Business Leaders struggle to get access to all the information they need to make critical decisions for their business in an effective way. A key component of that challenge is processes and systems aren’t built and managed in a way to keep up. To address this and turn this disconnect into opportunity there are two sides to the coin you must consider:
1 – A good approach to measuring performance and results that drives well-informed decision making
2 – An underlying system that can provide you a flexible and forward-looking solution that adapts with your business
As you look at measuring performances, the numbers can be scary and making sense of them even harder. If you can’t access or trust the information needed, then your business may struggle and find itself flying blind. For those looking for improvement, here are a few key pieces of advice as you get started:
- Start Simple – you don’t need to evaluate everything, in fact focus your time on only 4-5 of the most important items to begin
- Which One? – consider the areas most important to you and the performance of your business. Many people just start measures looking at things such as cash flow, revenue to marketing investment, and profitability.
- Ratios Are Your Friend – one way to up the impact and relevance of your metrics is the use of ratios. Some common examples are headcount as part of revenue and average days to receive payment (often called days sales outstanding). By using ratios, you rationalize values appropriately to your business and make performance over time easier to evaluate.
- Baseline – every business is different and their numbers will be as well. Understand where you currently fall and the areas that will drive you towards stability or improvement. Once you have those baseline values set you will be able to tell how things are trending over time and better focus your efforts on the areas that need your attention
IT Systems may have good intentions, but they are not necessarily in place to get the information easily. There may be a lot of manual processes, information in different technology solutions, or the data is just not reliable. Here are the most common reasons many companies encounter this:
- Fit for purpose – ndividual tools such as those for financial/accounting purposes are acquired at a time with a sole purpose in mind, not considering where else the data contained in them may be needed or how their processes can impact those in other areas.
- Standards – information isn’t entered consistently in different systems making it impossible to match up. If you’ve ever encountered a system with customer information in it that contains multiple versions of the same client or business due to different spellings, you’ve seen this in action.
- Integrate – it can be hard to integrate and get information from different places together and for many that challenge seems too hard to undertake.
- View – even if all your data and information is in a single place making it easy to work together, access, view, and change can be daunting.
- Nothing Stays The Same – as soon as you get it working just how you want, something new comes up and breaks all the great work you’ve done.
This problem can be solved more easily than expected if a sound and thoughtful approach is taken.
The key is a method that brings it all together focused top-down ensuring businesses processes are at the heart. Whatever is developed, it can’t be done in a siloed, isolated way that locks it down, makes using it difficult, and creates situations where you can’t easily deal with new requirements as they come up. It doesn’t need to be hard if you’ve got someone by your side with the perspective and experience needed. At Parrels we’ve helped businesses turn painful, cumbersome, and ineffective situations into competitive differentiators. If your technology just isn’t living up to expectations or worse getting in the way of your business achieving it goals, we’d love to talk and learn more about it.