Harness the Power of Your Data with Custom Business Intelligence
Recently, we had a conversation with a client that went something like this: When we lose customers, we frequently don’t find out for weeks or months. Whether they go out of business, or just leave us, we need to know as quickly as possible. If we could systematically identify changes in purchasing behavior, we could salvage relationships, be more aggressive collecting credit, and measure our sales team on accounts lost as well as gained.
Purchasing behavior varies dramatically by customer, but it can be measured. The client’s data held the answer, and they knew it. Within 3 weeks they were using a series of custom dashboards to systematically identify worrisome accounts, gather context, and make decisions.
Data can be actionable and easy to use. It can help you identify trends, catch errors, and protect you from blind spots. It is a source of objective fact – it can give your team a common language to measure against, rally around, or debate. You can encode your business logic directly into it, allowing your employees to think like you.
Put plainly, your data can transform your business.
But data is like a raw material – you need the right tools and the right expertise to translate it into a useful asset. Traditional reports leave massive amounts of value on the table.
Customized business intelligence is the way forward.
What is Business Intelligence?
Business Intelligence (BI) is an emerging technology that displays data visually and allows you to explore it dynamically and rapidly. One BI dashboard can replace dozens of existing reports, and allow you to move through them at 10 times the speed.
You’ve likely used a simple BI dashboard in banking or investment software. To see a sophisticated BI tool in action, check out the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center (https://coronavirus. jhu.edu/us-map).
So what’s really going on here? What makes BI so different?
What Makes BI Powerful?
Fundamentally, all reports are aggregations of transactional data. When you run a GP report in a PDF, or an income statement in Excel, the system is summarizing thousands or millions of individual orders or GL entries.
Traditional reports are good at this aggregation. But they are bad at allowing you to dig into why the number is what it is. Business intelligence is designed so you can move through your data naturally, honing in on the answers to your questions, drilling to the individual transaction if necessary. All in a matter of clicks.
The speed and flexibility of BI makes it practical for a business person to explore data far faster, more naturally, and more completely.
Everyone can be data driven now.
Why Customize it?
BI tools are also highly customizable. This is key.
Your processes are unique. Your struggles are specific. Your goals are your own. Your data can help you capitalize on unique opportunities and overcome intractable problems, but not through canned reports.
Strategic advantages can’t be standardized.
By building customized tools, you can help your employees think like you do, spur them to action, and remove guesswork and interpretation.
The Path Forward
Using data more intelligently is one of the greatest opportunities available to most businesses. The tools of Big Tech are increasingly available to everyone. The data-driven business is more flexible, nuanced, and intelligent. You want to be that business. You don’t want to compete with that business.
However, getting there is not easy. Most companies are caught in a data abundance trap: they are swimming in KPIs, budgets, weekly scorecards, and one-off analyses. Yet their decisions, processes, and results are still only marginally data-driven. Building effective data tools requires technical understanding, business knowledge, and experience separating the signal from the noise.
BI tools built to purpose are challenging and time consuming to construct. Clearwater Data Solutions brings the technology, skill set, and experience to entrepreneurs, family run enterprises, and forward-looking small businesses. We partner closely with our clients, learning their goals, diving into their data, building their data tools, and helping them use them.
With a deep understanding of both data and petroleum distribution, we help our clients:
- capitalize on unique opportunities
- overcome intractable challenges
- measure the metrics that matter
The tools we build inform decisions, enhance performance, and jumpstart change because they are built for you.