The Realities of Decision-Making with Big Data
A survey by the SAS Institute found that 67% of companies are now using big data in order to gain an edge over their competitors. Their use of analytics has enabled 46% to streamline operations, 36% to identify target customers, and 29% to evaluate employees.
Your business’s software systems already collect vast amounts of data, and these tools are fully capable of parsing this data into meaningful, useful, and actionable information. Are you utilizing all the information you have at your fingertips in order to make better decisions?
Using Big Data in Sales
Your business’s POS software system is a natural repository for big data. Think of all the numbers you can pull from your system: what you’re selling, how much you’re selling it for, who you’re selling it to, and when you sell the most. You can pull sales information for the past year, the past month, or the past three days. The things you can do with this information include:
- Determining optimal production volumes of your business’s products. Knowing the rate at which your inventory is being sold – and how that compares to your sales forecasts – enables you to immediately ramp up production on an item that is performing better than expected, thus decreasing out-of-stock periods. Or, you may find you need to cease producing an item that is filling your shelves and storage room with overstocks.
- Adjusting prices and promotions to result in the highest possible sales and profit. Your sales metrics can compare product prices versus purchase volumes, identify slowly-moving inventory, and predict the success of future promotions based on past results.
Managing Employees with Big Data
From scheduling to hiring, your employee management decisions can be positively impacted with the inclusion of big data. For example: your POS software can forecast sales volumes by the day and hour. With this information, you can more efficiently schedule your employees to handle peak periods effectively without overstaffing slow periods. You can also determine which employees produce the greatest number of sales, the highest revenues, the fastest checkout times, and more.
- This data indicates who your highest and lowest performers are – giving you leeway to reward your best employees and provide extra training to those who need it.
Are you hiring? Even your recruitment or applicant tracking software has analytics capabilities that inform your hiring decisions. The software orders applicants based on objective measures – level of education, previous work experience, or results of a pre-application questionnaire.
- Since 46% of employees fail within 18 months, utilizing objective measures of applicant compatibility can drastically reduce your rate of negligent hires (Leadership IQ).
Marketing with Big Data
The best marketing strategies utilize customer data in order to create a campaign that will successfully appeal to your target demographic. You can access customer data through your CRM system, social media analytics, website traffic, and ecommerce data. The more sources you use to acquire customer data and create your customer profiles, the better you will able to market to those customers effectively.
- Fine-tune your marketing campaigns to appeal to the demographic that is most likely to respond positively to your appeal. Identify which segment of your target market is the most valuable, and find new markets that are as-yet unexplored.
Using big data to guide your business decisions can help you streamline your processes, make better predictions for future sales volumes, and more effectively market to segments of your customer base. No matter where you source your data, make sure that you use it appropriately and effectively.
About the Author
Megan Webb-Morgan is a business blogger who writes on topics ranging from startups to enterprise business solutions. She writes for online lead generation source Resource Nation. You can follow Resource Nation on Twitter and Facebook!