Overview with tools, software, best practices and alternatives
What are Interdepartmental Reports?
Interdepartmental reports are reports coming from or between various departments of an organization. It generally involves information and updates on the team’s activities, performance, standing, and development and it may include the team’s objectives, strategies, and actions, along with the accomplishments and issues of its team members.
Who does Interdepartmental Reports?
Interdepartmental reports can be done by any team in an organization. While business teams are generally known to make and submit reports to their members and leaders, other fields that can utilize interdepartmental reports include science, technology, healthcare, education, research, and arts.
Why do Teams do Interdepartmental Reports?
Teams do interdepartmental reports for the following reasons.
Communication is a primary reason behind the use of interdepartmental reports. All organizations need to communicate about the status and progress of the tea team, organization, and projects. Without communication, questions will not get answers and information will be incomplete, which will prevent team members from achieving their goals.
Interdepartmental reports inform and update team members about the standing and development of the group, the organization, and the project itself. With the information included in the report, teams will be able to know what is happening in various teams and they will be able to reassess, plan, strategies, implement actions, and evaluate outcomes.
How to do Interdepartmental Reports / Ways to do Interdepartmental Reports
Interdepartmental reports provide important and reliable information about the performance, activities, standing, and development of the team, the project, and the team’s affiliates.
While the reports are divided according to the departments in an organization, teams should agree with a standard method on how to do them. Specifics, such as the report’s contents and format, should be uniform to all departments for them to be able to compare and contrast information more easily and more quickly.
Generally, reports include details on the team’s achievements and issues, in addition to plans, strategies, actions, and outcomes. While there are various departments in a large organization, each department should standardize these details in the interdepartmental report to come up with a smooth reporting process.
Advantages of doing Interdepartmental Reports
Interdepartmental reports demonstrate efficiency to the team and the business for the following reasons.
Interdepartmental reports allow teams to know the activities, performance, status, and progress of a certain department in an organization. Since the report also contains the department’s accomplishments and problems, team leaders and managers will be able to check the departments that maintain its productivity, along with those that need assistance from them.
Another benefit of using interdepartmental reports is its distant feature. Teams that work far from each other, such as virtual teams, are favored by this reporting format. They will be able to send information to and from other members of the team, even if they are in various locations and time zones. As an effect, there would be a continuous flow of information and updates, which help the team to infer, conclude, and decide.
Disadvantages of doing Interdepartmental Reports
Interdepartmental reports certainly help the team in a number of ways; however, there are also some instances in which it can put negative impact to the business team.
The fragmented nature of interdepartmental reports is one disadvantage of the reporting format. Since there would be different reports coming from the various departments of the organization. Team leaders and managers will not have the entire grasp of what is happening in the whole organization. This comes worse if a certain department is not able to submit its report on time, as it delays the formulation of plans, development of strategies, and implementation of actions.
Some reports have online nature and this serves as another con of using interdepartmental reports. With a stable internet access, along with a laptop or a smart device, team members will be able to send and receive information and updates to and from other members of the team easily and quickly. However, poor or absent internet connection will render them unable to send information to their teammates.
Best Practices for doing Interdepartmental Reports
Interdepartmental reports in business help team members and leaders to be fully informed, updated, and aware of the status and progress of the team and the project itself.
One good practice in doing interdepartmental reports is the standardized format that will be followed by all departments in an organization. If the departments are just left to do their own report, there is a possibility that their output may lack data that is important to the review of team leaders and managers. To standardize reports, team leaders should agree on a specific format that all teams will follow, in order for the leaders and managers to see what they need to see in the report.
Another commendable practice in doing interdepartmental reports is the schedule of submission. Leaders of each department should agree on a specific date or period of time, in which all departments should comply. The time should be set convenient to all teams and their members. This way, there would be no delays on the submission of information and updates, allowing teams and its members to formulate plans, strategies, and actions.
Since communication is vital in the reporting process, the kind of language used in the report should be one that can be understood by all members of the team. While the teams are may be in various locales and time zones, they should set a common language that can be used to convey information and updates, which will help the readers to understand the contents of the report. As much as possible, jargons and acronyms should be limited, since they may have several meanings. To add, a short glossary could be added at the end of the report for the benefit of other readers of the report.
How Teamreporter helps Teams at doing Interdepartmental Reports
Teamreporter is a reporting application that helps teams to reduce the number of their meetings through the help of scheduled report mails. Signing up for an account can be done in just less than a minute and teams with at most four members can use the application for free.
Teamreporter’s automated and user-friendly interface enables its users to send and receive information and updates to and from other members of the team easily and quickly. Teamreporter initiates the reporting process by sending e-mail notifications to the team members, asking them to send pertinent information, such as their plans, activities, and accomplishments. With their replies, Teamreporter will generate a data summary, which will be sent the following day.
Another benefit of Teamreporter is the help it provides to team leaders and managers. As leaders of the team or organization, they will receive reports from other members through application, suggesting the team’s overall status and progress. This way, leaders and managers will also identify members who do their tasks efficiently and perform well, along with those members who need further assistance. In addition, leaders and managers can take data from Teamreporter as reference when they make their own reports and training modules.
Teamreporter is also flexible, allowing its users to utilize it without affecting work flow and work environment. Users can change the structure of questions and the schedule of mail reports in the application’s interface. In addition, they can change the list of members who will receive the reports and those members who need to send reports. Moreover, the application can be used by teams along with the existing applications they are using.
Alternatives to Interdepartmental Reports
Interdepartmental reports are effective in information dissemination in teams; however, business teams can also take into account some alternatives that the team can use or do when doing reports.
Team can make interdepartmental reports via paper or e-mail. Paper-based reports do not require the use of internet access and it saves electricity. However, these reports are vulnerable to water, chemicals, and fire. E-mail reports, on the other hand, are more modern ways of reporting. In one click, users can send information and updates to their teammates, regardless of time and location. However, e-mail reports cannot be sent if the internet access is poor or absent. To add, e-mails reports are prone to acquiring viruses and getting hacked.
The use of reporting applications and software is also the modern alternatives to paper-based and online interdepartmental reports. Available online and in smart devices, team members, leaders, and affiliates can easily download them for either personal or business use. However, being products of technology still hold these applications and software susceptible to being infiltrated by viruses or hacking mechanisms.
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