Nonprofit Blog

Welcome to the Nonprofit Blog hosted by the professionals at Armanino, CPAs & Consultants. This blog is set up to inform nonprofit organizations of trends, rule changes, best practices and free educational offerings that we have built to support nonprofit organizations. Our professionals bring you their insights from an accounting and organization perspective to help nonprofits reach their goals. We support our clients with advice, direction and best practices.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Non-Profit Business Intelligence – Don’t Miss Out

Posted by Dean Quiambao

In a world of ever-changing technology and rapid paced work and life commitments, most managers and board members are looking for ways to improve the operations of their organization without having to spend even more time than they already are or better yet, if they could do it while spending less time.   Is there really a solution that can really help improve operations and save time?
There is now and it’s called Business Intelligence (BI).  Business Discovery (BD) is the next generation of Business Intelligence.  It bridges the gap between traditional BI solutions and standalone office productivity applications, enabling users to forge new paths and make new discoveries about their operational and financial data.  Business Discovery tools are easy to use, maintain, scale to fit any organization, and offer:
  • Dashboards that speed up and simplify analytics
  • Help to users better understand their business and general market behavior
  • Instant “slice-n-dice” and drill down capabilities of organization data
  • Certain industry benchmarking and other useful comparative market metrics
  • A multi-dimensional dashboard view of key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics vs. customary one-dimensional views of similar data
  • Mobility so that management/boards can access and analyze data remotely or while on the road
  • Easy implementation

The for-profit world has been using BI to gain an advantage in the workplace for years now and with many, if not most, of the individuals that sit on Boards of not-for-profit organizations coming from the for-profit world, they too, are pushing for the advantages that BI offers them as individuals charged with governance of these organizations.  Not-for-profit CFOs, Directors of Finance, Business Managers and the like are also beginning to understand the importance of competitive advantage tools like BI and are rapidly seeking out solutions to help them take their organizations to the next level.

In a recent survey of approximately 300 attendees of a NBOA-sponsored webinar on dashboards for private schools, an overwhelming 96% of attendees voted that their Boards would LOVE to have a BD dashboard and/or are certain that their Boards would want a BI dashboard because of the usefulness the tool would provide them in making informative data-driven decisions about how best to govern their respective not-for-profit organizations.

It is obvious that the demand for BD dashboards exists within the not-for-profit community and for good reason.  However most are left asking the question as to how their organization can implement an effective BI tool that does not just offer the “technological” benefits of dashboards but combines those benefits with industry KPIs, benchmarking and other industry best practice/standard of expectation metrics.  The answer is that organizations must find a BI product provider that is not just rooted in the IT side of the product but has internal expertise specific to the industry in which the organization operates.

As your organization searches for a firm to support in the implementation of this tool, it is important to find one that is deeply entrenched in your industry so it can help customize the dashboard with industry KPIs and industry standard benchmark metrics that allow the organization to not only compare its own data to internal budgets, its own historical trends, etc. but the industry in which it operates as a whole as well as best of industry performance metrics.

Armanino McKenna is a leading BI consulting firm and our goal is to leverage our in-depth knowledge of BI development with our high level of expertise in the non-profit community to create those “industry-specific” dashboards at a price point that makes them affordable and attainable for any not-for-profit organization.
As we continue to develop these dashboards, we invite you to offer up your comments, questions and, most importantly, suggestions as to what the ideal BD dashboard would look like for YOUR organization. Working together, we are excited to develop the tools that will keep your organization at the forefront of your industry.
Feel free to share your comments below or send me a direct message here.

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