1. Get Operations Involved and Excited
The key is to incorporate the broad organizational view of executives with perspectives from the line of business leaders who are in the trenches day-to-day. But you can’t include them all involved from day one. Instead, Ben advises starting with managers who possess the following characteristics:
a. Respected managers with opinions that people take seriously
b. Managers who are tech-savvy
Once you identify the right people, foster enthusiasm for getting involved by celebrating even the smallest accomplishments.
2. Implement Customized Driver-Based Plans with Operations and Collaborate on KPIs
Ben suggests including operational teams right from the start during financial modeling and. Rather than brainstorming a list of KPIs, begin by listing the types of decisions the operator would like the model to inform. This way, KPIs aimed at improving decision-making can emerge organically.
And what if operators are concerned about financial planning cutting into their daily jobs?
Ben says that finance leaders should not only act as a resource for operations, but also understand current KPIs and allow operations managers to create financial plans using familiar tools instead of forcing them to use general ledger codes.
Finance teams should keep their eye on the prize. The goal here is to create integrated driver-based plans. Start by including one department, but don’t stop until you achieve cross-departmental input and collaboration and can connect drivers in each department to the overall corporate strategy.
3. Analytics for All!!!
If you give more people access to analytics, you’ll have more people within your organization who understand what moves the needle and drives the organization forward. Visual analytics in particular are key in helping people outside of finance to understand KPIs. Dashboards, charts, graphs, and colors all work as long as you don’t get carried away. The simpler the better.
Even if you’ve only identified a few KPIs where data is readily available, begin by prototyping dashboards with real data. Operations leaders don’t want to see “mock-ups” and you make a great first impression when presenting real data in dashboards for feedback. The sooner you can shift the conversation away from the mechanics of the dashboard to the insights that inform decision-making, the sooner you will be perceived as a valuable resource that enables operations to succeed. Get hands-on and show other department leaders how to use their new-found insight to achieve departmental goals, and, ultimately, corporate goals.