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Ergometrics and financial services Back  
Dashboard reporting is a key element of the change that Cooperative Financial Services (CFS) has effected as part of the coming together of The Co-operative Bank and Co-operative Insurance Society (CIS) writes John Hanlon. He says that it is making cultural changes that have a positive impact on the business structure.
The usage of dashboard reporting was determined to be a reporting method that could make the necessary change from wasteful habit to discerning activity.

Dashboard reporting is a succinct, highly visual reporting style that focuses on the necessary and important measures that inform the business about its progress and fulfilment of its mission. Actions related to these measures will have an impact on the business.
CFS wanted to move from traditional reporting, which frequently produces no action - and is often produced at great expense. Many businesses publish large volumes of paper, words and graphs that supply huge amounts of data to managers and other staff on a regular basis. The vast majority of this data is ignored and unused, wasting energy and resources.

CFS chooses Ergometrics
Cooperative Financial Services selected Ergometrics as its preferred Dashboard Reporting tool. As Keith Girling, Director CFS, ICT Operations and Services, observed, ‘The Ergometrics dashboard product was the most true to metaphor that we saw. It had simplicity and yet provided all that we were looking for.’ After an initial pilot and proof of concept, CFS embarked upon an initial implementation to produce the first set of dashboards.

Measurement framework established
An Ergometrics consultant spent two weeks with CFS and in that time worked with CFS ICT to prepare a measurement framework, set up some initial dashboards, socialise the initiative with key managers and train staff in the use of the product. The training also emphasised the philosophy that underpins Ergometrics ‘Action Reporting’ and how that affects metric establishment.

In the early phase a model was required to establish the reporting framework that would provide consistency across the business units being measured. The diagram shows the seven ‘perspectives’ applied to the reporting. Each perspective plays a significant role in delivering ‘customer satisfaction’ - while not exactly a causal chain, unsatisfactory performance in any of the underlying perspectives will affect customer satisfaction, sooner or later.

Three months later, the Ergometrics consultant returned to review progress and move the initiative forward. The sourcing of metric data, its conversion and input into the Ergometrics database was attended to. A set of dashboards that related to the ICT operations area, a working model to show management, the capability of this type of reporting as applied to real CFS data and operations.

The way this framework is being implemented is somewhat contrary to the textbook approach of top-down strategy and metrics that support the high-level mission, vision and goals. The approach taken has been a pragmatic one given the business change taking place concurrently. Waiting until the dust had settled would have deprived CFS of the benefits and not provided the change message until too late. Alternatively, senior managers would have been diverted from the other changes they have been making and also ensuring consistently high levels of service are maintained.

In less than six months CFS is now reporting almost 500 different metrics and delivering them in succinct understandable fashion to targeted senior managers and staff.

This implementation has been achieved during a time of major change. The results to date have been achieved through good planning, effective use of the chosen tool, a pragmatic approach and accountable and empowered individuals. CFS ICT is achieving real value from this initiative now, but as Keith Girling keeps saying ‘it’s only the tip of the iceberg’ - the full benefits of action reporting are still to come as it evolves and is applied into the wider business.

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