Management Information System (MIS) – Faster and better decisions
You can’t manage and improve what you don’t measure”. This “old business adage” has actually gained in importance in the age of digitization, in which data is a critical corporate asset. The implementation of a new management information system was therefore one of the first projects of the initiativee «Digitization at redIT».
As with many SMEs, our Management Information System (MIS) was based on a series of Excel reports that had grown over time and the maintenance effort was steadily increasing. With the merger of the three business units in July 2020 and the increased requirements from the individual digitization projects, the management decided to introduce a new MIS.
The project team – comprising representatives from finance and the business units – started with the maturity analysis (field of action: cloud & data) and a requirements catalog. We categorized the requirements in a matrix according to the dimensions of business view (customers, day-to-day business, finance) and access level (management, employees, customers).
The maturity analysis and requirements matrix proved to be very helpful, as it allowed the entire team to develop a common understanding of the requirements. We selected Microsoft Power BI as our business intelligence (BI) platform because it became clear very quickly that Power BI not only covered all our requirements, but also accelerated development tremendously due to its “low-code, no-code” approach (>400 data connectors, pre-built visuals, AI-assisted programming, etc.). Other selection criteria were ease of use, cloud-based distribution, granular security and access concept, and ease of use on mobile devices.
Due to the agile approach in the project, the management team and a selected group of employees were able to test the first version of the MIS only 4 weeks after the go-live. With the continuous feedback from the test users, we successfully launched the first productive version in September 2020 and the experience and as well as the feedback was very positive. The new MIS has also helped us to better manage the Corona-related limitations, as this means that all employees in the home office are always up to date.
Below are the top 5 benefits of our new management information system:
1. «One truth»
Gone are the times when there was more discussion about who had the “right” data than about the data itself. With the new MIS, we have a common view of the data because all users share the same standardized, cloud-based reports. “Personal” Excel reports from employees are a thing of the past.
2. Up to date and forward looking
All reports are automatically updated centrally via the Power BI service at predefined times. Our employees thus always have access to the latest information, which is particularly important for customer interaction. This enables management to identify trends at an early stage and intervene promptly. Acting instead of reacting is no longer a buzzword.
One of the great strengths of Power BI is the visualization and interaction. Since Power BI has the same user interface as Microsoft Office, no extensive training was necessary and employees can perform ad-hoc analyses without programming through queries and filters. Intuitive and visual work replaces long searches in data tables.
An important requirement was that employees not only have access to the central reports, but can also use the reporting in their respective work context. Power BI offers various options for embedding the reports in other applications. For example, salespeople can access daily customer-specific sales reports, delivery status or customer service requests in real time directly in the CRM system. A 360-degree customer view is thus no longer just pie in the sky, but has become reality.
5. Secure, level-appropriate access
Power BI is a Microsoft cloud service and thus benefits from the comprehensive security concept and ensures secure access to the data from all devices and from any location. The “row-level” access management ensures level-appropriate access to the data. Data and reports are accessed via the cloud portal, so no data or reports are distributed via e-mail, which significantly increases security. Accessing data anytime, anywhere and from any device is now a reality at redIT.
In addition to the qualitative benefits, we were able to reduce the effort required to create and update reports by over 70%.
The new MIS is an important pillar of our digitization strategy and an “enabler” for other digitization projects such as digital marketing, business process automation or new customer services. We are continuously developing the MIS and our employees and our customers are important sources of ideas and input in this process. As with the other digitization projects, we have established a rolling 90-day development plan so that we can implement the new requirements in a timely manner.
Are you also planning to set up a new MIS? Contact us – we will be glad to assist and advise you.