The key to being a market leader: Successful use of business data
Leading businesses embrace data-driven decision making. However, there is still room to improve.
Market leaders embrace data
The Economist Intelligence Unit recently reported that more than half of businesses who describe themselves as market leaders state that their decision-making process is based ‘purely’ on business data. This is a stark contrast to only 3% of businesses who defined their business as lagging market average. At Phocas, we know that this is no coincidence. Businesses that are able to use all of their business data to their advantage consistently make better decisions, whether it is in regard to cutting costs, increasing revenue, increasing efficiencies, or managing their team.
For example, imagine you are a sales manager. You might receive your monthly report, and see that sales revenue is on track in relation to the budget set out at the beginning of the financial year. However, next month you receive another report and see a steep decline in sales revenue. This means you are now off target, and need to have an exceptional month in order to make up for this loss. You could not have seen this coming. Or could you?
Considering all available data
The Economist Intelligence Unit further reports that three quarters of executives believe that their staff makes decisions only on data that is readily available, and that two thirds of executives are guilty of making this mistake themselves.
In the example above, by relying only on the figures provided to you by the monthly report, you are not considering the data underlying the trends you are observing. You believe you are making a data-driven decision by considering the report, while in reality, you are taking overarching numbers at face value. And we understand why; looking through different systems, spreadsheets and other data sources for all the data your company has is time-consuming and practically near impossible.
If you are looking for the trends in the data underlying the report, you may turn to IT for custom reports. However, each new question you have might lead to a new custom report. At the end of this process days, if not weeks, may have passed. And this time, of course, could have been better spent on other tasks, both for you and for the IT team.
Make all data accessible
The key to uncovering trends early does lie in considering all data, but this does not mean you have to spend weeks getting it. Through a business intelligence solution like Phocas, you can combine all the relevant data your business has into one convenient location. From there, you can build dashboards that monitor the trends you are interested in, which you can click to dive deeper. Phocas is designed with the end-user in mind, meaning that anyone can analyze data, without help from IT. This way you can answer your questions in minutes rather than weeks, saving time and laying the foundation of better decision-making processes.
Let’s go back to the scenario presented above, where a sales manager did not see a decline in revenue coming. Had this sales manager used Phocas, they would have seen their revenue was on track, but would not have to stop there. They might have clicked through to look at revenue by product type, region, or even sales rep. Here they might have discovered that sales in a particular product category had declined across all reps and regions, but that this was masked by the increased revenue one particular sales rep secured through signing on a new customer.
If the sales manager had known this trend, they might have looked into why the declined product group was affected, and sent sales reps to the relevant customers to remedy the problem. As a result, the sales manager would have identified the trend before it became a problem for the business, and kept sales revenue on track to meet budgeted targets.
Data analysis for everyone
One of the key strengths of Phocas Business Intelligence is that everyone can benefit. Employees at all levels, and even without technical knowledge can use Phocas to improve the decision they make on a daily basis. This pertains not just to sales staff, but to employees across the whole business. Phocas can help you analyze your financial, sales, inventory, employee, or purchasing data, and the list goes on. In short – if you have the data, Phocas can analyze it.
Your business has a great deal of data – but where do you start? Download our eBook on reporting metrics to learn more about some of the metrics your business could be measuring.
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