Reporting is a critical aspect of your ETO database because reports turn your data entry into information, knowledge, and action to help measure your performance towards organisational goals and thereby make informed decisions about program resources, service workflows, and staff time. However, the value of ETO reports depends on how you use them. Use the following four ETO reporting best practices to get the most out of your reporting.
1. Run reports consistently
Consistent reporting is a good habit to develop as it is an investment in the organisation’s continuous improvement. So, devote regular time for reporting analysis on a set frequency and schedule. For example, schedule a monthly report review meeting with key staff. Identify the goals of the meeting, and then review a set of pre-defined reports within the context of the meeting’s goals. Develop some strategic actions based on the outcome of the monthly report review meeting.
2. Develop standard reports as a baseline
Every organization has goals, which are targets for growth and success. Use data to build a set of standard benchmark reports in ETO that measure progress toward achieving each of your goals. Develop a new report every time a new goal is defined or an existing goal is modified.
These reports should be discussed at each monthly report review meeting and the relevance of these reports to your goals should be assessed every six months, and changed if needed.
3. Develop an internal reporting curiosity
Create curiosity in your ETO software reports by continually asking two questions, “what is this data telling me” and “why.” During your monthly report review meetings, you can continue to develop this curiosity by developing a list of action items from each meeting and confirming that each action item has a defined next step. A next step might require running another report, digging deeper into the data, or taking action to improve a process or procedure with evidence from an ETO report. Be overly skeptical of assumptions made from reports and constantly ask “why” to establish a “solid” action item.
4. Maintain an on-demand reporting capability
Standard operational reports cover the majority of reporting needs, but there will be cases when you need customized information from your ETO database. In this case, its important to maintain an on-demand report builder either as an internal staff member or an ETO software consultant to generate on-demand or ad hoc reports. This will help your organization maximise the ETO software as a data management and performance management resource. Keep in mind that on-demand reports clarify real-time questions you have about your data, so it is important to have this resource on-hand.