For many working in stakeholder engagement, spreadsheets may be the first data management tool that comes to mind. However, spreadsheets don’t provide the searchability, traceability and collaborative data management you need to keep up with regulatory requirements and/or reporting needs. In this blog, we share five important stakeholder engagement practices you can’t do with spreadsheets and offer a software solution to solve these spreadsheet deficiencies.
1. See the ‘Big Picture’
With stakeholder information scattered in different places and entered inconsistently in spreadsheets, it’s hard to find relevant information to help you understand things like stakeholder issues or key trends and themes in your data.
When your data is hard to find, search through, or understand, it’s nearly impossible to see how it all connects, leaving you questioning things like the status of outstanding issues or knowing which stakeholders you need to follow up with.
Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM) software with traceability. Traceability allows you to understand the history of engagement with a stakeholder and where an issue, commitment, or task came from, and what it’s connected to.
To learn more about how traceability can help you see the big picture in your engagement, check out our blog!
For example, with the Jambo SRM, you can click on a stakeholder profile, view and access all previous engagement information associated with that stakeholder, such as their contact information or notes, communications you’ve had with them, details of issues they were involved in, or even commitments you’ve made to them. There’s no need to search across spreadsheets or databases; you can quickly understand the big picture and drill into records, such as a communication log, to see other connected information, like what issues or commitments came up at that same meeting.
2. Pull Together Comprehensive Reports
During stakeholder engagement, it’s not uncommon to be asked to run a report on “everything,” but how do you run a comprehensive report if you can’t be sure where “everything” is.
This is compounded when you consider additional documents like PDFs or other attachments, and you’re not sure where the final version that was sent is located. Worse yet, after you’ve taken all that time to create your report, what happens if something important changes? Is it possible to quickly and accurately make changes to your reports, or is it a big effort to report again?
An SRM with a robust reporting feature can easily compile a concise or detailed report in minutes. Report on things like interactions that occurred during a certain time frame, the full lifecycle of an entire engagement program, or simply project issues with a high priority that have an expiry date of this month. An SRM like Jambo even has the ability to download attachments (i.e. PDF's, images, etc.) in your reports, making it simple to download and share "everything" when needed.
Want to learn more about how SRM reports help your stakeholder engagement projects? Check out our blog!
3. Integrate All Your Stakeholder Information
Email is one of the most common communication forms when communicating with stakeholders. However, it can be challenging to integrate your stakeholder emails into your spreadsheets (due to formatting, attachments, space limitations, etc.). Due to these difficulties, your data is often added incorrectly, your teams might procrastinate adding the data or even forget about it entirely, which leaves gaps in your data.
While spreadsheets can’t automatically log your email to a record, a good SRM will. An SRM with email integration, like Jambo, even has system logic that will translate the emails into readable communication records and associate them with known stakeholders within the system, adding any email attachments to their records. Jambo can even convert your original email into a PDF and add it as an attachment so you have it as part of your supporting documentation.
To learn more about the importance of data management, check out our blog!
4. Lower Organizational Risk
Stakeholder engagement and consultation has inevitable risks that can arise with stakeholder issues, legal expectations, data privacy/security, or the need to prove adequate consultation occurred. Spreadsheets are often stored on local computers and aren’t shared easily across teams, creating risks of information silos or questions over what’s most up to date.
When you leave your risk management up to spreadsheets, it’s challenging to know if you’ve covered your bases. You need to be sure all your data is inputted correctly, has no duplicate records, and isn’t missing any important information. It’s also critical to know who can access your spreadsheets so you can maintain an acceptable level of data security.
De-risk your project by looking for an SRM with the following features:
- User permissions give account administrators the ability to provide multi-level access to users. Jambo allows account admins to control the projects users can view or edit and restrict access to select fields, such as financial information and confidential stakeholder notes.
- SRMs with automated history tracking allow you to quickly review who made what changes and when helping to ensure record authenticity and transparency.
- Additional security options like two-factor authentication (2FA) make it significantly harder for unauthorized persons to gain access to your private stakeholder information.
- Colour coded issues management materiality matrixes allow you to easily identify issues by impact and priority to better understand and communicate the risks facing your project. A good issues management module will also allow you to easily track the history of the issue and maintain a record of all communications surrounding the issue.
To learn more about how to de-risk your projects with SRM, visit our blog!
5. Create an Efficient Input Process
With multiple versions of spreadsheets floating around in emails and on desktops, duplicates are common. Time can be wasted digging through data, searching for information only to find out you aren’t even looking at the most current version. It’s also easy to procrastinate or start making up your own data input process because the spreadsheet process created by others is inconsistent and confusing.
A powerful, easy to use SRM like Jambo will instantly reduce the volume of ad-hoc data management and make the entire stakeholder management process simpler, faster, more consistent and much more effective.
Spreadsheets are a temporary solution when you want to effectively manage your important stakeholder data; for a more future-focused solution for your stakeholder management efforts, it’s time to switch to an SRM.
Is it time to stop using spreadsheets for stakeholder information management? Download our checklist to find out.