Reports, what Reports?

Posted on Sat 14 March 2015
Written by Flexi-Grant

Written by Keith, MD of Fluent Technology, grant management guru, process engineer, frequent flyer, father of 3, ufology geek and keen cook.

While giving a product demonstration last week I was inevitably asked “What reports do you have?”.  I hate that question!  Why?  Because I know as soon as I start to show any standard reports that we have in Flexi-Grant I will invariably hear: “That’s great but what I really need is…”.    As a result I try to avoid showing reports as an immediate response to that question!

The preferred structure and layout of reports is a very personal thing.  We know what we like when we see it and we know what we really need when we don’t have it.  Some people like numbers and lots and lots of detail.  Others like summary or exception reports and are content that the detail can be drilled into if they need it.  Some people like charts and graphs, others see these as disguising the truth.  Fundamentally the point we need to agree on is exactly what are you trying to measure or monitor and why?

I try as much as possible to bring any conversation about reports around to a discussion on what information is needed to ensure that all aspects of a grant scheme are running as efficiently and effectively as possible.  Regardless of how the information is delivered it is vital to ensure that what information is required is clearly identified and available.  If we can agree what you need to satisfy yourself that your schemes are running well then we can deliver that information in a format that works for you (and, if needed a different format for other users).  As Aesop (he of fables fame) said, “Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.”   If you find that when you ask about reports a supplier simply starts showing you reports, they are not really listening and are missing the point.



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