Why Digitalization Matters in the Audit and Certification Industry
As the pandemic painfully showed, digitalization has become an absolute necessity to secure your business, and best serve your clients. Without digital workflows, organizations are vulnerable to several problems during forced working from home, travel restrictions, and more.
Digitalization has massive benefits like increased efficiency, better oversight, and more effective management. Intact’s digital data management and business intelligence solutions let you know what’s going on in your organization so you can react to problems in real-time, optimize inefficient areas, and act on potential opportunities. In this day in age, having complete oversight of your operations and the ability to react quickly can be the difference between your success and failure.
Digitalization is also crucial for data integrity. It’s impossible for paper-based data systems or outdated software to offer the same level of data governance and integrity that Intact’s well-working digitalized model will ensure. Having the highest possible level of data integrity while auditing, assessing, and certifying organizations is in everyone’s best interest. Delaying the switch to digital data management can be detrimental to your mission as an audit or certification organization.
The Importance of Business Intelligence
Proper business intelligence (BI) has always been critical for an organization’s success, and its importance is amplified as digitalization efforts increase. Intact’s BI systems serve as your central information hub where you can make informed decisions and reap the benefits of your other digital processes while identifying existing problems within those efforts.
BI is where your data comes together in a central location so that you can realize the benefits of your overall process digitalization. Intact BI shows you your status quo, problems, and opportunities while providing you the tools to optimize results and efficiency. There are many benefits to initiating a BI solution, and we have tips to help you avoid common mistakes made when implementing such solutions to maximize benefits.
Tips to Maximize the Benefits of Business Intelligence
1. Ask is BI what you’re looking for?
Most of the issues users encounter with BI are due to mismanaged expectations. BI solutions monitor and optimize your business operations in many ways, but it’s not a one-fits-all approach to solving business problems and digitalization.
It’s important to discuss your pain points and what you’d like a solution to accomplish before deciding to go with BI. If you’re looking for an automated AI-based solution to help you plan for risk-based auditing, you may be looking for something like Intact Analytics – or perhaps all you need is a system that provides better oversight during the audit process without the need for result analysis.
2. Define what’s important
Whether you’re a certification body or standard-setter or are executing internal audit management for your company, you certainly have valuable data available. Determining which data is useful, however, depends largely on what you want to know, and the valuable data you need could be buried in loads of irrelevant data. A BI solution that is set up without being clear about what you are looking for will likely fail.
Before implementing your BI solution, identify the challenges you would like it to solve and questions you would like it to answer. For example, if you want to make risk-based decisions in your audit management, you need to look at the data of previous audits. The identified data needs to be cleansed and prepared for analysis based on the questions you have defined to maximize the benefits of BI.
3. Consider data quality
No matter your goals, the quality of your data should always be a point of focus for you. If you enter low-quality (i.e., incomplete, biased, or incorrect) data, unfortunately, you will get bad results, even if the system works perfectly and the dashboards have been set up correctly. Make sure, your entire team is aware of the importance of this matter and train them adequately to avoid this problem.
Your audit and certification software solution also has a large effect on the quality of your data. Use a system that helps you manage your data along the entire audit trail, like the Intact Platform.
4. Build the right dashboards
The specifics of your BI dashboards and how they appear primarily depend on the questions you want to answer. However, there are some basic principles that you should take into account when building dashboards.
Ideally, dashboards are built with a collaborative team of at least one domain expert, a data engineer, and a BI-specific designer/engineer. The domain expert knows what to look for and what pitfalls to be aware of, while the data engineer has profound knowledge on how to organize and extract data to ensure operability. The BI designer/engineer job then builds the visual tools needed, including dashboards. Other experts may be required depending on your desired capabilities. Check out my article on the Data Science Dream Team to learn more.
One of the essential aspects of dashboards is clarity. It might sound trivial or even contradictory, but dashboards should not be overloaded with information. You should be able to find the most critical data easily and consider building a second or multiple dashboards to answer your other secondary questions. Also, you can make your dashboards accessible to all users by adding an explanation or ‘tooltip’ to every number, graph, or map included that explains precisely what the indicator means, how it was calculated, and how it should be interpreted.
5. Think ahead
Some of your business challenges may require additional tools used in collaboration with BI to be solved. It’s important to think about your larger software stack and data infrastructure when implementing a BI system.
BI could highlight efficiency problems with your ERP system or demonstrate that you have issues with planning your risk-based audits. Discoveries like these may highlight the need for collaboration with other tools like the Intact Platform or AI-based software to help with decision-making and predicting outcomes.
The bottom line is that you should think about your total system versus viewing BI as an isolated part of your digitalization efforts.
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On-Demand Webinar: Leverage Audit and Certification Data
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Our experts will guide you through the latest advancements in audit data management, show you how to start your data journey, and answer frequently asked questions.