How do you position your company above the fray, above the noise and the pollution, above the day-to-day routine and the complacency? How can you climb above the crowded legions of your competitors? I will tell you one thing: You do not claw your way up there. You use data. You become a data-driven company. And that… that is what will always, consistently get you to the top.
Let us, therefore, take a peek at what it looks like when data drives everything: what you do, how you do it, where you do it, and when you do it. Let us look down from that peak and realize how you got there. Indeed, let us tell you about the following:
Top 10 Benefits of Being a Data-Driven Enterprise
I could talk to you about nine benefits or eleven benefits, but I picked the number ten because of its positive connotation. A strike in bowling is when you knock down all ten pins. Market research questionnaires often ask you to rate things on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the best and the finest. The moistest! Ten is the first 2-digit number out of an infinite quantity of numbers. In short, ten is special.
When we speak about being a data-driven enterprise and try to explain what that means and what the benefits are, it sounds like pie in the sky at the company level. I have learned from long experience working at Strategic Systems Group (SSG) with our clients that the best way to understand the benefits of being a data-driven company is to walk through each department in your company so that you can see the benefits at a practical and specific level.
As we work our way through ten of the departments in your company, you will also see how interconnected they are, which is precisely as it should be in any company that is running on a fully integrated ERP software system such as Microsoft Dynamics ERP or Infor ERP.
Let us begin…
We might not always think of your sales team as a data-driven force, in the same way, we think of Finance or Operations. But we would be doing them a disservice by not recognizing that your sales team needs accurate data to succeed, just as much as your CFO and your COO. Without accurate data, how would your sales team know what is available in inventory to sell and at what price? Without accurate data, how would your sales team understand what delivery dates they could promise? Without accurate data, your sales team would be selling items, not in inventory and promising delivery dates they cannot guarantee. You can easily see where this leads: disgruntled customers.
Marketing may be a lot about creativity, but marketing is also ALL about data. There is no point in spending money on marketing campaigns if you cannot measure their success. And there would be no point in developing a marketing campaign geared toward the wrong audience demographics. That is why I would submit to you that marketing is ALL about data: from demographics to cost-effectiveness and campaign result analysis.
Service/Customer Service is the third (3rd) leg of the stool that comprises a typical, traditional Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software solution. Much like sales and marketing, customer service relies very heavily on the availability of data, not just any data, but real-time data! Otherwise, your service team would not be able to address your clients’ issues intelligently, based on the most current available regarding their accounts. The availability of historical data is also crucial for this team.
Human Resources (HR)
HR is an entirely data-driven department. Your HR team is the repository for all your employee data: start dates, end dates, salaries, promotions, complaints, vacation days, sick days, insurance, you name it. When an employee contacts HR, your HR team must have the most current and accurate data available to respond to any and all questions that might arise.
It almost goes without saying that Finance is a data-driven department. The financial health of your enterprise depends on the availability of real-time, accurate assessments of everything from the mundane, such as Accounts Receivable (AR) and Accounts Payable (AP), to the arcane, such as state and federal tax compliance. Without reliable data, how would you calculate your P&L? Your budget would be an absolute mockery. With real-time, accurate data, you would know exactly where your company stands at all times. No guesswork. No surprises.
For a good reason, we often talk about “Finance & Operations” in the same breath. The two are tied closely together, and your business’s health rests on both departments working in tandem. Operating costs must be closely tracked. And those numbers are relayed to your finance department. Finance has to assume that the numbers are accurate. It has to be real-time, and it has to be accurate. If the data is inaccurate, it is as bad as or worse than not having data.
The accuracy of purchasing data is self-evident. At a time when inflation is rampant, and the cost of goods is increasing from one day to the next, your purchasing department is often the purveyor of bad news. But let us not kill the messenger. At the very least, if the data is accurate in real-time, you know where you stand and can plan accordingly.
Manufacturers have been hard hit of late. Not only are they dealing with rapid, dare I say unprecedented, increases in the cost of goods, but they are also encountering shipping delays due to a supply chain that is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic. And it is not just the cost of goods that are rising; it is also the freight costs, land and sea. The only way to handle these issues is with accurate, real-time data. At least knowing the actual delivery dates of your raw materials allows you to plan your manufacturing schedule accordingly.
Let us look at a straightforward scenario to understand how critical it is to have accurate inventory data. Your manufacturing department is scheduled to begin producing a new piece of equipment next week. The Bill of Materials (BOM) for this product includes 21 components. They have shared that BOM with you, and you have checked the inventory to ensure that there is adequate stock of each component. You checked the inventory numbers online; in other words, you did not do a physical inventory check. You can already see where this is going. It turns out that someone did not decrement one of the items last time it was used. Now, there is a shortage of one component, so manufacturing cannot begin next week. In fact, due to supply chain disruptions, you will not even be able to get that component for at least 2-3 weeks. It is a disaster. Manufacturing is at a standstill, and workers are being temporarily laid off. With accurate, real-time data, this costly disaster could have been avoided.
Information Technology (IT)
You may think of your IT team as the people who fix your computers. But the IT team does a lot more than that. They constantly monitor mountains of data flowing into your enterprise from numerous internal and external sources. Some of that data is critical to the health of your network and your business, but it is only useful if it is accurate and if it is being viewed in real-time. Your IT team eats, drinks, and sleeps data. Their jobs are entirely data-driven. And thank
goodness for that!
In Conclusion: Accurate, Real-Time Data Will Be Your Salvation
I think the jury is in, and they have found data to be guilty as charged – guilty of being the foundation of your enterprise across every department and in just about any scenario you can cook up. Your fully integrated ERP software system connects all of the above departments so that they can all share data and see accurate data in real-time.