Hidden treasure: how to strike gold with your business intelligence
Memories are fleeting. Relying on brainpower alone to draw from past experiences and formulate effective business strategies is a Mandela effect waiting to happen; when everyone recalls the “facts” slightly differently in retrospect, it makes it hard to make sound decisions. Accurately keeping track of past successes and failures – and every other milestone along the way – will help prompt reflection and drive change, all with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.
One way to achieve this is by leveraging business intelligence (BI) – which, put simply, is a way to transform data gathered from across your business into actionable insights. Think of this process as a bit like mining for gold – with BI, you can uncover that precious nugget of information that has been hidden amongst the rubble the entire time, ultimately having a transformative effect on processes and profitability.
For business leaders, the ability to develop data-driven strategies based on workforce management information such as sales tracking, labour efficiency and expenditure vs budget can sometimes seem out of reach. Although, 54% of enterprises say cloud-based BI is either critical or very important to their current and future strategies, being able to harness this kind of information across an organisation is a challenge many are not quite prepared to tackle.
Thankfully, there are robust software solutions on the market that make it easy to collect workforce management and sales data from across the entire workforce, presenting the results clearly on easy-to-read BI dashboards to enable effective decision making. So, how can you get your hands on the deed to the data mine, and what efficiencies can it create?
The power of foresight
Foresight is foundational to business planning – your knowledge of what has and hasn’t worked in the past allows you to make decisions that benefit your workforce productivity, efficiency and cost-effectiveness in the future. But, in unpredictable times such as now, foresight doesn’t always come easily, no matter how experienced you may be at spotting trends.
Gaining access to BI means you can plan ahead for times that are busier or quieter than usual, providing visibility over everything from sales data to labour efficiency. With these insights into past and current performance, you can predict the need for adjustments such as scheduling changes, and take action quickly if needed.
Scheduling for productivity
One consideration that is often overlooked, is just how much your scheduling process can impact your employees. If you cannot accurately predict the number of staff needed on any specific shift, it can quickly have a negative impact your team’s morale. As their enthusiasm wanes, so too will your sales, creating a vicious cycle. AI-driven scheduling helps solve this issue with a data-driven approach that is consistent, automated, and precise, improving employees’ morale – and ultimately their productivity.
Not all data is made the same
Depending on what information you use to inform your scheduling practices, you will get different insights; not all data provides the same value. Sales data should play a part in predicting demand and deciding which team members work well together to produce the best results. However, waiting days or even weeks to see that data makes it far less reliable. This is why real-time data that feeds directly to your workforce management software from your point of sale system is the most valuable component to any data-driven rota.
Boost sales via customer service
Through data-driven scheduling, you can provide your customers with excellent in-store service and, in doing so, increase customer loyalty and influence brand sentiment. All of which can provide positive effects like boosting sales and drive repeat customers. If you have the data you need to better predict the number and skill set of employees needed at each location every day (or better, every hour) of the week, then customers would get prompt sales assistance, shelves would be replenished in a timely manner, employees would be neither idle nor overworked, and labour costs would go down.
Life is much clearer with a graph, or two
As amazing as it is, data is not so helpful, sprawled out on a spreadsheet that no one can understand. If you’re a business leader you won’t have time to manually inputting data, updating spreadsheets and creating graphs in Excel. Lucky for you, BI pulls your workforce data together – and transforms it into clear graphs that provide complete visibility, so that you can see changes without getting a number crunching-induced headache.
Bluesheets and Roubler have recently partnered up to provide a seamless link from your POS system to your workforce management software, enabling you to track timesheets, rotas, budgets and labour efficiency against sales data, driving better-informed decisions.