To keep an edge in our increasingly tech saturated world, successful businesses must lean on quality and timely business metrics and data intelligence.
KPMG's Global CEO Outlook indicates that 67% (up from 59% in 2018) of CEOs say that acting with agility is the new currency of business and being too slow risks bankruptcy or irrelevance.
The article also suggests the need for CEO's to anticipate their requirements for current and future decisions by gleaning insights from data-driven analysis.
So while the business intelligence industry is expected to grow to $30 billion dollars by 2022, there are still many sectors in the marketplace where BI has not penetrated and the lack of data analysis and data intelligence is negatively affecting profit margins and operational efficiency.
To maintain a competitive advantage in the burgeoning technical age, companies will need to adopt a data-driven mentality and culture.
The Main Hurdles And How To Beat Them
First, it takes time to find the data, then it takes time to organize it into meaningful reports, then it takes time to distribute those reports, then it takes time to consume the information on those reports (especially if in the dreaded spreadsheet non visualized format) then it takes time to glean insights from the data in those reports and finally it takes time dialogue those insights with stake holders and decide on a direction to move in. (whew, take a breath!)
And ain't no one got time for all that!
We recently spoke with a client who was extremely frustrated with how long it takes him to go through all the different spreadsheet reports from all departments in his business. The time (and therefore money and productivity) costs are huge!
The simplest solution to this problem is to get a visual BI tool that automates the work of collating data and generating reports.
A solid BI tool will also enable quick visualizations of data so you don't have to "read" the data. The charts tell you the story of the data in pictures, so at a glance you can get a solid view of what's going on in your business without the mental gymnastics of pouring over the raw data.
Garbage in, garbage out – or nothing in, nothing out.
A BI tool is only as good as the data feeding it.
We recently worked with a client who wanted to track ROI on marketing activity.
After looking through their data it was discovered to be impossible because they did not have their CRM and chart of accounts set up to allow for that kind of tracking.
Their customers weren't tagged with the campaign source that generated the lead and their books didn't have a category dedicated to tracking marketing campaign expenses.
In another case a customer had not gone through the process of reconciling their books regularly so the money metrics were totally wonky and presented an inaccurate picture of reality.
Inherent in the challenge with systems is time. It takes work and time to get your systems set up correctly - and not just so you can get customers signed up and track transactions - but so you can understand how you get and lose customers, and also earn and lose money.
We've found the best approach to getting systems correctly organized is to do it a little at a time. Dedicate an hour a day to system optimization.
This reduces the stress of having a major overhaul hanging over your head and also helps you feel like your making progress and accomplishing something.
Rather than procrastinating for months and months, you can have have the project done in a month and the business will be much better for it.
This is one of the HUGE benefits of adopting a data-driven mindset. It sort of forces companies to get their act together with their systems, processes and software stack so everything syncs and is optimized for tracking, tagging and reporting.
Data integrity is dependent on process and system consistency. This is more of the garbage in-garbage out idea.
Couple best practice ideas:
Avoid the urge to get your system perfect "now". Rather be consistent with making the desired improvements spending dedicated time daily until the job is done.
Establish solid data entry processes. If the data isn't entered the same then you run in to redundancy issues and the inability to create consistent reporting.
Also, be consistent about reviewing data entry processes to make improvements, catch mistakes and discourage laziness.
Finally, be consistent with your methods of data analysis. Make sure you're always viewing data through consistent lenses and be clear when those lenses change.
If you're a business owner and you don't have clear access to your data and aren't reaping intelligent decisions from that data, then it may be time to begin adopting a data driven mindset.
Start simple, and be consistent about making the improvements and changes.
You'll start to see the benefits quickly.