Let’s talk about Las Vegas buffets (pre-pandemic, of course).
Depending on which casino you go to, the up-front cost of one admission into a dinner buffet can seem pretty expensive. You’ve already waited in a line that doesn’t move just to get into the actual area. Then, when you get to the register, you’re hit with the sticker shock. For a brief moment, your very rational not-sleep-deprived-at-all mind says, “Is this really worth what I’m paying?”
Then you get inside.
“Sweet mother of foie gras, is all this for ME?!”
Yes. Yes, it is my dear conquistador epicurean. It’s all for you. However much you want, whenever you want it. And if you can’t find something, it’s probably there, anyway.
“You mean I can put hot dogs and lobster on the same plate?” Yes, you can do that.
“A taco, pizza slice, pork chop combination plate?” Yup. That’s in, too.
“You mean ANYTHING?” Ugh, yeah, you’ve got the hang of it.
Okay, let’s leave your inner monologue in the prime rib line and talk about why this experience matters.
Data in business is like a Las Vegas buffet. It’s easier than ever to get lots of different types of data about your business for what is ultimately a small cost upfront (even if it doesn’t look like it). Just recently, a report from a Harvard Business Review Analytic Services Pulse survey showed almost 90% of respondents increasing their amounts of data collection over the past two years.
Once you get that data, though, the trick is figuring out how to use it in such a way that doesn’t bog you down. We want data to work for us, not against us. Like any new venture you put into your business, using data requires you to go into the endeavor with a set of purposes, things you know you want to get out of using data. That’s really the first big hurdle in making data work for you instead of against you.
Here’s how to make data be a team player instead of a diva:
- Automate Collection
- Customize Reports
- Allow Software to Adapt
- Get Faster Than Your Competitors
Automate Your Collection Technique
Find an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) program out there that specializes in one or more types of data collection that you need. Programs like Workday, Capella, and E-trade all have their pros and cons. Research them and find the or ones which fit your needs best.
Target The Reporting
Pretty much all automation software allows you to customize what you see in reports. Use those programs to add calculations and set up algorithms so that they highlight the key data points you need the most.
Let The Software Learn
Quite a few ERPs come ready to adapt once they start working for you. As the ERPs start creating reports at your request, they begin to learn what to expect at particular times each month. In turn, because the program knows what you’ll be asking for, it’ll automate its functions to match those needs. If you guide the software smartly, the ERP can eventually do a ton of automating at the end of the month and leave you with the small task of locating anomalies–an incredible timesaver.
Get Ahead Of The Competition
So that survey we mentioned earlier? It also showed 77% of respondents relied on manual processes to collect and use data. Most of those respondents expressed a clear directive to move to automation within the next three years. In other words, the field is starting to figure it out–manual processing is slow, cumbersome, and inefficient. Every day you spend on manual processes means another day you lose ground to a company that automates everything. When you consider the amount of data you need to stay competitive in the first place, it quickly becomes clear that no one on this planet can process all that data manually. The computers are there to help.
The old saying is that you can sometimes have too much of a good thing. Whether it’s food or data, that can be true. Our eyes get so big, and we get so excited that we forget what we’re supposed to do for a hot minute. Then, as we grasp the gravity of what we’re doing, we get intimidated and spooked. But it doesn’t have to be like that all the time.
For business data, knowing how to avoid the inefficient binge can save you extra time and cost on top of the time you’re already losing to manual AP and AR procedures. That’s a big reason why you need to automate ASAP.
Reach out to us if you have questions! We’re ready to help you take the plunge. Let us know how it’s going on our social media pages, and keep checking our blog for more info.