and under-delivering. Consider this: does a hiring manager with fewer than 10 workers really need a complicated headcount and spend dashboard delivered every week?
3. Don’t sacrifice user experience for perceived future reporting needs. Too often, those reporting needs are never realized. Configure your VMS tool to allow your hiring managers to do what they do best – procure and engage contingent workers or services. Making users jump through hoops or making the process overly complicated will only lead to more manual intervention and data cleanup down the road.
As you start off the New Year thinking ahead, embracing these three key principles will serve your program in defining a better reporting strategy for 2013.