“Scientia potentia est.” [Knowledge is power.] - Francis Bacon
Knowing one’s business is an obvious key factor to achieving business success. Technology, when used as a business tool, has proven to be an excellent means of increasing the understanding that a business owner has over his or her company. Information has become easier and less costly to manage. Business owners that maintain as much information as possible, to be available instantly, will create a market advantage over their competitors.
So you’re monitoring lots of information that could help you run your business as effectively as possible. Now what? While organizing it might be easy, it is no trivial task to make sense of all of it. Enter reporting and analytics solutions. Information in and of itself is by no means bad to have, but it is of no use if we cannot leverage it to our business' advantage. Reporting and analytics solutions provide an effective way of integrating, digesting, and presenting whatever information is important to your business.
It is critically important that internal (analyzing your own company) or external (provide it as a product/service to your customers) information is presented in an intuitive manner. This will allow you to quickly make sense of the information and transform it into knowledge, which in the end is what gives your business a competitive advantage.
The following are important design and development solutions to help transform information into knowledge.
Present as much relevant information as possible
Hundreds of pages of operations information could be printed daily for any company. Who has the time required for ingesting these data? Thankfully, reading through hundreds of pages of this information is not required. A good reporting and analytics solution prioritizes the most relevant data needed day-to-day, available instantly.
Allow the user to decide what he or she wants to see
It is crucial to display the information in the appropriate way for the task at hand. Do you want to see temporal trends? Spatial trends? Do you want to see summaries by sources, targets or a mixture? Should the information be presented as a table? As one of several kinds of graphs?
Many important business decisions could be executed if shown a table with highlighted cells. It is important to have instant access to this kind of information and to be able to choose the information according to your needs.
This goes beyond just displaying data: do you need to filter out part of the information based on some parameters? Would it be easier to understand if it were sorted? Maybe displaying two alternate representations of the same information could be useful? A well-built solution allows you to specify exactly what you want to know, and then clearly illustrates it.
Meet the current and unforeseen business needs
When new information that needs to be displayed is discovered, flexibility is important. Integrating new information into your existing system should not require redoing it from scratch. A good reporting and analytics solution should be seamless and include whatever data sources are available at the moment.
Present information in real time
Although it is good to know the operational details of what happened during the previous month, in order to react quickly to negative trends, or make the most out of positive ones, it is better to know what’s happening in real time.
Understanding that sales dropped ten percent four weeks ago provides little opportunity for immediate change. However, if you had been alerted that sales during the last three days had been declining, you would have had a better chance of correcting it.
It is important to always have the latest information available at hand in order to create systems that deal naturally and effectively with continuous streams of data.
Gathering information and managing it have become a must for all companies. However, this task can quickly become unmanageable if not handled correctly. To make the most out of this important duty and transform information into knowledge, turn to custom reporting and analytics solutions that are tailored to your specific needs.