It’s time to perform first aid on your data
New technologies can cause information overload leaving decision makers trying to make sense of haemorrhaging data. With data stored deep in your ERP and CRM systems, the only people able to make sense of the numbers are the IT doctors with the know-how of extracting the relevant information to treat your queries.
However, “as companies focus on growth and business development, the availability of quality information is crucial to making quick, rational business decisions,” A.T. Kearney.
Recent findings from a qualitative research project, conducted by the Manchester Business School and the Lancaster Management School, indicate concerns that ERP systems can be ‘digital concrete’ for business processes. Over two years the researchers monitored closely the operations of two multinational organizations and a UK-based utility company that had implemented ERP systems. The biggest challenge they found for these businesses was making the most of the information extracted from the ERP system. For the day-to-day business users, the data-warehousing applications are often too complicated and overly flexible. And for the finance staff, the data produced is too generic and simplistic.
As companies continue to focus on business development and growth, access to timely, useful, up-to-date data from your ERP and CRM systems is crucial. However, like diagnosing an internal bleed, accessing deep internal data can often be the biggest challenge. Gartner vice president Rita Sallam explained that data preparation is one of the most challenging and time-consuming challenges facing business users of BI and data discovery tools, as well as advanced analytics platforms. And just like mending a wound, your data needs the correct treatment to help you and your business get ahead.
It's time to resuscitate your data
Just like supporting a fracture or broken bone, there is a solution that can fix your data woes. The solution is business intelligence (BI). With BI, you can breathe life back into your data.
A.T. Kearney explained that BI focuses on theoretical and practical aspects of achieving a solid information basis for decision making. They explained 60% of executive managers found the use of BI had a positive impact on their business, and the return on equity was more than double of companies that do not use performance tools.
Get x-ray vision on your business
See the bones of your business. It’s no good treating a broken arm as a fracture. You need to x-ray the problem area to determine the reason why the arm is sore to identify the correct line of treatment – not just rely on the gut feel, ‘it only feels like a fracture.’
The same goes for your data. Let’s take a medical supply company, for example. They have loads of intricate products stocked in their warehouse servicing hundreds of businesses in their region. They have noticed a drop in their surgical masks over the last three months however scalpels are up 25%. Using a tool like Phocas, it can consolidate the data sitting in your ERP system and present it to you in an easy-to-read dashboard – showing you the companies that are buying scalpels but not the surgical masks. This list can then be shared with the relevant sales staff to be on the front foot. As Steve Jobs famously said, “get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.”
BI is not the Band-Aid approach
The Band-Aid approach is a hasty solution that covers up the symptoms but does little or nothing to mitigate the underlying problem.
Like a large gash in your leg, you do not simply apply a Band-Aid to heal the wound. You apply pressure, seek assistance by a health professional, have the gash cleaned, stitched, and left to heal while monitoring its progress until the desired result is achieved.
Gartner explained that despite only 30% of business people having direct access to BI and analytics today, “this will grow as a result of the shift to data discovery.” Why? Because BI is not a Band-Aid solution. It’s a treatment plan to get the best economic results to capture greater volumes of detailed data and make sense of this data for you and your business.
To learn how business intelligence can help mend your ERP wounds, download your free eBook on Medical Reporting Success Factors by clicking the below:
Rebecca is Head of Marketing for Phocas Software's ANZ operations.
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