We are engulfed in the value of automation and online systems to help make businesses run better, more cheaply and more efficiently. It is easy to forget that computers, their applications and easy to reach online resources are worth nothing without some sort of human involvement. They are merely tools built to make humans function better, whatever their role or task may be.
In his book Zero to One, venture capitalist Peter Thiel states that “while computers can find patterns that elude humans, they don’t know how to compare sources or how to interpret complex behaviors. Actionable insights can only come from a human analyst.”
Peter states that companies found the maximum benefit by having a computer find patterns or highlight items of interest culling through large masses of data, then allow an expert to look at the analytics to pick things to act upon. Rather than having one single solution either all computer based or all human based, team them to bring together the best of both for greater results.
When it comes to Business Intelligence software, the quality of the BI tools is how much analysis is provided to the expert so they can apply their knowledge to make recommendations for actions. If you doubt this, ask yourself if you have ever had to call a consultant in to interpret a situation for you using the information that you have. He may have run the analysis for you but, he only left you with recommendations with which you were to make decisions that would be best for your business.
So by now, you may be saying you agree but asking how this interprets to making money.
Catching Revenue Loss as it Starts
Business Intelligence software in a C-Store company will look for trends while gathering data over many days, weeks, months, or even years. This will tell you when downturns should be expected and when things should be on the rise. It also allows you to see when you need to take action to optimize the sales or performance peaks and take action to minimize those dips you face each year.
Helps You Make Better Inventory Purchasing and Placement Decisions
When viewing the data, your managers will find things like the slow moving products that should be eliminated from your purchasing. It will highlight the hot things where the money you just saved on the slow movers can make you more money. You will be certain that the inventory placed in the proper place in each store.
It Gives You a Better Perspective
It will monitor revenue impacting details like customer counts, cash over/short, voids, and returns, all of which will flag when problems may be starting. Human monitoring may not observe it to be a problem right away if $50 a week loss was coming in at only $2.50 a shift. If you can find solve revenue burning problems early, you minimalize their impact to your bottom line.
Find the Things You Don’t Have Time to Look For
Because the monitoring process and analysis are automated, more can be considered in your evaluation. Manual analysis takes time and left to rely on paper reports and self analysis, you are forced to limit what you are to monitor so you can do all that you have to do in order to run your business. With the automation for Business Intelligence, you merely have to look at the results.
Here is what is important. It would not be that the software reported a loss of $50 in a week at a store that solves your problem, but rather the Supervisor knowing it immediately and addressing the issue with the Store Manager as soon as it is known. BI software allows you to easily monitor all aspects of revenue impacting performance that Managers just don’t have the time to do. It is not that it is pointing out areas of concern, it is that it has the ability to highlight all areas of concern regarding your revenue and affords the manager the time to resolve them all.