How to Use Business Intelligence Reporting for Decision Making

“We do what we call an inventory cycle count at the end of the year.

“One year, we had to write off around $18,000 in inventory that should’ve been billed or invoiced to a customer somewhere. That one was a bitter pill to swallow, and that incident was one of the driving forces for us to really get a system that would help us manage our inventory.

“With Simpro, you look at the last three yearly inventories that we’ve done, and we’ve written off less than $500. That’s a significant improvement for us, just on the materials management side.”

Blue Wave Communications General Manager, Tim Orr

Tim Orr,
Blue Wave Communications

Solid reporting processes are essential for an efficient and successful field service business.

Want to know how long it takes field staff to arrive on site? Need to find out where you are making and losing money? Or do you just want to know the number of jobs scheduled for the week?

Business reporting allows you to answer all of these questions and many more.

However, a lot of field service businesses don’t have business reporting software in place. Instead, they may use whiteboards, spreadsheets, or even pen and paper. While this can be a good way to take notes in the moment, these are not effective ways to collect data and transform it into actionable insights.

Hands up if you spend more time trying to sort through your data than actually analyzing it?!

You’re not alone. In fact, a study from Deloitte found that companies on average spend 48% of their time creating and updating reports versus 17% spent communicating the results with the business, meaning a lot of businesses are logging a lot of data, but don’t reference it when making decisions.

Quite simply, the more unorganized or difficult it is to access data, the less likely business owners are to refer to it before making a decision.

Luckily, technology in the field service industry has evolved and now there are better ways to measure, analyze and act on your business performance data with new reporting practices.

One of these practices in BI (business intelligence) reporting.

BI reporting enables business owners to use digital tools and technology to measure business health. This contrasts with operational reporting, which provides a detailed view of the transactional data in the business. In operational reporting, data is usually static and doesn’t allow much room for drilling down into the different ‘why’ behind the data. For example, you know profits have gone down in the third quarter, but won’t know “why” unless you analyze the data.

What is BI Reporting?

Three field service workers looking reports on a screen

BI reporting is the process of using BI tools to prepare and analyze data in order to view and hare actionable insights. BI tools combine things like static reports, embedded analytics and interactive dashboards to help business owners both present data and analyze that data in a cohesive way.

These features work together to help business owners better see how the relationships between performance in each specific area of the business impacts their bottom line, all from one central location. Overall, this helps business owners make better decisions for their business.

Some BI reporting tools and technology are also cloud-based. This allows business owners and any key stakeholder to access reports, analytics and dashboards from anywhere at any time. As a result, the whole team can access information in less time and make better decisions, faster.

What are the Benefits of BI Reporting?

  • Automated data collection
  • Time saved on manual data entry
  • Data visibility in real-time from any location via the cloud
  • Proactive decision making
  • Data is organized based on the unique workflows or visualized in multiple ways via customized dashboards
  • Fewer errors and improved business efficiency

How Does Business Intelligence Reporting Support Business Growth?

Man walking next to an upward arrow showing growth

BI reporting is the best way to access data about everything to do with your business - both internally and externally. With this complete picture of your business, you can pinpoint inefficiencies and understand why and how they negatively impact your business. Then, you can take action based on your insights to help bring underperforming areas of your business up to your standards. For example, if the installation side of your HVAC business is decreasing, you could offer new customers a discount on the installation of new air conditioners.

BI reporting also helps you better manage resources, mitigate risk and ensure profitability as you take on more service jobs, maintenance contracts, or larger projects. Armed with this knowledge, you can formulate the actions you need to take to grow your business and scale.

But don’t just take our word for it. Blue Wave Communications decreased inventory shrinkage using more than $17,000 by utilising BI reporting.

Not sure if your business is ready to move from operational reporting to BI reporting? Check out our eBook, Business reporting for trade contractors in the digital age to discover how to find the right level of reporting for your business.


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