What Does It Mean To Be "DATA-DRIVEN"?

We’ve worked with hundreds of integrators over the years. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that the urgencies of the moment tend to be the priority.

Every company has urgencies. But when urgencies are happening all the time – and especially when it’s always on the owner to get things resolved – the company becomes crisis-driven. Head down, running as fast as it can, the company tries to outrun chaos. There’s little chance to look up, and see what lies ahead.

There’s a better way. We call it “data-driven”. It’s where company managers use data from their software systems to make decisions about the future. The data helps managers plan, and get ahead of the chaos. Urgencies still happen, of course, but there are disciplined ways to deal with them. Customer service improves greatly.

What “data” are we talking about? We’ll point to two we’ve seen make a tremendous difference in integration companies:

Standardized chart of accounts. This is the “foundation” supporting your database. Ultimately, the financial results of all company activity accumulate in the accounts you’ve set up in your bookkeeping system. If those accounts are designed to organize data in a meaningful way, financial reporting provides managers actionable information for making decisions. It takes an hour or two to convert a typical account list to an integrator-specific standardized list.

Item database. When items are entered in the database according to the protocols of the account list, all item admin – purchasing, proposing, selling, servicing – is made more efficient and accurate. Reports can be readily produced showing what’s on order, what’s been received/backordered, what products and services have yet to be delivered to projects, and much more. Project management takes on real meaning, and allows for vastly improved productivity.

Now, the item database is a bit more work than the account list. But the time required – a couple days of solid work in Quickbooks, plus another day or two if you’re keeping a database in something like D-Tools or iPoint – will pay off every day thereafter.

Here’s some free help for you…

You can download a standardized chart of accounts, item guidelines, and even standardized item categories from our Bi4Ci resource library. Click here.

Bi4Ci “Third Thursday” Town Hall

June 15 at 11a CDT we will begin our monthly “town hall” webinars to show how the data from our business intelligence dashboards can be used to make improvements in margins, productivity, cash flow, and more. Current users and interested dealers are invited to this 30-minute monthly meeting. Register here.

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