"Data will talk if you're willing to listen to it" – Jim Bergeson.
Using a software system to run a business is no longer considered an exception. Most companies that are beating their competitors have, at their heart, some software. Sometimes this has been bought off the shelf, covers a certain percentage of the business, and is supplemented by Excel spreadsheets and written notes. Other times, it is a bespoke piece of software that was carefully designed to encode the business logic unique to your business. Most times, it is somewhere in between. However, there are always computers, and where there are computers, there is software. And where there is software, there is data. But is that data good for anything other than the purpose it was input for – to get your work done? Could that data help you develop your business?
Using Data to Differentiate
As economies mature, businesses inevitably get leaner and more efficient, which results in prices becoming increasingly competitive. Therefore, to make money in the same industry over time, you must evolve, like the market you are part of. This can be done by offering a better service than everyone else or creating other USPs (unique selling points). I have chatted about this and how software can help you achieve that. However, another way to set yourself apart is by using your data to direct the resources in your company in the most efficient way.
Have you ever asked yourself any of the following questions:
What is the actual margin that I sell my product for?
What does the product or service I have just sold cost me?
Who are my most and least profitable customers?
How am I doing this month against the same month in the last number of years?
Against specific criteria, how are each of my employees doing in real time this month?
Using Data to Drive Your Business
These and other questions allow you as a company to make informed choices based on objective, up–to–date data. For example, imagine instead of sitting in your monthly board meeting and receiving a report that is already out of date, you had access to the same data when you wanted it and in real–time. How would that change how you reacted as a business? How many problems could you foresee and fix before they were problems? This is making your data work for you.
Within Nitec, we initially worked with a company to design a system that efficiently manages and runs their business. However, using the data we have collected to make this happen to inform and evolve the company should always be the goal. And if we work closely with you, you too could hear your data talk – it may surprise you what it says.