In today’s world there is a lot of hype around data and its usage, Let’s take a closer look at the penalties for a lack of data and data visibility in particular.
All managers like to know what is going on at any given point in time, but on a global, birds eye level, this means you need to have data driven reports that capture all the activities throughout the company and be able to quantify it into a usable and valuable chart or report that is easy to understand and make the data stand out elegantly. These types of reports can help identify problems ahead of time or provide good feedback on the latest change in process or business direction.
Do you have the capacity to take a greater market share? Are your employees following the process accurately? How much time is wasted dealing with petty issues? These are just some of the many critical questions managers would often like to have the answer to but many organizations have no clue where to derive the data from and how to represent and visualize it.
At the back end of the business, operations are dealing with the actual transactions day in and day out. This means they have to access a vast amount of data on a very detailed level. At the front end of the business, where daily interactions with customers/clients occur, the data visibility is more critical for making decisions in real time. Lack of information may lead to poor decisions being made and customers can be impacted directly, which of course is bad for any business.
Dealing with changes is time consuming, especially when you don’t have full visibility of other users actions on the system. Sometimes you need to discuss changes (or lack of changes) with other member of the organization, this is critical in real time, for example, when there is a client on the line expecting an explanation and resolution for an issue.
During an audit, data is accessed randomly or systematically to prove you have the right process and tools to give the best service possible according to regulations. Failing to provide data accurately may lead to the wrong decision being made regarding the business compliance state at any given moment.
If you need to prove you were compliant at a given point in the past, can you provide the historical data to support this? Can you reconstruct a complete system (or subsystem) to a point in time to prove all your actions and positions were according to the law? If not, the consequences can be catastrophic to a business, resulting in lost time, manpower (trying to find or rectify the data), not to mention potentially hefty fines, taking energy away from the core business function. It’s bad financially, it’s bad for business and it’s not good for morale either.
Some organizations provide clients with an online portal to access their account, to communicate and for improved service. For the client, the data is very important, as it is their own private personal details and information and they expect the company to treat their information with respect. These days, customers expect to see accurate data and historical information captured to see how the data was changed and by whom (the client or the company users).
Can the client see historical data going back to each and every transaction made? Can it explain some of the questions they may have without getting internal staff involvement? Most likely the answer is limited to the interface build. Some systems don’t provide any visibility and some only offer limited visibility such as showing just some of the objects or historical data limited to the last ten changes for example. When a client needs information that only your internal staff can get for them, it wastes time. It’s important to give clients access to as much information as they might ever need, that they can access themselves on a system that is intuitive and user-friendly. When setting up an online portal for clients, planning is everything, it will save a lot of time in the long run, and of course it will keep your clients happy.
Lack of visibility can have a significant impact on a business. Not knowing what is happening in an organization from a data perspective can affect management decisions, staffing, HR decisions and customer experience decisions. The strategic and high level decisions that are made have a direct impact on a business’ bottom line, return on investment and can ultimately cost customers and cause problems with the governing authorities. So, ask yourself, can you afford not to have visibility over your data?