Sage ERP users in Halifax: How much time do you spend on average collecting data and information?
In return, how much time do you spend actually using that data to improve your business and make better decisions?
If you are like most business executives and managers, not enough. Many businesses believe that the more data they can uncover, the more successful their businesses can become; however, this is only the case if and when the data you collect is analyzed and used to instigate business change and influence decisions. Otherwise, you are wasting your time and resources on information that will sit and go stale long before you use it.
Research has shown that businesses spend about 80% of their time collecting data for analysis and only about 20% of their time analyzing data. For some organizations, the time spent analyzing data is even less.
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In order to create a healthy balance between data gathering and analysis, you need to have the right tools in place and a clear focus for analyzing your data. With a clear focus and key data analysis tools, you can begin to not only see the value of the data you gather but use it for a greater purpose as well.
Putting the Data You Gather to Good Use
Do you use all of the data you gather? If you are like most businesses, probably not. Many businesses gather more data than they will ever possibly use or need. While it certainly does not hurt to gather all of the information you can, gathering too much data without much direction will impact your decision making capabilities. By narrowing your focus and identifying specific sets of data to record and measure within your business intelligence solution, you can get the data you need to make important decisions. KPIs (key performance indicators) make it possible to track, measure, and obtain the information you need to ensure your business in on track to achieve specific objectives.
Here are a few things to take into consideration when setting up your KPIs:
- Less is more. Too many KPIs can cloud your view and cause you to get off track from your business and data analysis objectives.
- Align your KPIs with both your strategic and tactical objectives.
- Understand that certain KPIs will only be temporary. Just as your business objectives change over time, so do your KPIs. Be willing to assess their effectiveness on a regular basis and implement new ones as needed.
- KPIs need to be relevant, consistent and targeted. The more specific, the better.
Keeping track of KPIs is an art and, with enough practice, you will begin seeing improvements not only in your business performance but in your data analysis as well. Knowing how to use business intelligence tools and the information gleaned from them is important to your business success.