If a picture is worth a thousand words, why aren't we using them?

Being a tenured member of the ERP community, I’ve done a lot of reporting in my day. A lot. Starting out as a PeopleSoft developer, the tools available to report on enterprise data were plentiful. The options for making that data visually impactful, however, were virtually nil. What options did exist required a lot of cobbling together from disparate tools and systems and warehouses, and as a result, that often meant that by the time the data could be made presentable, the results were stale… yesterday’s news, if you will.

But that was then. Enter Workday in 2005: a modern, SaaS-based approach to the age-old organizational cornerstone of ERP. Gone are on-premise hardware requirements, maintenance updates, as well as costly upgrades and retrofits of customized functionality. Those are undeniably amazing advancements, but one tragically-flawed aspect of traditional ERP continues to fight extinction, and that is bland, static reporting. Today with Workday, we have what would have been considered mind-blowing summarization and visualization capabilities at the click of a mouse: drillable fields, zooming into particular areas of results, the ability for individual users to change the graphical representation of data… wait for it… on. the. fly. Don’t like the bar chart? Maybe to you the numbers are better illustrated in a stacked line graph? Prefer a pie chart over a line graph? No problem. Really.

One customer we’ve helped to employ Workday’s visual reporting capabilities is a global leader in the technology space: Adobe. To set the stage a bit, Adobe’s Workday support team views their Workday user base unlike most: they view their users as Adobe customers. The way they approach Workday service and experience really is next level when it comes to delivering a clear, insightful, and (to borrow a Workday term) delightful user experience. One way Adobe is similar to other Workday customers, is that they are continually looking to extend the ROI of their subscription by expanding their Workday footprint in terms of functionality, and in particular, leveraging Workday to accomplish tasks previously reserved for an external BI reporting tool. By using chart-based reports and scorecards, Adobe can report on critical KPIs in real-time, with compelling visuals and context, all within Workday.

Two key areas where we were able to help Adobe were recruiting and internal mobility. Utilizing matrix reports and calculated fields, we brought improved visibility on time-to-fill metrics by geography and business unit. By enabling the Opportunity Graph and creating custom Search reports, we brought internal mobility opportunities front and center for employees considering a move within the company.

But we didn’t stop at advancements in traditional reporting. Workday Scorecards are also an extremely powerful yet woefully underutilized tool for telling the story with data. Perhaps the best part about Scorecards is that Workday has delivered a very comprehensive set of out-of-the box metrics with the ability to easily copy and customize. With Workday Scorecards, Adobe can define specific metrics to produce informative, meaningful, and visually impactful analytics (again with the idea of serving their Workday user base customers). As if that weren’t cool enough, they can provide context and recommended actions for key questions:

  • “Turnover was up this quarter? Why?”
  • “Our veteran hire count is too low. What should we do about it?”

So, with all of these tools available, what are we waiting for? The decision-making aids that executives have been clamoring for are not only here, but more accessible and user-friendly than ever; just look at Adobe. Let’s use them.

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, why aren't we using them?

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