According to a report by the Cloud Security Alliance, an average small business run an average of 22 applications. The sheer amount of data produced by business applications can lead to an overwhelming sense of confusion.
So how does one turn data from applications into useful information that can drive key business decisions? Here are some suggestions to help make sense of all the numbers:
1. Learn how to export data from key applications.
2. Understand the key data that provides a pulse of your business.
3. Ensure exported data is accurate.
4. Use tools that help visualize data and make it easier to digest.
5. Set goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to ensure things are on track.
6. Make adjustments to the business along the way.
Learn how to export data from key applications.
Most applications allow users to download key data for further analysis. Consult the application provider for specific details on exporting data. Generally this data will be exported as a Microsoft Excel document or a .csv file.
Understand the key data that provides a pulse of your business.
Every business has key information that indicates how well things are going. For most businesses, revenue and expenses are standard metrics but every business is different. As an example a consulting firm might also want to keep an eye on the number of clients being served.
Ensure exported data is accurate.
It is always a good idea to take a look at the data in Microsoft Excel to ensure that it has the correct information. Before digesting the information, any unneeded data should be removed.
Use tools that help visualize data and make it easier to digest.
Looking at a spreadsheet of numbers is a great way to get vertigo but not an ideal way of assessing the health of a business. Tools like graphs in Microsoft Excel can be very helpful to data. Advanced tools like Microsoft Power BI are capable of transforming your data into powerful dashboards.
Set goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to ensure things are on track.
Measuring data is only useful if it drives business decisions and activities. Set goals for specific facets of the business and use the data to gauge how well the business hits them.
Make adjustments to the business along the way.
The data will help identify what needs attention but it is up to the small business owner to know how to affect change. For instance, knowing that the number of clients being served is going down every quarter could be a sign to initiate an outbound marketing campaign.
We Can Help
1527 Strategies can help your small business understand data. Contact us today to see how we can provide tools to easily understand what your business data is telling you.