Can your business succeed without data?
Running a Business without analysing its data is the same as gambling in a Casino. Only luck will pull you through.
Using data analysis in business is as crucial as having an accounting system. In the past 15 years, we have been seated with hundreds of CEO’s, Business Owners and Executives and only a handful of them could answer some questions in regards to data in their businesses.
The conversation normally starts with an understanding of their business model, how they operate and who’s who in the business. Then when the coffee starts getting cold we normally ask “the question”, WHY….do you need a new website/system/plan...etc. This can go in one of two directions, one, they know exactly or two, they feel its the right way to go to grow their business.
All said and done, the next questions is where things get interesting. So tell me, who buys your product, classic answer, everybody between 21 and 90. Ok, which age group is the most profitable and how do they find your product/brand? Most of the time this is where they either just guess or start going silent, “to be honest, we do not really know,” is the standard answer.
But the cherry on the cake is the conversation about sales reps. “We just lost one of our best sales reps to the competition, you know, John worked 15 years for us, and we now realise that we do not even know who his clients were and who he was pursuing before he left.” You do not need a Doctors degree to figure out that this business has big problems and is going to take a serious dip in sales.
Unfortunately, the blame is not entirely on the leaders for the lack of good business information, but it also lays deep in the back office, between all the cables and servers. As we know IT is one of the newest industries in our world and is only now starting to mature. It all started for business with emails, then website, and eventually accounting and after that a ton of other applications from, job card systems to GPS tracking, etc.
The average small to medium business has anything from 3 - 15 Business Information and Management Systems running, each with their own set of data. Most of the time the data does not “talk” to each other. This is one of the main reasons why it is so difficult to see the whole data picture in any business today.
The answer to this is an integrated system (When something is integrated, it's united — different things are now together, especially things that used to be apart) with ONE database from where all the Business data lives and can be used for dashboards and reports.
Large corporations realised this in the ’90s already and that is why they all went the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) route, eg. SAP and Oracle. These are integrated systems (Accounting, HR, Manufacturing, Inventory, etc) with ONE database.
The good news is that there are similar systems available for a few hundred dollars per month for small to medium businesses. One medium-sized business owner told me after a demo of such a system that will at least save 3 salaries when implementing this system that will cost him around $350 per month. Even small businesses can start with a system around $80 per month.
Now the next step, with integrated data, the implementation of a BI (Business Intelligence) systems, which use the data to present dashboards and reports that can be used to make calculated business decisions without the toss of a coin.
So the conclusion is, a business is much more likely to succeed with accurate data analysis.