A recent study by Deloitte Digital found that nearly half of business leaders say they are currently unable to generate insights from data to help inform real-time decision making. But in today’s competitive business climate, difficulties leveraging data to make faster, better decisions can put organizations at a significant disadvantage, affecting their ability to respond to customer needs, meet regulatory requirements, deliver products to market and a host of other mission-critical objectives.
While the Deloitte study found that 88 percent of businesses report using productivity tools to assist in decision making, many work execution platforms don’t offer the features that best empower the swift, sophisticated decisions enterprise leaders must make on a daily basis. For faster, better decisions, look for a platform with these three key offerings.
1. Data Flexibility and Analysis
Working with data from multiple sources can introduce needless complexity and delays to analysis, slowing down your ability to make decisions. All too often, before teams are able go deep on useful information, they waste valuable time and energy simply organizing data into a unified file. Furthermore, the manual work of copying and pasting data into a single format can introduce errors that can decrease the reliability of your data. Simply put, if your work execution platform requires you to export your data before you can even begin your analysis, then you’re at a disadvantage before you’ve even started on your analysis.
Smartsheet eliminates these risks with simplified data management features that work across sheets and source data. With Smartsheet, you can perform analytical tasks without making changes to your original formats or even leaving the platform. Cross-sheet formulas, for example, make it easy to connect data that exists across multiple sheets, eliminating the time you might otherwise spend manually re-entering data or searching through large sheets to find and move information or create cell links. Once set up, cross-sheet formulas even allow for dynamic updates, with rollup reports that update automatically to reflect real-time changes in their source data.
DataMesh, a Smartsheet premium add-on, further saves time and reduces redundancies and errors by automatically finding and removing duplicate data points, creating links between sheets based on specific lookup values, and populating empty cells using known values from other sources. Together, these features help to streamline the complex work of analyzing data that exists in multiple source sheets.
2. Visual, Real-Time Reporting
Working with vast amounts of raw data can be challenging work. It can be difficult to parse meaningful data – spotting trends and other important insights – from countless cells, columns, and sheets. Transforming that data into visual displays can help improve pattern identification and boost your overall ability to interpret what you’re looking at.
To make quick, data-backed decisions, business leaders need a platform that delivers reliable and meaningful information at a glance. Whether it’s the real-time status of planned spending versus actuals, project management tracking, sales pipelines or other reporting, visual, real-time dashboards allow you to gain fast, clear visibility into the information you need to make swift, confident decisions.
The 3 Most Important Dashboards for Executive Visibility
Available with Business plans or higher, Smartsheet’s rich interactive dashboards empower you and your teams to tie in your robust roll-up reporting to dashboards that display live data, charts, and key metrics for real-time visibility.
3. Connected Data
With teams using a variety of platforms and programs to plan, share information, discuss projects and perform other tasks, important data commonly lives across applications and in a variety of formats. Consolidating all of these sources is one more key challenge in leveraging all your data to make better decisions.
From cloud storage solutions such as Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive to online calendars to chat platforms such as Slack and Skype for Business, Smartsheet integrates with the enterprise tools most businesses use every day.
The Smartsheet work execution platform also makes it easy to connect data across other business platforms such as Salesforce, Jira, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Oracle Netsuite, SAP, and others with custom connectors and Smartsheet Data Shuttle. These rich integrations allow you to connect data across sources and platforms, creating a complete picture of all your data.
In order to make swift, confident decisions, business leaders need tools that quickly transform vast amounts of raw data into reliable, meaningful insights. Rather than adding labor and complexity to decision making, your work execution platform should streamline this process. A platform that offers the capabilities discussed in this article can boost the velocity and effectiveness of decision making, helping you make the right calls in less time.