Businesses square measure perpetually facing totally different challenges daily, whether or not this be larger competition, lower profit margins, a lot of demands from customers or declining sales. For businesses to grow with efficiency it is important to grasp what square measureas of the business are playing and people that are not.
Business analytics or using business intelligence is about assisting organisations to integrate and consolidate data from all their operational processes and daily interactions. Then delivering this information in a simple form, whether this is a dashboard, drill down analysis or report, to those that need it, when they need it, to better understand what’s happening and why it’s happening, to make more informed business decisions. Here are some key strategies to apply when looking at business analytics:
- Daily analysis of demand to analyse shifts in customer buying behavior: apply an additional level of scrutiny to analyse demand to identify those products with significant upward or downward trends. The forecast of these items could be adjusted to reflect shifts in product preference as consumers make trade-offs in price, package size quantities and value versus premium offerings.
- Optimize your product mix and emphasize value: Understanding product performance and tying this back to a profit impact is a critical component of a business intelligence system. Marketing can then assess the right product mix to push based on the type of customer this attracts. Consider a preference towards value-based product lines and position them to grab market share from competitors by appealing to the more cost-conscious buyers without devaluing products through well-timed pricing initiatives and bundled offerings.
- A fluid approach to inventory management: A fluid approach to inventory management is required when demand fluctuations occur, which is also a direct result of the type of business analytics system you use. It’s not good enough for forecast or demand changes to take days or even weeks to be reflected in distribution, production, procurement and transportation plans. It’s important that managers can quickly see for themselves what’s going on and adapt to any demand changes as needed. Stock movements should be analysed daily in light of orders, product mix, locations, margin and individual customers, aligning back to achievement of key targets. It’s then easy to identify those products that are trending upwards as opposed to those to de-emphasize. Those products identified as being slow to move can form the basis of a campaign with channel partners to alleviate excess levels of inventory.
- Understand your profit at a customer or sales rep/region level: Most businesses understand their top line profit margins, but find it more difficult to measure this at a transactional level – whether this be by sales rep, store or region, customer or even at an invoice line level. Some business analytics tools find it difficult to maintain fast query performance when analyzing at these levels, especially when data volumes increase, so make sure you look for a tool that can handle this type of analysis.
- Ensure IT are empowering the business to make faster decisions not being a roadblock: There’s a definite shift away from IT centric reporting approaches across all sizes of organisations towards business user-led analysis solutions called Data Discovery business intelligence. Data Discovery tools like QlikView make it easier for business users to understand what has happened, why it’s happening and what action is required to be taken. They’re characterized by rapid prototyping, being simple to use and manage and can be delivered in a matter of weeks rather than months or years. In the Finance analytic space, there has always been a strong need to move beyond manual, Excel based approaches to processes such as budgeting, forecasting and financial reporting. However, the viable solutions for mid-size and enterprise organisations have for many been out of reach on a cost basis. Cloud based applications that Finance can own and maintain in a simpler way are making a system based approach to these Finance processes affordable and therefore driving projects.