Thursday, 7 June 2012

How Business Intelligence Can Shape Your Future

A few years ago we helped the UK office of Phoenix Contact, a leading German manufacturer of electrical connection and industrial automation equipment, after they were tasked with driving UK Sales and increasing market share. Lee Grogan, Sales Manager, is checking back in with them to see how implementing BI has shaped their future as a growing business. Martin Potter, Sales and Marketing Director at Phoenix Contact, gives us some insight into how the project went and where they are now.

One of the issues we hear about time and time again from our clients is that their own data is very difficult to both manage as well as access. This not only affects efficiency but it can also affect the bottom line because, without that data, the outgoing costs and incoming revenues can be obscured. What issues led your office to consider implementing a BI solution?

Martin: Information within our company was traditionally hard to access and regarded as confidential. Each department was working hard, but on its own agenda. The new management team wanted to refocus the company on sales and ensure everyone was working towards the same objectives. By increasing access to information, we hoped to transform our culture and energise staff to deliver the results we were looking for.

We have seen situations where a consultant company has come in and basically dictated to their client how they need to do things without regard to their client’s business structure and even their working environment. This is something that we discourage within our own company as it’s important to us that we work in concert with our clients rather than simply telling them what to do. Can you give our readers your thoughts on what it was like working with us on this project?

Martin: DSCallards really listened to our needs, often facilitating discussions we might not have had internally, to get a clear picture of our objectives and where the value lay. They didn’t dictate how we should do business – they simply enabled us to get more value from our data to hit our targets while preserving our uniqueness.”

In the end, the most important thing to us is that the solutions we implement work for our clients and help them create a better business. How has implementing a BI solution helped you meet your goal of increasing your market share and drive sales?

Martin: Key to transforming our performance was exposing what was going on in our business, as this tends to concentrate people’s minds on understanding their own impact and improving their individual or departmental performance…You can see the effect of the numbers on performance in real-time, which has an amazing influence.

Well there you have it. Implementing a robust BI solution helped this business gain insight into what was going on and where they could improve. That’s the kind of thing that can give you an edge over your competitors in this tough market. Want to know more about our project with Phoenix Contact? You can read the entire case study on our website along with several others. Once you are done reading up on how we helped others, feel free to wander around the rest of our website to find out how we can help you.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Ensure Your View of Information is Crystal Clear

Most people in business are accustomed with having to create reports at work- whether it is a finance report, a sales report or a marketing report- the list is endless. However, a surprisingly high number of people aren’t so familiar with business dashboards. Many people that get in touch with us aren’t even aware what a business dashboard is and so don’t realise that it can radically transform the delivery of information within a business or organisation. 

Reporting is one of those routine duties; whether it is on a daily, weekly or quarterly basis. As such it is generally the norm that little or no thought is put to improving the presentation of the information. We find that those individuals that try and think outside of the box realise that presenting a report to consumers with reams of information isn’t the answer, as the information isn’t easily accessible. How many of you are familiar with providing a report to say sales agents, management or company directors only to have them get back to you with further requests often alluding to the fact they haven’t got time to read the information you have presented them with?

We typically find that Dashboards are especially popular with senior management and those in sales, as they are often the individuals that require quick answers to questions. Instant access to business critical information is where dashboards really come into their own.
Business dashboards when developed properly provide:
  •  At-a-glance views of key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to a particular objective or business process.
  •  A simple view of information, which communicates easily.
  •  Summaries, key trends and comparisons. Meaning that it’s easier to identify patterns, trends and anomalies.
  • Organisations with meaning and useful data.

What’s more, development is currently being undertaken for the “next generation” of SAP Crystal Dashboard Design. As demo’d by SAP there is a new dashboard prototype which will in essence centre on a new HTML5 format. Historically dashboards have been rendered in a flash format however; the new HTML5 version will allow you to integrate dashboards into mobile devices.

If you feel that you would like to improve the presentation of information within your organisation why not take a look at some examples we have developed: and perhaps it will help start a radical transformation in your business.

Written by:  Abby Vanstone, Sales Executive, DSCallards