Best practice #4: Manage expectations proactively

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So far in our journey of the best practices for information management, reporting and analytics, we have learned about the importance of securing executive sponsorship,   having a solid understanding of stakeholders needs and integrating all the data needed to make this happen.

Now that stakeholders realize that you know their needs and you have access to all the data, they will begin wondering, “When am I going to get the reports and analysis that we’ve been discussing?” I have to say… it’s not uncommon for stakeholders to view reporting and analytics software as some kind of all-powerful “magic.” They can ask for anything and instantly get whatever they want, however they want it.

Stakeholder wish lists can get long, unwieldy and unattainable – especially if you are just starting off on your reporting and analytics journey.  This is why best practice #4 - manage expectations proactively is so important. Effective reporting and analytics require that you invest in significant data preparation, integration and planning before anyone can have useful reporting.

So when engaging with stakeholders, listen actively to their wish lists, help them prioritize what’s most important to them and say “no” when you have to. Focus on what’s achievable now – and save the rest for mid- and long-range plans. By being open and honest about what you can deliver (and when), you can help people have realistic expectations (the key to having happy customers) and build their trust.

Setting clear expectations is particularly important when working with upper-level managers, such as the board of regents (higher education) and superintendents (K-12), as they will expect certain things to be shown in reports from day one. The message to convey to them is, “We hear you. We will be able to deliver core analytics first – not the kitchen sink. If we can give you everything you want from day one, we will. If we can’t, we will focus on the most important metrics first and we’ll add on more later.”

Stay tuned in for more best practices from future posts in this series. If you are excited about learning all the tips, read the full white paper now: 10 Tips from SAS Education customers.

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Georgia Mariani

Principal Product Marketing Manager

Georgia Mariani is the Principal Product Marketing Manager for the Education Industry.

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