How well do you know your business?
Business owners, decision makers and managers put your hand up. Now keep your hand up if you believe you know your business and department inside out. Now, keep your hand up if you can present stats, facts and figures, right now, to back up your assumptions and beliefs of your company and department performance? Often, at this question, the number of hands in the air decreases.
Senior executives in a business often have basic data on the performance of their company, but they tend to lack accurate, hard evidence for more complex statistics outside of profit and loss reports, or it takes hours or days of manual work to try and pull the information together from disparate sources.
The decision makers within the company have great gut instincts and know the company well, but assumptions and gut instincts can only push the company forward so far before performance becomes stagnant. TB Davies, a ladder and scaffolding tower specialist who are a prof.ITplus user, explain how, “[the] staff now base decisions on factual, accurate business data, rather than ‘best guess’ or intuition. The Business Intelligence module has improved efficiency across the business”. When looking to develop a business strategy, you must consider the value of Business Intelligence tools and whether it’s possible to create an effective strategy without having reliable company performance data at your disposal?
What is Business Intelligence?
Business Intelligence refers to technologies and applications that collect, process, analyse and present company information and data to help managers and decision makers make informed, accurate business decisions. The tool collects data from internal systems, often from an ERP system, and external sources to prepare in-depth, advanced reports of the complete business operation. BI technologies provide historical, current and predictive data, in a dashboard reporting style, of business operations and performance.
Delve deeper into your data
Having data about your company is one thing but compiling that into digestible reports for analysis is another. It’s important for companies, looking to grow or expand, to report on more than headline stats. Sales revenue, order amounts and profit and loss reports have their place but to drive a business forward it’s key for decision makers to understand the performance of all working parts of the business in order to spot trends, highlight success, improve on the negatives and set targets for future performance.
Every company should have a Business Intelligence tool that integrates with their business software for clear, accurate reporting on delivery performance, employee activity, CRM activity, KPI reporting, aged dept, stock shortage, spend analysis and stock turn analysis.
Know your key performers
Key performers relate to staff and products. Company reporting allows you to move beyond top level stats and understand trends to present reasons why certain processes work well and how to replicate that in other areas of the business. In-depth reporting provides you with the answers you need to continually better the company.
For example, your top-level sales reports have identified your best-selling product is a low-cost item that makes up 75% of your revenue. This could seem like the best product to stock and push in your marketing. However, when you delve deeper in the product performance and you take into consideration the admin and purchasing costs compared to the profit margin on the item, it means that your team are working hard for little return. But if you have an item that currently makes up 25% of your sales revenue but has a much higher profit margin, your marketing and sales efforts are better utilised focused on this product to maximise return and grow your business.
Know your customers to know your business
Having an integrated CRM that your Business Intelligence tool can communicate with is a goldmine to your company. Understanding your customer’s habits, needs and buying trends is key to generating more sales and retaining your customers.
Companies can make informed decisions on which products to push based on customer purchasing patterns. What are customers buying, what are they no longer buying that they used to, are there seasonal trends, are there cross-selling or up-selling opportunities?
This information will ensure your marketing efforts and sales rep’s time is spent effectively for maximum return.
Really understand your business
Businesses that are looking to push their company forward that have little visibility of their current performance need to consider the value of this data. Understand the power and control over your company that Business Intelligence tools and an integrated ERP system can bring.