Companies that invest in business intelligence (BI) are able to identify and eliminate ineffective procedures, streamline operations, and achieve a competitive advantage over companies without BI.
Department heads have specialized responsibilities related to their unique domain. They may lead teams in sales, finance, purchasing, or executive management, and use BI to gain a detailed picture of what’s happening within their department. Yet, all managers share common responsibilities like managing employees, ensuring profitability, and implementing strategies. The use of BI empowers department managers to gain insight and improve these day-to-day duties.
Employee management before BI
A vital way to keep your employees focused is through the use of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Companies without BI traditionally measure KPIs through IT generated reports. This requires the manager to contact IT to request the report that may take up to a week before it reaches your desk. Very often the data in the report is outdated by this time.
Also, these IT reports are static as they only provide a snapshot of that point in time. A static report does not allow for any further analysis of why a sales team may be underperforming, for instance. While the report may offer insights into how much revenue your sales team has brought in, with a static report you are not able analyze your sales by individual sales rep, product line, or geographical area to determine the root cause. To uncover this, you would have to go back to IT for a new report, requiring more time and expense.
Employee management with BI
By using business intelligence (BI), a manager has instant access to a report with the most current data. As in the previous example, the underlying causes can now be queried following one’s train of thought, and insights can easily be gained that would be lost with traditional reporting. Now you have a clear explanation for a sales team’s underperformance – a product line may not be desirable to your target market, for instance. This insight can be queried again to identify the best geographical area for that product.
In Phocas, managers can share these discoveries with their team through easy to understand graphs and charts. Your team can leave comments and collaborate on reports for effective communication among team members. Department managers can collaborate to develop KPIs to rate other areas of employee performance such as the ability to meet performance goals, and so on. In previous blogs, we discussed how easy it is to measure key metrics in sales and inventory with business intelligence.
Ensuring profitability before BI
Each department head is responsible for ensuring the profitability of their domain. Yet, without access to timely and accurate reporting, it’s difficult to see where to cut costs and where new opportunities for revenue may lie. Traditionally, data is scattered throughout various sources such as an ERP system and numerous spreadsheets. Spreadsheet reporting is known for its potential for errors. An error in a single cell will throw off the accuracy of the entire report. Spreadsheets can be edited by anyone without any means to track who made the changes or when. Even more disconcerting is the lack of security measures when it comes to spreadsheets. They can be easily emailed or saved to a thumb drive to be taken off premises.
Ensuring profitability with BI
A quality BI tool provides managers with a 360 degree view of every area of your business. Phocas draws your data from multiple sources making it easy to access without compromising data quality. With real-time insight, you can see which processes can be streamlined to reduce cost, and you can quickly drill down in just a few clicks to uncover opportunities that both save time and increase revenue. Any manager with can benefit from BI. A sales manager may perform a gap analysis to uncover which customer group has stopped buying a certain product, a purchasing manager can use Phocas to identify slow-moving stock and respond before the inventory is useless, and a finance manager may work within Phocas Rebates to get an accurate view of their finances.
At Phocas we have many years of experience working with our retail, wholesale, and manufacturing costumers to ensure they get the most benefit from their data. We are honored to have achieved a 97% customer retention rate. Our customers love our product and have remained loyal users. In the largest independent review of BI software by BARC, Phocas has come out on top.
With Phocas, personalizing your data analytics is straightforward, or you can use out-of-the-box integration for the most important ERPs for manufacturing, wholesale distribution, and retail. This will enable you to be up and running in a matter of minutes. Once you’re up and running, you can customize the integrations to your unique business needs. As Michael Smith of Johnston Companies said, "Five minutes into the demo, I had found items that didn't have the margin I was expecting, customers that didn't have the profitability I was expecting and vendors that weren't performing the way I expected. I realized that we were onto something that would be very impactful to our business."
To learn how Phocas can help you discover your data’s untold stories, watch this 80 second video of Phocas in action.