As the creative organizations we lead continue to evolve, we can make better use of reporting to effectively inform our decisions and optimize our creative operations. Using the data we capture about our work and people, we can extract valuable insights that help us tell compelling stories about our creativity and efficiency. These stories can also garner attention from our c-suite leaders about the value we deliver so we can gain more support and continue to scale.

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One of the most critical components for establishing or improving your reporting practice is to define the needs of your target audiences and answer their questions about your operation and the work it performs. In my experience, it's not uncommon to develop unique reporting and dashboard solutions for: 1) internal team members and their managers; 2) department leadership team members; 3) clients and business partners; and 4) executive management.

While our organizations are uniquely structured and take advantage of different project management platforms that capture most of our data, the most common questions a carefully constructed reporting platform can help explore include:

  1. Is my organization properly staffed for the type and mix of work being performed? Based on work trends, where and when will functional shifts in staffing need to be made?
  2. Are the work priorities of internal team members aligned with the priorities of clients and business partners? (You'd be surprised how often this is not the case.)
  3. Where and why are work bottlenecks occurring, and are they agency- or client-driven?
  4. What does our pipeline of new work look like, and when will we have capacity to start each project?
  5. How efficiently are we managing different project types, and how has this trended?
  6. What cost savings and value is the agency delivering, and where is this trending?

With intent clearly defined, the team with ownership for reporting can partner across your organization to design and develop useful reporting solutions. Depending on the size and maturity of your organization, this responsibility may not be currently assigned or appropriately placed -- and may require partnering with one of the analytics teams in your company or a professional BI consultant.

Our creative organizations have increasingly grown more complex. As a result, investing in a well-designed analytics platform can empower you and your team with the information and insights needed to effectively manage your creative organization and successfully drive it forward.