Data is at the heart of every business and is foundational in every aspect of a business. Whether it’s customer information, inventory levels, order management or payment information, nothing happens without data being produced, consumed, updated and reported. Historically, our data has been just that, the information that runs a business. But, over the past several years, data has taken on a grander identity as an asset. And, as an asset, it has value — a value that can be leveraged by the business to identify opportunities or gaps and potentially exploited through cyber-attacks and the hacker community. It can be the answer for struggling sales, missed marketing opportunities or held at bay in a ransomware attack that could cripple an organization.
In the past, legacy reporting displayed data in typical columnar format with rows and rows of numbers that went on sometimes for pages. Over time, consumers of these reports would learn how to best review the data as efficiently as possible. In the end, the reporting of this data was very much situated in the past, telling what had happened versus what could possibly happen.
It might show that sales were slumping but didn’t offer much in the way of identifying opportunities or a path to course-correcting those sales.
With the advancement and adoption of data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics, the reporting world has changed considerably. Data sources that were not easily combined before can now be funneled into powerful data warehouses where they can be modeled and made available through business intelligence tools that have taken traditional reports containing columns and rows of numbers to visual, dynamic and interactive charts and graphs placing incredible power in the hands of the business that was never there before.
Our reporting and analytics journey has been transformational. Since our launch in early Fall 2020, the adoption and usage has increased exponentially and the feedback from our employees and franchisees has been tremendous. With a separate team within IT dedicated to the ongoing development of data models and dashboards, combined with a user council made up of company and franchise members, our business is now armed with tools that enable them to better understand trends, dive into anomalies and make better-informed decisions.
Our strong partnerships with product vendors, Google (Looker) and AWS (Redshift) and channel partner, Aptitive, have enabled us to leverage their experience and expertise in advancing our platform. Performance tuning has been a key factor since the beginning of this journey. We have learned from experience and have been laser-focused on steadily improving performance along the way as we recognized early on that performance can be a make or break experience in user adoption.
As we move forward, we are continuously working on incorporating other data pillars and designing new dashboards as well as refining existing dashboards. As we gain maturity, we also gain capabilities. Our journey enables us to not only build on this new platform but begin the steady retirement of legacy systems and reports. More importantly, it positions us to leave behind an antiquated approach to data and instead build on a newfound way of consuming, analyzing and leveraging data. Any company desiring to succeed in the current and future marketplace, should re-evaluate their data and reporting processes to ensure it best serves your customers and your company’s goals.