Data—one nearly indisputable fact about data is that the more you look at it—and the more WAYS that you look at it—the more information you’ll find. It’s important to look at your data from 30,000 feet but it’s also important to get down into the nitty-gritty details. It’s important to look at data from a single entity perspective such as looking at a single department, a single function or process, or even a single company. But it’s also important to look at your data as a consolidated whole. This allows you to optimize processes across departments and make sound decisions that affect the entire company.
Suppose you want to look at profitability by individual sale. Your revenue, cost of sales, and shipping are all in your ERP. T&E is in a T&E tracking application, payroll by person is in the payroll system service database that you run in the Cloud, commissions by person by sale is in a home-grown commissions system. Further, marketing touches, expenses by campaign, and pre-sales support activity are all captured in the CRM. To get a true picture of the total variable costs per sale, you need to consolidate databases that extend across departmental boundaries. And to understand the trends in these costs and make determinations where to increase investment and where to cut expenses, you have to look at the relationships in the consolidated data.
BIO Business Intelligence includes a complete data warehouse that allows you to consolidate databases and give users access to all of the information without having to know where the data originates. So if your sales manager has a suspicion that spending more on marketing materials for the website will result in less sales calls, he can do some drag-and-drop ad hoc analysis and bring fact-based recommendations to the next management meeting.
Getting the data into the BIO data warehouse is easy and getting it out is even easier. There are however, some planning and considerations necessary before you can consolidate databases. Here are some of the things you’ll need to think about—
- What is the quality of the data in your databases? Are the records complete? How are blank fields handled in each of the databases?
- Do the databases use common terminology or does one database, for example, refer to “client name” and another to “customer name?”
- Do the databases have common data formats? Is “zip code” an alpha field in one and a numeric field in another? Is pipe measured by weight in one database and length in another?
- Do the databases use common hierarchies? Or does the GL use a hierarchy of company-district-region-office while the commissions database uses territory-customer-sale?
- Will the unique identifiers used in each database be useful in consolidating the data or will you need to create a new id that is a combination of the identifiers in two or more databases?
- How will changes in the structure of the source database be made in the consolidated database once the consolidated database is up and running?
- How will accounting and reporting changes made to the source databases be handled in the consolidated database?
- How will security be handled to allow the same level of security as in the source databases?
Using BIO to access consolidated data for reporting and analysis will enable your users to discover much more about your business than using separate functional or departmental databases and it will enable them to respond to the insights they develop faster and better and maximize profitability across the organization.
For more information about using BIO to consolidate your data for reporting and analysis or to schedule a one-on-one demo, call us at 203.327.0800 or email us at [email protected].
Register to join us for a free webinar, Step Up from FRX and Management Reporter to BIO, on June 26 at 2pm.
By Sandi Richards Forman, BIO Analytics Corp. [email protected] Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.