, by  Tom Simnett

Are you using the BIG Data available to your Business?

How you can use the data you have to help your business.

You’ve probably read our previous Big Data blog; one which focused very much on the marketing data available to you. This one is more about how you can use the data you have to help your business. We hope it helps.

Some of this may seem a little Big Brother-ish, but we’re simply showing what could be done, rather than perhaps what you should do.

Timesheets could be a thing of the past in a number of ways. Let’s have a look at just a few of the options:

1. When are your staff logging on?

Your network knows when someone logs on and off – and what they’re doing in between. This data could easily be used to show you what you’re getting for your money.

You’ll need something a little different to deal with staff such as account managers, as they spend time moving between your office and client sites.

2. Alternatively, how about the door security system?

That knows what time people get into the office. Of course, it doesn’t know how long they take to get a coffee, nip to the loo and have a chat with their colleagues before actually starting work, but at least you know if they are in the office or not.

If the staff have a security card, but don’t need to swipe in, sensors placed on the door could easily tell you when they do in and out.

Production planning. Do you sell then build or build then sell?

  1. Online sales data could be used to plan future production requirements. The supermarkets have been using EPOS data and Just in Time ordering for years to maximise sales and minimize the space they have to waste storing stock. Of course, this is based on a produce, then sell model, but it could be the other way around.
  2. You know what is needed to produce a unit of whatever you sell. You know how long it should take to make a unit. You also know what wastage occurs for every 100x units. If you have a lead time of X days or weeks, you can adjust both your staffing levels to have just enough skill in that day/week to produce what has been sold.
  3. If your raw material lead times are shorter than your production times, JiT ordering could also minimise the stock you need to hold, reduce the warehousing space necessary for your business and increase profitability.

How do you organise your evidence?

I bet you have a whole pile of testimonials and case studies that show how good you are at delivering on your clients’ needs. Would you like to display them based on who is looking at your website? Would you like to attach the best (and most appropriate) ones to your proposal quickly and easily?

  1. Tags are the easiest way to label them, but how do you then display the right ones?
  2. Do you use web analytics software and can you get a data feed from there directly into your website?
  3. Can you filter and then PDF the appropriate evidence to send to your clients?
  4. Can your website visitors ask for specific evidence if you know nothing about them at that time?

Is your data in the right place?

Mobile staff are often creating information and carrying data that would be really useful, if only it were somewhere else quickly.

Could a mobile app put data where it’s needed?

  • Details of a new house for sale
  • Dimensions for a new kitchen or double glazing order
  • Automatically creating a new user account within a new business, adding their Office 365 license and hosted server access permissions?

These are just a few ideas but I’m sure you can think of a few more that could help your business. We’d love to know what ideas you have.