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What is management information: an integrated approach in 10 steps

Photo Jan Bond
Author: Jan Bond
Management Information expert
Table of Contents

As an administrator, manager, or controller, you understand that good management information and KPIs are essential for effectively guiding your teams and organization. Rather than relying solely on opinions or intuitions, you want to base your decisions on facts and data. But what kind of information do you currently have? And if you have access to management information and KPIs, are they clear and SMART? Even if you’re not part of management, it can still be beneficial to understand how management information and KPIs could affect the way you work. In this article, we discuss the definition of management information, the role of Excel, and the complexities of utilizing management information. We also present our integrated approach and 7 tips to improve your management information.

What is management information?

To clarify exactly what management information is, we provide a definition here. That definition also shows the underlying purpose of management information.

Information that provides insight into the development and performance of processes, people, resources, capital and knowledge to control, adjust, and develop the organization.

This definition comes from the Data Science Book by Daan van Beek.

Excel is convenient but not the smartest solution

It is also well known that it is very labor-intensive to conjure up the right insights from all kinds of data sources. And you know that Excel is not the smartest solution for that. Because spreadsheets are very error-prone. 95% of spreadsheets contain one or more errors. When putting together management information, you see the following questions recurring:

  • How do you come up with a set of telling indicators and truly relevant insights?
  • How do you get rid of Excel and what affordable alternatives are available?
  • How will you use the information consistently for analysis, action, and process improvement?
  • How will you secure planning and control cycle numbers? How do you arrange feedback?
  • How do you automate the production of management information in a smart way?

Do these questions also play a role in your organization? Then our specialists can quickly help you on your way.

The SMART KPI Toolkit 2024

With this tool (in PDF format) you determine the most important KPIs and management information for your organization immediately after downloading. The SMART KPI Toolkit will help you compile crucial management information for your company and get your goals clear and measurable.

Management InformationFigure 1: Our proven model allows organizations to work smarter based on powerful information products such as the SMART KPI Toolkit.

The SMART KPI Toolkit is not a theoretical model, but a practical manual with which you can get started right away. Using six logical steps, you learn how to work with KPIs as effectively and efficiently as possible. These steps are explored in separate chapters. Without detours and to the point, you will design a management dashboard for your organization.


Why is creating management information such a complex process?

Navigating the intricacies of management information creation presents several challenges.

  • A process often results in an arsenal of reports and far too many indicators.
  • There may be imprecise definitions as a result of which decision-makers lose themselves in endless discussions
  • Management information must be linked to your strategic objectives
  • The data quality leaves much to be desired as a result of which decision-makers do not trust the information
  • Decisions are delayed because in-depth analysis of the management information is lacking

As a result, no proper (self)management can take place and your margins can quickly be diluted. Without a business intelligence foundation, these problems continue to crop up in the organization. And, unfortunately, often at the most undesirable times.

Do you recognize these challenges? Then it’s time to get acquainted with our integral approach to creating and effectively using management information.

Integrated approach: successful implementation in 10 steps

Our approach is characterized by a combination of expert knowledge, interaction, and fast results. Our experienced experts take a thorough and pragmatic approach and provide high-quality management information.

Phase 1: Awareness and designing management information

  • Step 1: The first phase starts with an intake and with optionally one or more awareness workshops and training sessions. We develop a vision of management information so that everyone is on the same page.
  • Step 2: In follow-up workshops, we will define the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and the so-called “high impact” insights. Three things are important here: your strategy, your processes, and the roles in your organization.
  • Step 3: We elaborate on the results from Step 2 and document them in a functional design and a visually appealing dashboard design.
  • Step 4: We recommend creating a prototype so users get a good idea of the possibilities.
  • Step 5: We conclude this phase with a plan of action for phase 2.

Request phase 1 proposal

Phase 2: Build, train and coach

  • Step 6: The building team goes to work based on the functional design. They describe the data sources needed and unlock them in a database, often a data warehouse.
  • Step 7: The organization chooses and purchases one or more BI tools. The construction team then uses those tools to create clear dashboards and reports. Of course, we have the users test these first.
  • Step 8: We train the users and coach them in the consistent use of the management information.
  • Step 9: We link the indicators and insights to the tasks, powers, and responsibilities of the employees.
  • Step 10: We will set up a feedback system so that the teams can continuously learn, improve, and innovate.

Request phase 2 proposal

Is management information only for managers?

You still hear some people say that management information is only for managers. In our view, this is nonsense. Management information should be shared with as many people as possible: employees, customers, and suppliers. That gives power of expression and reveals an enormous improvement potential. Together you can achieve much more in optimizing certain processes and themes. And you want everyone to have access to good management information. Of course, you won’t achieve this transparency overnight. Your teams but especially the management will have to get used to it first. Give them that time too, especially when their dashboard is (still) turning red.

In-depth framework management information & tools

Here are some articles you can use to improve your organization’s information management.

Tools for defining and generating management information come in all shapes and sizes. We did extensive research on them.

The book on MI: ‘Data Science Book’

Management InformationOur complete management information book (completely revised edition) covers the entire spectrum of management information. With the goal of achieving better management, optimizing processes and making organizations substantially more intelligent. A proven model that we have been successfully working with for fifteen years and that we refine and expand frequently. Order it now.

Data Science book

What good information gets your company:

  • Higher quality of service and more successful (self) management
  • Unambiguous definitions lead to more dialogue about the numbers themselves
  • A solid foundation to make the right decisions faster
  • A useful tool for continuously monitoring and adjusting improvement actions
  • An organization that is becoming increasingly intelligent and agile

Not to mention: no more abuse of Excel. Get rid of the many spreadsheets.

Perspective planning & control & PDCA

Good management information ensures that departments and teams can work together much better. But also, the different levels in your organization will do more together. This gives you more grip and better control of your processes. And so your organization can start to achieve greater returns.

Score faster together with the same control language

Employees and managers who speak the same control language can score faster together. They will steer from top to bottom on indicators with the same definition. Your organization can thus become more in control, while at the same time creating more room for creativity.

7 tips for better management information

You can substantially improve the quality of your management information with the following tips. Research among more than 400 organizations shows that the following factors are essential to stimulating the use of management information. In order of importance:

  1. Fine-tune KPI dashboards and reports to the audiences and roles in your organization. This proves critical to the success of a management information system.
  2. Prevent an arsenal of reports that makes it difficult for users to see the forest for the trees. Offer the right number of reports: not too many, not too few.
  3. Use color wisely, create easy-to-read, simple charts and other more sophisticated data visualizations. Keep in mind that about 8% of men suffer from some form of color blindness.
  4. Provide management information with a standard layout. This simplifies the use of the information provided. It also makes your reports and dashboards easier to maintain.
  5. Provide interactive analysis capabilities in the reports and dashboards. Make it possible for your users to zoom right in on the details and analyze the information from multiple angles. So they can easily get to the bottom line.
  6. Provide good explanations of management information in the form of a caption and definition manual. That way you prevent multiple versions of the truth from emerging. And you also thus prevent users from drawing conclusions that are incorrect or inconsistent with other conclusions.
  7. Provide a thorough information analysis so that management information can perfectly match the user’s needs and roles in the process.

Finally, always use an improvement cycle

It is necessary for success to embed management information in an improvement method such as Dr. Deming’s Plan Do Check Act cycle (PDCA). This offers great opportunities for control and continuous performance improvement.

Do you also want to make progress with management information?

Contact us for an appointment with our consultants about the possibilities of management information for your organization. We have many years of experience with building good management information (MI) in numerous sectors.

About Passionned Group

Logo Passionned Group, the expert in Management InformationPassionned Group is a leading specialist in the design and implementation of management information. Our experienced consultants and project managers help larger and smaller organizations to become intelligent, data-driven organizations.

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Our experts in management information and data-driven working

Photo Jan Bond - Expert Management InformationJAN BOND MScExpert Management Information
Photo Daan van Beek - CEO and Management ConsultantDAAN VAN BEEK MScCEO and Management Consultant
Photo Wouter Huisman - Management Consultantdrs. WOUTER HUISMANManagement Consultant

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