Business Visibility Strategies
Use the strategies below to help improve your line of sight
Improve Internal Communication
Communication is arguably the most important part of any business. Your employees - the core of your company - have to communicate to thrive. One of the easiest ways to boost business visibility is to improve internal communications, such as implementing a group chat, connecting remote workers, and breaking down verbal barriers.
Silos are erected in a company when employees across units cease communication. By encouraging internal communication, you free up information, and increase visibility into what’s happening.
Implement Business Intelligence Software
Another step in boosting visibility is by implementing business intelligence software. BI software helps organize information by transforming “data into actionable intelligence that informs an organization’s strategic and tactical business decisions,” according to CIO.
BI software doesn’t tell you what to do with the data, but it can help you understand trends and gaps in order to improve your systems and processes.
Improve Analytics Performance
Internal communications and BI software will undoubtedly generate more data over time, creating more opportunities for reporting.
McKinsey interviewed several executives at companies who used big data and analytics to improve systems and processes.
Improve Financial Performance
Finally, senior leaders can boost visibility through improved financial performance.
Without an accurate look at data, Sara Angeles writes that leaders “lack the ability to forecast your business and resources, which means you assume more risk.” This could affect a company’s revenue and profits, budgets, and how they allocate for expenses and investments such as new hires or benefits.
Companies could also uncover and add new channels for growth by analyzing their financial performance.
- Improve organizational communication
- Look for an analytics platform you can implement quickly
- The right platform can improve your visibility dramatically
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Data Improves Line of Sight
Break down silos and harness the power of data
We create lots of data every day.
Every minute, we search Google 3.8 million times, watch 79 years worth of video, and send nearly half a million tweets, according to InternetLiveStats and Youtube.
Add on top of that more work-specific tasks such as logging information in a CRM or testing a new product, and you can see how companies are overwhelmed by data.
One of the biggest issues with all of the data we generate is that it usually gets siloed.
A data silo is isolated information from a system or department. While a specific system or department knows its data well, that information often can’t be easily accessed by other systems or departments, if at all.
With the amount of data we create on a daily basis, 51 percent of data scientists reported in a CrowdFlower report that they spend most of their time collecting, labeling, cleaning, and organizing data. Not surprisingly, “access to quality data” was cited as the main roadblock to success.
Once this data is filtered and collated, however, business can reap huge benefits across both vertical and horizontal industry markets.
Using the healthcare vertical market as an example, obliterating data silos could lead to improved patient outcomes. Right now, men and women retiring from the military as veterans cannot have their entire patient records shared between federal and state systems, and no connection exists between those systems. “Without timely and quality research, innovations to healthcare and disease management stall, which in turn, directly impede improving quality patient care,” writes Claudine Beron, a vice chairperson at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. She notes that more than a dozen entities have been working for the past decade to reduce this gap between systems so that retired military personnel can receive quality care.
- Data is plentiful, but access to quality data remains a challenge
- Tearing down silos should be the aim of every organization
- With improved access to quality data, line of sight is improved
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Visibility in Supply Chain Management
Maximize your supply chain with better business visibility
Just because your company reaches countries around the world doesn’t mean you have to lose sight of your supplier network.
Technological advances have actually improved supply chain management.
What Is Big Data?
Big data is a constantly evolving term, but in general, the term refers to any combination of data volume (how much), data variety (what type), and data velocity (how fast it must be processed). Gartner goes a step further to say that big data encompasses the types of processing that allow us to glean insight and make decisions.
What Is Happening Today In Supply Chain Visibility?
Despite a deluge of data - which reportedly doubles every year - and despite supply chain visibility being a high priority in 2013, “few companies are actually deriving sustainable value from the supply chain data they are accumulating,” write Lisa Harrington and Toby Gooley. “Instead, they are struggling with how to ensure the quality of their data, how to analyze it, and how to make practical use of what they learn from it.”
What Might Big Data’s Impact On The Supply Chain Look Like In The Future?
Full visibility is moving up as a priority among supply chain managers, and only 6 percent of firms report having it.
TechTarget suggests that big data will help you know when you’ll get goods, which is even better than knowing where they are. “That's becoming more likely as internet of things (IoT) and sensor data increasingly combine with machine learning and other next-generation analytics that provide predictive logistics to help manufacturers go far beyond visibility of supply chains.”
KPMG also suggests the application of big data analytics would create more accurate production and scheduling by revealing “increased visibility of inventory levels, demand, and manufacturing capacity.”
Big data has all the potential in the world to provide business visibility for supply chain managers. This is a critical area that is ripe for innovation right now, and the top performers will be sure to take advantage.
- Data gives you visibility into your supplier network
- Analytics can improve decision making in supply chain management
- Better visibility in supply chain is a significant advantage
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Reasons for Poor Visibility
Poor visibility is a challenge for many organizations
Lack Of Internal Communication
A foundational reason why executives have poor visibility into their business is because internal communication is lacking. Without communication, relationships - and businesses - die.
Financial performance has a strong link with effective communication, according to a 2013 report from the company now known as Willis Towers Watson. In fact, companies with highly effective communication “are three and a half times more likely to significantly outperform their industry peers” than other firms.
Another cause for poor visibility into one’s business is the lack of financial data. Without the ability to forecast resources, you assume more risk.
Part of the reason for this risk management is that companies don’t know their supply chain. Claims Journal reports that insurers are “in the dark” with regard to a policyholder’s suppliers. That means they can’t accurately assess the likelihood of a loss, leaving insurers “more exposed than they realize.”
Not Implementing Business Intelligence Software
A lack of business intelligence software means your executive team will lose insight about the health of your company. To be blunt, you’re out of touch with your business and with your employees.
BI software automates much of what legacy systems were built for, not to mention the time-consuming task of counting and keeping track of individual files or compiling data and building charts. Plus, you can’t see real-time analytics without BI software.
Analyze information and make better decisions with business intelligence software.
A staggering 63 percent of organizations don’t use technology to analyze, track, or monitor their supply chain performance, reported the BCI.
That’s amazing considering Nucleus Research found that organizations who invest in analytics reap $13.01 from every dollar they spent in 2014. It’s hard to argue with that return on investment.
- Start by fixing poor organizational communication
- Find a platform to help manage overwhelming data
- Don't ignore analytics
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Analytics Increase Visibility
The key to better business visibility is analytics
Let’s cut right to the chase: the one thing you need to increase visibility into a business is analytics.
Chances are that you use the term “analytics” on a daily basis.
However, did you know “analytics” has several meanings?
In this article, we’ll use Gartner’s definition: Analytics “describe statistical and mathematical data analysis that clusters, segments, scores and predicts what scenarios are most likely to happen.“
The Benefits Of Analytics
Analytics are beneficial because they bring disparate data sources together to share information easily and in real time. This clustering leads to outcomes like better order fulfillment, improved supplier management, and reduced costs.
A key part of Gartner’s definition also suggests data analysis could lead to predictable outcomes, which is a common thought among experts. “Predictive analytics are especially useful to sales teams,” writes Forsyth Alexander for IBM. “This type of technology allows businesses to gather information on past behavior to predict future events.”
How To Get Analytics
The easiest way to get analytics for your business is with business intelligence software. The best part is that implementing BI software means you’ll leap ahead of the competition since the Business Continuity Institute reports that more than 6 out of 10 organizations “do not use any technology to analyse, track, and monitor the performance of their supply chains.”
Big-data tools allow you to parse and predict data to better understand things like the overall health of your organization.
- Analytics will improve business visibility
- Using an analytics platform is a key to success
- Data will lead to better understanding