Data: how much is enough? – Traveldoo Insight

EPISODE 2 – Data, how much is enough?

Work Hard. Play Hard… this is the motto of business travelers the world over! How often do you see social media posts of after-work drinks shared by people on business trips who are letting off some steam? Is it wrong that the first thing that comes to my mind when looking through these is “I hope they are saving their receipts!”

I hate to be a kill-joy of course, but let’s face it, whilst traveling for work can be a wonderful perk, the dread of having to front your expenses, file your claims and manage your personal budgets until your expenses are reimbursed, can often take the fun out of it.

This point is often belabored by Travel and Expense (T&E) solutions providers, who talk up the issues faced by business travelers, but what about the rest of those involved, who are doing most of the “heavy lifting”, without any of the fun?

Chief Financial Officers, Controllers, Travel and Expense Managers and of course, Departmental Managers are heavily involved in ensuring that expenses and budgets are in-line as well as control and monitor approval policies and guidelines in a bid to optimize cost wherever possible.

Each of these people will have different data needs to inform their decisions and perform tasks as efficiently as possible. It’s all too easy to get tunnel-vision in this line of work and focus simply on the day-to-day task of expense management – with no time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, particularly when it comes to looking at data, which can often be overwhelming.

 

“Too much love will kill you” – Queen (“Too much data can confuse you” – Suganya)

 

Queen were certainly on the right track when they said that too much love will kill you, actually, too much of anything can be bad news – this definitely applies to data. As an analyst, it’s my job to look at data every day. However, I realize that for most other people it’s simply a means to an end. If you fall into that category, you are probably just interested in knowing what you need to know to take decisions, improve efficiencies, optimize costs and increase profits. In this case, you shouldn’t set yourself up to be confounded if your objective is clarity.

At Traveldoo, we take a business-led rather than an IT-led approach to Business Intelligence. That’s what Traveldoo Insight is all about. We’ve identified the different stakeholders of the T&E solution, defined their roles and determined their data requirements. Our role-based workbooks are then designed around these profiles to ensure their needs are fulfilled.

Some examples of users and their roles:

  • CFO – review T&E as it is a material item on the balance sheet
  • Controller – control & monitor actual results vs budgets
  • T&E Manager – review policy compliance
  • Departmental Managers – review expenses by their team members & approve claims

 

“Clutter smothers. Simplicity breathes.” – Terry Guillemets

 

We have narrowed down the best and most useful KPIs that the individual target user groups will need, and designed workbooks dedicated to their unique profiles. In addition, Insight goes far beyond data – the dashboards and reports are created to be easy to understand with interactive data visualizations.

When you don’t have a lot of the unnecessary clutter, it becomes easy to get to critical information fast. Also, when looking at a set of metrics consistently over long periods of time, you can easily track changes in trends and patterns. You can also effectively monitor the impact of any new policies that you may introduce to achieve desired results.

Furthermore, we believe that it’s the follow-up more than the initial question that can bring the highest value.  The first question could give you a number, but the follow-up questions can provide answers to the “whys” ultimately resulting in a clearer understanding of the root causes behind the numbers. Thus, for all of our KPIs, we also enable you to drill up or down to better understand the context.  This can facilitate a wider strategy and promote data driven decision-making.

 

“It’s not me who can’t keep a secret. It’s the people I tell that can’t.” – Abraham Lincoln

 

It’s not necessary for everybody to access every bit of available data neither for insights, nor for security reasons. Role-based workbooks have the added advantage of limiting the access that different users have making it easier to protect data and maintain confidentiality.

Further, with Insight, you will have the full flexibility to customize user rights and permissions to truly control what individuals can access. You can provide access to, or limit people from being able to perform a range of actions within the workbooks. Users may be allowed to do any or all of the following: view dashboards, interact with filters and parameters, comment with screenshots, create alters and subscribe to emails for themselves and other, edit the dashboards and download the underlying dataset.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more information or to arrange a demo. And, stay tuned for future posts with more insights on Insight from the Traveldoo team…

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