The #1 constraint holding back your accounting team

And why BI/reporting tools are the answer to breaking that constraint

Author and business guru Eliyahu Goldratt revolutionized manufacturing in the 1980s when he wrote a book called The Goal. Though a work of fiction, the book greatly simplified how to improve manufacturing processes. In it, the protagonist identifies the two main bottlenecks or “constraints” that are causing his manufacturing plant to fail and resolves those key issues, making multiple smaller problems go away in the process.

Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints introduced in the book caught the attention of business leaders everywhere and put the book on Time Magazine’s list of the 25 Most Influential Business Management Books. The idea that identifying and solving one or two main constraints can turn a failing company into a success was a paradigm shift that changed how we look at business processes.

As the owner of a consulting company that does business with organizations across multiple industries, I have found it very interesting to see how different businesses identify — or don’t identify — their central issue. Pinpointing and solving that one main constraint can build productivity across the entire organization.

In a recent roundtable conversation with several of our association clients, it became apparent that they share one key constraint holding them back: Associations — and companies across all industries for that matter — need dashboards with quick data coming from multiple software programs or databases at the same time.

Fixing that one key issue of “data starvation” could solve multiple other problems for any company.

In a follow-up conversation, another client mentioned that getting certain data quickly and easily would alleviate several problems at his association. Right now, the company gets its information via a manual process that wastes time each month, is out of date almost instantly and makes employees feel unproductive.

While the company would love to create customized “miracle dashboards” for each employee role at the organization, such an endeavor would naturally be expensive. Imagine creating multiple customized dashboards with each one fetching data from at least two of the critical systems used to run the association. It simply isn’t financially feasible.

Or is it? If getting fast access to data from multiple sources is a common problem for all these associations, then perhaps it’s possible to create one solution that can be financed jointly and used by multiple companies with minimal tailoring.

We concluded that other associations within the same industry would likely need dashboards similar enough that minor tweaking could be done without nearly as much effort as creating another whole set of dashboards from scratch. Fixing that one bottleneck for the initial company could in fact benefit multiple companies using a similar dashboard template.

In addition, going back to Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints, fixing that one key issue of “data starvation” could solve multiple other problems for each company. Having the right data on hand quickly would increase productivity, employee morale and each organization’s ability to make changes as needed in a timely manner.

If, like these associations, data starvation is your key constraint, you may want to look at a Business Intelligence (BI) solution that addresses this need for bringing in data from multiple sources. Boyer recently partnered with two large BI providers, Solver (BI360) and Jet Reports, to help meet this need for our clients and prospects. Contact us to learn more or register for our upcoming webinar.