Effective CSR Data Management
Initial Research Findings
The ReScore Group recently conducted surveys and interviews of 50 sustainability professionals to understand the main motivations and mechanisms for tracking and reporting CSR and sustainability data. 78 percent of the companies interviewed had a sustainability strategy in place and were tracking some type of sustainability data. Surprising, 38 percent of the participating companies were relying on Microsoft Excel to capture this data. While Excel may appear to be a more cost-efficient way of managing CSR data initially, Excel is actually quite costly in terms of administrative time spent and level of difficulty to track and audit documents. In general, using Excel for tracking and management of data tends to deliver lower quality results. Companies that move beyond Excel have found software solutions to be easier and more effective in saving time and money.
When asked what essential capabilities are missing from the system the interviewee is currently using, a variety of answers came up. Consultants have noted the importance of visual aspects, such as the ability to generate charts and graphs to see trends, as well as a customizable dashboard that allows users to see what they want to know. Auto-populating data from other corporate systems; the ability to export data into reports and spreadsheets; and a system to email notifications to ensure timely reports and corrective actions were all things interviewees were looking for in a perfect system. Many end-users wanted better customization, such as the ability to adapt to multiple reporting frameworks, and clear definitions of metrics upon implementation in order for facilities to accurately track and report the right data. With software solutions ongoing efforts in addressing clients needs, end users will in the short and long run benefit from the continuously improving services they deliver.
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