10 Powerful Ways to Use Big Data in Your Business
By Stephen Howe
In this hyper-connected world, consumers and business decision-makers have access to more information than ever before, but more data doesn’t automatically mean better business.
In fact, using big data haphazardly can be more confusing than useful. Data capturing, analysis and processing are not new concepts for ERP systems – in fact, it is what most ERP solutions have been facilitating for over a decade.
Therefore, the issue is not in finding a viable system – as ERP systems intrinsically analyse and process your business data – or in gaining access to more data; it is in understanding it and assimilating it for effective business operations.
But first, what is the big deal about big data?
Essentially, big data refers to the process of using computer technology to process and analyse large sets of data. Data is constantly being generated. Every time you access social media, enter a search term in your browser, or purchase something online, data is generated.
Your business also generates valuable data on a minute-by-minute basis with every transaction that takes place. Data is paramount to effectively running a business: understanding how productive the people and machinery in your organisation are, how much money you make and spend, and understanding your customers and the market accurately.
The benefits of big data and ERP solutions
1. Better decisions.
Using real-time figures about pricing, products, margins, staffing, and inventory is a much safer and more accurate way of making decisions than solely trying to match your competitors. Big data and ERP solutions give smaller organisations the power that large organisations have to:
- Increase customer satisfaction
- Improve customer service
- Manage marketing effectively
- Forecast sales accurately
- Manage production and manufacturing efficiently
- Control inventory
- Access and gain clarity on business financials
2. Solve the right problems, faster.
Tracking and analysing data from business processes helps business leaders spot performance breakdowns immediately, and sometimes even pre-emptively identify potential problems within departments.
3. Understand performance.
Data is the best way to track the performance of your employees, your team, department, company, even suppliers and logistics. In fact, every part of your business can be tracked with data. You can track everything from your sales reps’ actual conversion rates to how cost-effective and productive your machines are over time. All of this clarity distils into a well-run, streamlined, future-proof operation.
4. Improve business processes.
When data is analysed properly it can be used to improve business processes that result in the reduction of waste as far as time, resources and profit goes. Process transformation typically goes hand-in-hand with ERP solution implementation when executed correctly.
5. Understand your customer.
Data gives you deeper insight into your customers – who they are, and what they are engaging with you for most and least. This affects product development, price-setting, as well as effective customer-segmentation for marketing, sales and CRM purposes.
6. Forecast accurately.
ERP system’s inbuilt artificial intelligence (AI) turns your sales data into a variety of dashboards that project future business performance. Gartner predicts that, by 2022, 65 percent of businesses will use AI-based ERP solutions to gain a competitive advantage.
The reason is clear: data removes the guesswork typically involved in forecasting seasonal demand, supply, and financial performance, and provides more accurate insight into the current and future health of your business.
7. Improve scheduling.
ERP systems process operational data and highlight inefficiencies. It allows businesses to schedule processes effectively with a real-time view of production. This allows you to identify bottlenecks and idle stations so that managers can allocate resources where they are needed most.
8. Optimise supply chain.
ERP solutions and big data work in tandem to improve manufacturing supply chains through ERP system’s thorough and constant analysis of manufacturing and its moving parts. Giving clarity and control over every stage of the supply chain, from purchasing raw materials to final distribution, with batch tracking capabilities.
9. Manage inventory effectively.
Retailers and manufacturers typically have a large inventory, with multiple warehouses and locations. ERP solutions mean all of these are consolidated in one system, ensuring clarity into business-wide inventory, giving business leaders insight into inventory for effective stock management and distribution.
10. Streamline e-commerce.
Online retailers use big data analytics and ERP solutions to improve process management, forecasting, customer satisfaction and warehouse automation for fast delivery of products ordered online.
Where to start? Drop the spreadsheets
Spreadsheets can be useful and have their place, but are not the best tool if you need unified sets of data that are integrated with organisational functions. They are prone to human error, duplications, redundancy, and policy infringements – particularly if the spreadsheet contains your customers’ personal contact information.
Astute leaders know when it is time to step away from spreadsheets and deploy a more integrated, communicative and automated system.
Opt for integrated systems with automated analytics
The benefits of integrated systems, like Sage X3’s built-in integrations, super-charged with T3T’s integration layer for additional external integration into Sage X3, is that they are designed to use your company’s daily transactional data and automatically produce real-time analytics and insights.
This can come in the form of ready-made reports, instant dashboards and custom analytics. Because it is integrated and automated, it means reports no longer take days of manual data capture, configuration and analysis. It also means figures are accurate and presented in near real-time. This means faster, more accurate decision-making.
Next steps: Put ERP and big data to work
Most modern ERP solutions utilise big data, but not every ERP system is necessarily the best fit for your business. We understand that each business is unique, with different structures, objectives and budgets, and it’s important to find the right solution for you.
Here’s how you can do that:
- Browse our ERP software pages. Find out if Sage X3 offers what you need. You can do this here, and you can also see if it is a good fit with your industry, or your job roles. Additionally, check out T3T’s Sage X3 add ons for even greater functionality.
- Evaluate Sage X3 ERP. Allow us to show you what Sage X3 can do for your business. Why not book a free demo and decide for yourself?
Not sure? Talk to one of our consultants.
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