In 2012 fifty students at the German Sports University in Cologne started analysing the Brazilian soccer team players in preparation for the world cup in 2014. They spent countless hours analysing each players every move. They recorded every single minute detail about each player – How much each player ran, distances kicked, fouls, penalties, off sides, under pressure performance, and many other aspects. This data was then used to train the German soccer team and to outperform the recorded statistics. There is no doubt that this was a big contributor in Germany winning the world cup in 2014.

Data analytics plays a big part in having a competitive advantage over your competitors. It allows you to make informed decisions about your product and your business. Data analytics in the past has been very much a corporate capability due to its complexities and the time required to achieve a mature level.

Large corporates used to have (and still do) dedicated teams to analyse and graph trends for various aspects of their business. Ten years ago McDonalds did a study to analyse the amount of “quitters” in their long lines at their 36,000 stores around the world. They concluded that the people that quit their lines equated to a revenue amount of $2 billion a year. We don’t mind waiting for food to be prepared, but if it takes a long time to order the food initially, we may just quit and go somewhere else. As a result they introduced the self-ordering process, for customers who didn’t choose to wait in line.

There are similar opportunities in your business, you just need to work out the points of differences. It can be a daunting task in the begining to work out exactly what you want to analyse, but I suggest these two common metrics to start. The most common metric is to understand how much each employee makes for your business. It may seem a little too basic, but this should be the benchmark in your business. When you start to see the trend over a year or so, it will help you make some key decisions in your business to save costs.

Another good metic to analyse is the sale of your prime product in your business, whether it be a service or a product, it doesn’t matter. Track how you do on a monthly, weekly, daily basis. If there are multiple products, track the best sellers, or the colour of the product.

For example: Let’s say you have a flower shop and you have five different bouquets that you sell, start with counting the number of bouquets that you sold for the day, the week, month, etc. Then break it down into types of flowers sold; then flowers sold on the day of the week; also the season. You will soon start to work out that there is a trend – maybe on on Saturday evenings you sell mostly roses; or chrysanthemums on Mother’s day. This will equip you with the best decision making for your ordering; what flowers to order on what day so you have the least wastage or more importantly, so you don’t run out of popular flowers on a certain day. If you have regular customers that buy flowers, you can email them specials towards the end of the day or create  a specific season or weekly special and drive more business.

Simplifying data and dash boarding makes it easier to make decisions for your business. Something as simple as putting 2-3 key figures on a screen will help your employees know the key performance indicators in the business and generate ideas on how to make it better.

How?

There are plenty of dash boarding tools available in the market for various different price ranges. The most common one known to the market currently is Microsoft’s PowerBi. It is flexible, powerful, cheap ($12.70/user/month), and can pull data from tonnes of sources (including excel). We know many businesses still rely on Excel sheets for their budgeting and forecasting. In PowerBi, it is possible to pull data from Excel and update the dashboard automatically. Before finding a product to suit your needs, work out what it is your organisation is looking for, the absolute key indicators that run your business; then find a solution that fits your needs.

Data simplified has the potential to revolutionise your business, take advantage of the tools that are available or your competitors will!