Business intelligence (BI) transforms data into actionable insights into an organization's operation. It includes tools that make information easier to understand so that informed business decisions can be made quickly. A power BI reporting system (PBRS) is a BI tool that aggregates data from multiple sources and visually displays the information onto dashboards and reports. As with any technology purchase, businesses should look at the return on investment (ROI) on implementing PBRS.
The formula for determining the ROI of anything is straightforward:
ROI = (Gain from Investment minus Cost of Investment) divided by the Cost of the Investment multiplied by 100.
What isn't as straightforward is deciding on a value on the gain from the investment, especially when it comes to software.
Cost of Investment
Finding the cost of a PBRS investment involves totaling the expenditures for the following items.
- Software and hardware costs
- Implementation process
- Consulting services
Employee involvement should be factored into the equation if staff is needed during installation or formal training is required.
Gain From Investment
Assigning a value to new software that produces more widgets per hour is simple. Deciding on a value for software such as PBRS is more complicated. It is about the time saved, and the opportunities gained. Determining ROI is not a one-and-done calculation. When considering a purchase, calculate two ROIs.
- A worst-case scenario with the highest possible costs and lowest possible gain.
- A best-case with the lowest possible expense and highest possible gain.
In most instances, the actual ROI will fall between the two extremes. Once you've identified the edges of the ROI values, assign a time period to achieve those results.
How should a business determine gains for a software investment such as PBRS? First, ROI is a monetary value assigned to a specific investment. It should take into account all the variables. That effort is sometimes tricky because the benefits are not always visible. An excellent place to start is with key performance indicators (KPIs). Most companies are receiving information on their KPIs. Whether it's monthly sales reports or weekly call center requests, the data makes it into some report.
As an example, how do employees access the data or the report for each KPI? Reports may be emailed or saved on a server. An IT department may have set up a share with all the reports in that space. Anyone with permission can access the reports. If sent by email, the report may be saved locally.
Getting the information requires employees to log in to the server and download the report or navigate to the appropriate folder on their computer. Let's assume the access process takes five minutes, and the report is viewed once by 15 sales managers who cost the company $500 per eight-hour day. For the 15 managers to access the report once, it costs the company $75.00. That doesn't seem like much. Even if the sales managers access the reports once a week, the cost is only $322 per month or about $4,000 per year. Multiply the $4,000 times the number of KPI reports each manager accesses in a year, and the cost can reach well over $100,000.
Let's say that accounting finds an error in the report after its initial release. They update the information, place it on the server, or email the updated report to each sales manager. If they update the copy on the server, the sales managers may not be aware of the error. They make decisions based on faulty information. If the corrected report is emailed, the sales managers have to update any reports or documents that relied on that data. How much time is lost correcting the error? That doesn't include any costs associated with the consequences of making a decision on faulty information.
Opportunity costs are the potential benefits that result when a business opportunity is missed. For example, what opportunities were the sales managers unable to address because of the time spent accessing reports and addressing the consequences of data errors? If they lose a profitable sale, the opportunity cost is the lost revenue for the lifecycle of a typical customer.
By deploying a PBRS system, sales managers have time to build better relationships, reducing the odds of a lost sale. Employees have access to up-to-date information at the start of their day. No looking for reports or downloading files. Instead, revised information is incorporated into the dashboard or emailed to the inbox, ensuring that all parties are using the same truth source.
Automatically delivering updated Power BI information using PBRS enables employees to focus on data insights. Rather than looking for information, they can access critical information in seconds, ensuring more data-driven decisions.Helping employees make informed decisions is the best ROI for any investment. Contact ChristianSteven Software to learn more about how your company can begin automating delivery of Power BI reports and dashboards.