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Data analytics: what you need to know

What business owner or manager wouldn’t want to know about this one key piece of the business puzzle - the one that helps you save time, reduce costs, increase productivity and improve customer satisfaction?

This puzzle piece we speak of, you’ve heard about it, thrown around town, probably even by people who have no idea what it’s about. It’s called data analytics. We’d like you to leave this blog with two important takeaways: to grasp the basic purpose of data analytics for SMEs like yours; and to know why it's so important for your business.

The point and purpose of data analytics

Data analytics is the process of examining large sets of data to uncover hidden patterns, correlations, and insights. If that sounds to you like snooping behind the scenes to learn how your business runs, then you’re on the right track. This data is a vault of valuable information. By analyzing your business data, you can identify areas where you're doing well and areas where you need to improve. This helps you make informed, strategic decisions that will improve your business outcomes and drive it forward.

That’s why it matters, but how exactly do you use data to inform your decisions? Taking better-informed decisions starts with collecting the right data.

If you own or manage a trade or field service business, it’s important for you to be able to track metrics like job completion rates, billable hours, and employee utilization rates. These metrics can help you identify which employees are most productive and which jobs are the most profitable. When this data is reliably tracked and analyzed in detail, you end up with a clear picture of how you should allocate resources going forward and which are the most profitable jobs to focus on. What’s more is, you can do all this more efficiently because the analysis was done accurately and quickly.

If you run a product business, you know that good inventory management is essential. Tracking metrics like inventory turnover rate, days sales outstanding (DSO), and customer satisfaction, is your bread and butter. Getting to grips with these metrics helps you determine whether or not you have enough inventory to meet (current or projected) demand. It means you can easily identify slow-moving products that need to be discounted or phased out, and ensure your customers are happy with your products and service.

In any business, manually tracking data can be painfully time-consuming and error-prone. Well, if there are software tools available to close that loop for you, why not use it? Like Jobber or simPRO - if you're running a trade or field service business, you might use this software to track your jobs and employees. If you're running a product business, you might use tools like QuickBooks or Xero to track your inventory and finances.

The great thing about these software tools is that they generate a lot of data automatically. That’s not all. The software can also track your every business metric, so that you don't have to spend hours tracking it manually. The tiny yet significant flyspeck in the ointment is this: just because the data is being generated automatically, it doesn't mean the software is capable of analyzing it effectively. That's where a tool like Wink Reports comes in.

Using data to make better choices

Wink Reports is a SaaS reporting and analytics tool that gives business owners access to the important information hidden in their data. It becomes your own source of business intelligence that helps you make better decisions, based on hard fact.

You can create custom Wink reports that show you the metrics that matter most to your business. On the Wink platform, you have access to report templates, ready for you to use at the click of a button. The time you used to spend trying to figure out how to build reports from scratch can now be used on more important business activities…

Let's say you run a trade or field service business, and you want to identify which employees are most productive or which ones need additional training and support. You can use Wink Reports to create a custom report displaying the billable hours and utilization rates for each of your employees. That’s your own accounting and operating data put to good use for better business outcomes! A report like that can also help you identify which jobs are the most profitable and which need to be re-evaluated.

As a product business owner or manager, you could create a report that displays your inventory turnover rate and DSO. That is if you want to, for example, identify which of your products are the most popular and which ones are collecting dust on a shelf. A report like that can also help you identify any customers experiencing delays or issues with their orders, so you can address these issues quickly and improve customer satisfaction.

In a sense, you can get ahead of a problem by assessing performance (looking at the data and analyzing what it means), and take decisive action that allows you to sidestep that problem.

Leave no data behind

As your business grows, you might migrate over to new software tools. With Wink Reports at your side, none of this precious data gets left behind. Through software integrations, Wink imports all your historical data and merges it with the new, giving you easy access to blended data. You’re able to view trends and fluctuations over time and uncover meaningful, actionable insights.

The bottom line is that data analytics can help you make more informed decisions and forecasts, set growth targets, and improve your business outcomes.

All the questions you’ve ever had about the performance of your company, employees, products or services, your profitability and growth potential, can find answers in real-time data and accurate reporting. If you’re keen to get to the bottom of your business data, let Wink Report help you become master of your metrics - take advantage of our free trial now.

How has data helped you move your business forward? Leave a comment to share your insights with other business owners.

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