Are you tired of struggling with collecting data from multiple sources and organizing them into meaningful strategy reports? Confused about how to effectively measure and communicate progress? Tired of having your strategies falling flat and lacking support?
Well, you're in the right place! We know that getting stakeholders on board can be like trying to herd cats. And don't even get us started on strategy execution, it's like trying to hit a moving target.
This article is here to help you navigate the common challenges of effective business strategy reporting. From collecting and organizing data into actionable insights to stakeholder engagement, we'll dive into the challenges and provide actionable solutions.
So, if you're ready to overcome the struggles of strategy reporting, make sense of all that data, and make your strategy a success, let's get started.
What Is Strategy Reporting?
Strategy reporting refers to the process of documenting and communicating the progress and effectiveness of a company's strategic plan.
This typically includes financial and operational metrics, as well as key performance indicators that measure progress toward achieving the company's strategic goals and objectives. Strategy reports help company executives analyze past performance and determine if the organization’s objectives and strategies are attainable. It also helps them identify and mitigate risks so they can steer the company in the right direction.
Strategy reporting is usually done on a regular basis, such as quarterly or annually, and is typically presented to senior management and the board of directors to provide an overview of the company's performance.
Challenges in Business Strategy Reporting
Despite its importance, creating strategy reports is a challenging and overwhelming task. Strategic teams must coordinate with various departments to collect data and develop a cohesive report, and many face several challenges, including:
- Collecting and analyzing data needed to measure progress toward strategic goals. This happens because departments across the organization use different manual systems or tools to measure their performance.
- Identifying the right metrics needed to measure the company’s strategic goals and objectives.
- Communicating results to produce clear and actionable insights, especially if these results are complex or technical.
- Ensuring data used is accurate and consistent across the different departments involved.
- Keeping the strategy updated and aligned with the business environment despite constantly changing internal and external factors.
- Managing the implementation of the strategy and ensuring that it is being executed effectively.
Using a proven template and the simple 4-step process on how to write a strategy report below will help address these challenges and make the process easier. It also ensures an output that is understandable and usable across the organization.
4-Step Strategy Reporting Process
Strategic reporting doesn’t have to be complicated or cumbersome. With the steps below, you can effectively create strategy reports that accomplish their purpose.
Step 1: Identify reporting stakeholders
The first step is determining the stakeholders who will consume and use the reports. Understanding this will help you narrow down the report’s content and identify the correct format that will help expedite their decision-making process.
Bear in mind that different stakeholders need the strategic report for various purposes. Identifying these “report personalities” will help the team develop specific templates that contain the correct data and are useful for the end consumer.
This streamlines the data collection and report preparation process, ensuring the team doesn’t waste time creating long-winded reports that are bloated and not useful for the designated stakeholder.
Step 2: Collect your data
It’s not unusual that data is scattered across the organization and contained in various tools such as legacy systems, Excel files, project management tools, and others. Collecting data is often a lengthy process with multiple back-and-forth steps among data owners. There’s also a lot of manual copy-pasting involved with little accountability, causing potential data disintegration.
It’s crucial that you are in control of this process and able to trust the integrity of the collected data.
👉How Cascade simplifies this step:
Cascade simplifies the data collection process using integrations across multiple business tools. Whatever productivity, project management, or business analytics tool your team uses, you can integrate them all within Cascade, creating a single powerful source of truth.
Data from various sources are fed automatically to Cascade so you can gather information accurately and create beautiful visualized reports using the correct data. You can also send automatic notifications to team members using email, Microsoft Teams, or Slack to remind them to update various elements they’re accountable for.
Cascade helps you integrate your strategy, data, and teams into a single platform. By doing so, Cascade ensures that you have the most reliable data to support your organization's strategic decisions.
Step 3: Make sense of the data
Once all the data is collected, it’s time to understand which data points are essential to include in strategic reports. You don’t want to overwhelm the person reading the report with lots of unnecessary data that bogs down their decision-making process. Strategic reports must contain the most vital and essential data to determine a strategy’s effectiveness.
It can be overwhelming to sift through mountains of data, especially if they are presented in different formats or require technical knowledge to visualize. But with the right strategy reporting tools, data analysis can become a much simpler process, allowing one to quickly and effectively make use of the information.
👉How Cascade simplifies this step:
Cascade makes the process simple by letting you manipulate collected data into the format you need. Calculations are completed instantly, so you can quickly visualize how the overall collected data from different projects, departments, or business units impacts the organization as a whole.
Data collected are mapped to their corresponding strategic objectives so you can filter which are helpful to include in the strategic report. You can also view various data combinations using customizable charts. From a single KPI to the performance of a strategic portfolio, the different chart types provide you with an in-depth analysis of alignment with the organizational goals.
Step 4: Visualize and share strategy reports
Once you’ve determined the correct data to use, you must format them into visuals that can be easily consumed by the person reading the report. Strategic reports must be able to accurately visualize data to help stakeholders form valuable insights.
Everyone must have the same version of the same report, so they are on the same page when it comes to making decisions. However, teams often find it challenging to create cohesive reports when different stakeholders want different information. Customizing and manually updating strategy reports also take time and are prone to errors.
👉How Cascade simplifies this step:
Cascade makes the process simple with strategic and powerful dashboards that are easily customized with beautiful widgets and data visualization tools. Dashboard owners can share the strategy report with anyone and quickly embed the right widgets to make the presentations simple, functional, and intuitive.
Stakeholders can quickly see how the organization is performing and if initiatives from different departments are helping achieve the company’s goals. They can quickly identify roadblocks and opportunities so they can adjust priorities in real-time and steer the organization in the right direction.
With intuitive and comprehensive strategy reports, everyone in the organization knows the impact of their initiatives on the company’s strategic goals. Using the RAG system, decision-makers can also quickly pinpoint areas that are on track, those that are lagging, and those that are at risk. As a result, they have the insights and data necessary to make informed decisions and move the business forward.
Strategy Reporting Example
Here’s an example of a strategy report you can create within Cascade. The report is fueled by real-time data insights collected across various organization departments and fed to a single Cascade reporting dashboard.
Despite the different data sources, Cascade can generate a valuable and useful strategic report that becomes the single source of truth for the company. Each data point can be traced back for accuracy and further insights. So don't worry, you won't have to scroll through a thousand spreadsheets to get the information you need!
The report is built using customized widgets that capture the essential data decision-makers need. This makes it easy to rebuild the report further to generate additional insights.
You can even save the report as a template and have it automatically updated every month. This saves time, ensures accuracy and consistency, and always keeps you in the loop with the most up-to-date information. Plus, using a template keeps the format and structure consistent month after month, making it easy for stakeholders to understand and compare progress over time.
Simplify Strategy Reporting with Cascade 🚀
Strategy reporting doesn't have to be a drag. With the right tools and approach, you can create accurate, useful reports that give you the insights you need to make smart decisions. And even if different departments use different tools and systems, you can still seamlessly integrate all that data with Cascade.
Cascade is like the Swiss Army Knife of strategy reporting tools. It has everything you need to streamline the process, automate data collection, generate strategy reports in a consistent format, and provide real-time updates. So you can focus on what really matters—making strategic decisions. And with Cascade, you'll be able to do it with precision and speed.
Think of Cascade as your secret weapon for strategy reporting. It's the tool that will give you the edge you need to stay ahead in today's rapidly changing business landscape. So don't waste any more time on tedious, time-consuming strategy reporting. Give Cascade a try and see the difference it can make for your business.