For some, simply skimming over material with words like ‘systems analysis’ or ‘business statistical data’ causes eyes to glaze over as interest and attention vaporize into thin air like a wisp of smoke. But these business buzzwords are not so nebulous in their foundations. Analytical data and use of Big Data actually permeates our everyday lives; take your GPS system, for example, guiding you through your morning commute. As you drive along, the system is constantly sorting and sifting through vast quantities of information, detecting the amount of traffic along a particular route, thereby predicting (based upon available data) alternative routes to save you time in traffic. But how do businesses use this? Well, what if you were a coffee shop that just happened to be located on the same route that a GPS user takes to work? Wouldn’t you want to be aware of that information to provide more targeted marketing to these customers? These bits of business analytics data come in the form of Geographical Information Systems (GIS), just one avenue through which one can garner business analytics data.
In the business world there are many ways to gather and apply business analytics data, and while one of the most obvious is the above consumer-centric GPS/GIS example, one of the the more underlooked but equally important sources of data is your quality management system. With the right software, you can analyze your own internal processes to fine tune your business.
Let’s look at a few situations where quality management software can help glean that nugget of essential data.
Back in the day, before the prolific spread of modern technology, documents were all hand written and gathered from hours upon hours of studying sales numbers, marketing surveys, and customer feedback. The data collected was then written into reports that led to new initiatives that centered on improving customer service, creating timelier deliveries, and predicting market trends used to benefit business as well as gain a larger customer base. The problem is that a human can only do so much, so areas from which people can manually “mine” data had to be carefully selected based on how useful that data was projected to be. Not only that, but even the best humans make mistakes–take doctors, for example, who actually misdiagnose patients between 5%-15% of the time! While too much data can bog down analysis, accurately finding that trend (or diagnosing the symptoms of a problem) you never thought existed can make or break your company, and even save lives. Fortunately, with today’s technology, we can enjoy the luxury of software that rarely errs and never sleeps, mining all available points of data, and analyzing each bit of it so that you don’t have to. Imagine a system that generates sales reports which intuitively predict where improvements are needed, based upon benchmarks or standards that are failing to be met–all delivered to you automatically, so that you don’t have to lift a finger. Just remember that as data becomes easier to access for you, so does it become easier to access for criminals and competitors. Storing and securing your business analytics data is just as important as gathering it.