One of the most common questions our clients ask is: ‘how can our business become more profitable?’ The answer is both simple and complex.

You need to understand what is happening in your business from A to Z.

And that means having clear insights across your operations, transactions, delivery, and development of products and services to meet customer needs whether that be B2B activity or a constituent service. This allows you to see both what is being done now and what you need to do in future to improve your business.  

Darren Covington explores how treating data as an asset can win you more customers, insights from Data and Digital Transformation in the Mid Market, KPMG's survey of mid-market business leaders.


Treating data as an asset

How can you achieve this? Through making your data work for you. It’s been said that ‘data is the new oil’ and there’s no doubt business leaders are beginning to understand that a great deal of the data they possess will allow their organisations to accelerate business initiatives. Many mid-market businesses store large amounts of data due to the increase in technology they have implemented over the past 20 years. But this can often result in an unused or underused asset. Step one in helping to realise profitability is ensuring you treat Data as an Asset and that your data is accurate, reliable, timely, validated and secure. This will allow you to make informed decisions, consolidating information across the organisation.

Take crane operators on the waterfront of busy ports. The operators pick up containers from cargo ships and transport them to warehouses. Operators are paid by volume – the greater the container volume, the more they earn. If the electronic gearbox on a crane stalls, it’s quick and easy to hit the reset button, rather than investigate if there’s a bigger underlying problem because it’s in the operators’ interests to keep working. But if the reset button is pressed too many times, the gearbox stops functioning or fails completely. That means the whole crane is out of action for several hours or longer, which can result in huge losses due to downtime, lack of productivity, the need to obtain spare parts, repairs or complete gearbox replacement.

However, if the crane is fitted with a sensory device, this can signal to the operations manager that there is a problem, which can be immediately investigated and quickly repaired, so work can continue. That can potentially save millions of dollars and demonstrates how data insights can be used to alter behaviour patterns and contain potential issues.

Consolidating a single view of data

It’s also important to have a holistic view of data across your business, so you can accurately plan present and future operations. Many organisations have silos of data that are not consolidated. But you need a single view of your data to be successful.

Integration and a Master Data Management view will assist you in deriving greater insights, both into areas for improvement, the costs of running your business, as well as future opportunities for growth.

Let’s say you are the CEO of a retail business. You need to understand the profitability per customer. That means charting every step across the processes that touch the customer and the costs to serve that customer. Data will tell you the level of transaction along that journey. At a customer level, data lets you know whether a customer buys a product online or decides not to at check-out. Plus, it also provides information across an integrated supply chain – availability of stock, pricing, number of customers for a given product and logistics to ship. These disparate sources of data can be integrated to create a single view of the customer. That has an impact upon service levels, customer experience and ultimately how loyal customers will be towards your product or service.

Unlocking the potential

Banks are another example of intelligent use of data. Many are advertising their mobile applications extensively. When you tap into a banking app, the ensuing data provides unique insights into your banking habits. A bank manager can see your personal spending and saving patterns at a glance. As a result, the manager might be able to suggest ways in which you could reduce your spending, and consequently save on your mortgage. Such use of data leverages consumer behaviour across transactions, spending and saving and allows more traditional banks to compete on the value they offer, rather than price.

This in turn drives value for consumers and ensures they remain loyal customers. Which of course, results in greater profitability for the banks.

In fact, the greater the use of data insights, the greater the potential for company profitability. Whether it’s using data to develop new products and increasing sales, understanding trends, the make-up of your customer base and improving customer experience, or reading data to aid in risk management and minimisation, the intelligent use of data analytics is a formidable tool that can help to increase your bottom line.

The key is consolidating all your data so that it works optimally for your business – and that’s the subject of our next blog in the series.

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What’s Driving Mid Market Transformation?

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