Business intelligence and data analytics represent the evolution of companies shifting their focus from outputs to outcomes. There was a time when software could only provide a snapshot of data and information to business leaders, never giving them the chance to stay updated on current metrics. Today that has all changed.
New software solutions provide each functional department within a company actionable data in real-time. This new frontier is excellent, but does everyone have a grasp on how analytics can help dictate business outcomes? To understand the importance of data, it is worth acknowledging the various ways business can connect their metrics to business outcomes. Here are eight ways to connect business data analytics to business outcomes.
Notice your problems
Before you fully utilize your data analytics tools, you first need to understand where your company is coming up short. Is customer satisfaction lagging? Are inventory costs piling up? Why is it taking a long time for customers to receive deliveries? First, take a moment to notice troubling metrics and then create a plan to monitor and address them.
Make data analytics a business principle
For data analytics to truly thrive in your company, you have to ensure that it is a part of your business’s overall identity. Do you mention metrics and analytics in your business principles and vision? How do metrics fit into overall business success? Incorporating the importance of measurement into your business mission, vision, and plans will set an example for all staff.
Revealing departmental barriers
Taking a closer look at data can reveal gaps or barriers due to the departmental structure. Is there some data that has overlap with two functional departments, but only one is receiving and acting on it? Should they be joined together on more projects? Also, does each department need a data professional or is there a need for a data team to help all departments? Seeing the scope of data and how departments are interacting with it can reveal some valuable insights on company structure.
Make a case for change
If you think you need to hire more marketers, or you need to change your product offering, you first need to consult the data. Making blind decisions never benefits anyone, and a focus on data analytics will help you make a case for building a plan for change within the organization. If specific business outcomes are at stake, utilizing data may be what you need to convince your team to embrace another tactic.
Better meet customer demands
As mentioned above, real-time actionable data can give you immediate insight into problem areas. One that many companies are always looking to improve on is meeting customer demands. The right data can reveal how long it takes for a representative to handle a customer problem, the status of order fulfillment and delivery processes, and many other customer service related data analytics. There may be a lot you want to change in this category, so always start with the highest priority issues and work your way down.
Expertly manage costs
How much money is turnover costing you? Do you know if your inventory holding costs are rising? Is every piece of technology producing an acceptable ROI? Data analytics gives you a glimpse into how you can meet your business objectives in a much leaner way. You can cut equipment, products, and processes that don’t work while optimizing what does. Managing costs may be one of the most crucial results of monitoring data, so always having your eye on what is happening in real-time is essential.
Give your customers the products and services they want
It is vital to know which products are catching on with customers, but it is even better to understand why. Do they respond to a specific version of the product over another? How much are they responding to price? How much does demographics play a part in this? Data analytics gives you all the information you need to either discontinue a product, add a new specification to one, or develop a new product entirely. This has a lot of positive implications such as an increase in customer satisfaction, a lift in revenue, and better insight into product development. Make sure you have access to a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that can easily export data to your business intelligence software to ensure visibility (find recommendations here)
You cannot meet your business objectives if employees are continually leaving the company. The cost and time that goes into training employees is not something to ignore. So, the right metrics could help you hire better talent that has a higher chance of staying, provide necessary training and development, guide managers on how to give feedback, and even reasonably calculate raises and bonuses. Data analytics are not just solely for increasing profits. They can help you make decisions that will encourage workers to stick around longer.
Data analytics may seem like a passing buzzword, but the concept is here to stay. To know where you want to go, you first have to understand where you have been and how you got to where you are. Metrics allow you to do this while also helping you to prepare to optimize and improve business situations. The key is to identify and prioritize problem areas and then find a system that will give you all the real-time actionable insights you need. A move like this will allow you to take charge of your business outcomes in the long-term.
Chanell Alexander is a writer for TechnologyAdvice. She is a freelance writer and digital marketing strategist. She has over seven years of experience in the nonprofit field, and enjoys blending innovative technology solutions with communications. When she is not writing, Chanell enjoys travelling, contributing to video game blogs, and embracing her inner foodie. See what else Chanell has been up to on her LinkedIn profile and Twitter page.
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