Finally entrepreneurs in the small and medium sector are also slowly realising the importance of data and data keeping beyond normal accounting process. It's a welcome move to see that many business owners to subscribe different systems, be it CRM, HRMS, ERP etc. Thanks to technology innovations and proliferation of companies in SAAS based software platforms and telecom industries which made all these easily available and affordable to the non-corporate sector of the business.
All these systems helps the organisations at least to make sure that data is captured and stored properly. At the advanced side of it people started thinking about artificial intelligence and machine learning which I hope will further ease the job of a business owners and managers in the near future. It has started working in some areas such as chat boats and other customer care measures and slowly these AI based inputs will penetrate to the other core business functionalities. Before getting into more complexities about this so called new generation technologies and innovations, let’s understand the basics. There are many ways our business data can be useful to us for our business improvements on a daily basis and below outlines the 5 areas where data is the biggest player.
1.History - Business Black Box
Your past data is the history of your business, whatever you have done so far have already reflected in the data sets. It's like a black box of your business. We should have the realisation here on the limitation of four brain to store and immediately and independently recollect all information on our needs basis. If we look back at the data it can further help you to recollect much more of the same situation. The past data helps you to understand the seasonality of your business. It will also helps you to get clarity on how different factors are affecting your business and at what level.
2.Future predictions - Your business guru
The insights derived from the past and present data sets would often help you to measure and take corrective actions in the future. Your data will show you the trend of your business and we can simulate different events and scenarios with the help of it . This will help us to make our business accommodative before the actual situation arises. It helps to reduce the risk of uncertainty and conclude on possible outcomes. Logically built data models can make the future predictable up to a large extent.
3.Holistic visibility - See the connections
We need everything to be visible in the business from one end to the other in the least frequent intervals as possible. A good data management system create a holistic visibility and clarity on your business rather than qualitative inputs from people and other environmental factors. Business cannot stand alone in isolation, it is a collection of different functions and responsibilities. Different data inputs collected and collated in a single platform can make you understand more facts about your business rather than looking at it stand alone.
4.All problems are data problems - So as data solutions
All the business problems such as a dip in profit or increase in cost or delay in payment can be converted into data problems such as 5% decrease in the sales or 70% payments are late etc. A shortage of cash in the business can be converted to 70% invoices are paid beyond 90 days. This will help you us to ask questions and bring solutions much faster in a quantitative terms. A 5% increase in sales could be converted from 40 more customer visits per day which can be brought up from creating 20% more leads and this can be achieved from a 10% increase in the advertising budget. Your smartness is to convert your business challenges to data problems and to have built data solutions and final action items.
5.Clarity in decision making process - The supreme judge
Once the decisions are based on data the process of decision-making is stress-free and the decisions are taken with much more clarity and convictions. Moreover we are able to predict the outcomes of our decisions up to large extent. The influencing factors of our decisions and outcomes are getting importance in the process. The biggest difference between the small company and a corporate is the involvement of data in the decision making process. The outcome of the data driven decision making process is unbiased decisions and clarity on purpose. The execution of the decisions is much more easier than compared to a process where the decisions are taken without analysis of business data from different levels.
Data is the biggest asset in the RIGHT hands with the highest value. As a business owner or manager, you have the professional responsibility to take good decisions and good decisions comes only from analysis and inferences. Every business needs somebody to look into data and create inferences out of it. You can either create the expertise in-house or get it hired from an extended team. A good business model will never fail if it’s on the foundation where the generated data is captured and analysed on a periodic basis.