We live in a highly digitised world, where we are connected through multiple networks and devices, generating masses of data. To build a responsive business, SME’s must turn these insights gained from data resources into meaningful information that can contribute significantly to building organisational wealth.
To capitalise on this potential pool of facts, a business first needs to understand the difference between data and information. Data is generated almost non-stop, and can be considered a raw-material of sorts. By analysing and processing data, useful information can be derived to action decision-making based on facts and not assumptions. Peter Drucker, explains that “information is data endowed with relevance and purpose”. So, by defining the “what” (relevance) and the “why” (purpose) of the data, you will be able to optimise its inherent value. In order to be relevant, the information extracted from data must be trustworthy, provide appropriate insights and be available anywhere and at any time.
Insights from data is as much about quality as it is about quantity. Gathering data from multiple sources, including both structured and unstructured data, must be consolidated without jeparodising the integrity of the data. It must be complete, consistent and accurate.
This data needs to then be processed and analysed to identify key bits of information which is immediately accessible to employees to use for enhanced decision-making. An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system such as SAP Business One, with embedded and predictive analytics, brings information from multiple databases into a central reporting platform. This allows employees to access information and insights in real-time which contributes to speedy, factual decision-making.
Information must have integrity and be readily available providing:
- A unified and reliable infrastructure offering employees and partners access and insight
- Employees real-time, direct access to key performance metrics
- A means of presenting information intuitively, leading to deeper insight
- A platform for predictive analytics.
To stay ahead of your competitors, decisions need to be made quickly in order to respond to rapid environmental changes and shifting market trends. Having real-time visibility into financial and operational capacity, available resources, inventory, sales figures and key performance areas is crucial. An ERP system with mobile capabilities, such as SAP Business One, is a must-have tool for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to effectively and accurately consolidate and generate valuable information on-the-go.
Benefiting from data
Informed decision-making optimises operational adeptness, allowing for greater agility in response to market forces and continuous innovations that are symptoms of a rapidly changing business environment. It forces a more customer-focused approach as information about your clients are shared between departments. Data impacts the profitability of an organisation as management needs to accurately track revenues, costs, and cash flow to asses the financial position and take quick corrective action based on data output.
According to an article published by Harvard Business Review, there is clearly still a lot that needs to be done in terms of how businesses use available data effectively. Less than half of most organisations’ structured data is actively used in making decisions and less than 1% of its unstructured data is analysed or used at all. Research also shows that organisations that tap into these valuable sources of information consistently show higher levels of innovation, efficiency and the ability to predict outcomes and act on those predictions.
The right ERP solution enables SMEs to harness the untapped information locked within its data. Converting this raw data into meaningful and actionable information has a positive impact on the daily running of a company, contributing significantly to increasing its organisational wealth.