Business Intelligence: A Single Source Of (Data) Truth [RE-POST]
Efficient data collection and business intelligence will always be a part of a successful business strategy no matter what the industry happens to be.
Here’s a post we published in 2017 that touches on that, and the importance of investing in technology that helps you collect the data you need, but also allows you to understand the story it’s trying to tell you.
One of the big challenges right now, across all industries, is that organizations are seeing a general overall increase in the amount of data that's incoming or to which they have access. The sentiment 'more data doesn't necessarily mean better data/better decisions' is widely accepted by now. The real challenge is deciding how to organize that data, and how to take action on it in a meaningful way.
Historically, data in the hospitality industry has been separated into different silos. Organizations were seeing disparate information collected from labor, inventory and sales, without any means of aligning into a cohesive, meaningful whole; a single source of truth.
What's the best way to do that? Let’s take a look.
Connecting the (data) dots
Collected data is only as good as the story it tells; and that story is only as good as the real-world actions it informs. If various systems are only revealing part of the story without a connection between them that's immediately obvious, getting clarity on the big picture and building a workable strategy is a tall order.
To create a unified solution that really tells a meaningful story to the organization, each source of data has to contribute to the whole. Those data dots have to connect. So, what's to be done? The way that forward-thinking hospitality companies are doing that is in real time, using tools that pull all of their data into one space. They're using the cloud. This goes beyond the reliance on single products or static processes.
Re-thinking the role of products
Here's the harsh truth that I've come to understand. Products come and go. They evolve. They even die. What should be constant is how effective those products are in helping management to build a coherent story about the business based on real incoming data. Individual products should be thought about strictly as a means to that end. From there, it's easier to see the most direct road to a tangible goal: more sales, increased customer traffic, less waste, and other metrics that lead to company growth.
When you know the story the data is telling you in real time, you can take action in real time, too. The same goes with being able to share reporting with colleagues wherever they are so that everyone involved is acting on the same business narrative. When you're evaluating possible solutions for your specific needs, having an idea of how they fit into your organization will be essential to getting your company to where you want it to be.
Creating a scalable intelligence ecosystem
What we're really talking about here is creating a scalable and intelligent ecosystem that helps you find the story in your data as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Again, products are just a way to get there. Every product you're using should make it easy to collect and action that data in real time in ways that are meaningful; serving customers better, making people's jobs easier, reducing more waste. It's the way that they connect to that intelligence ecosystem that should count toward building that meaningful strategy.
Business strategists in any industry need to have that single point of truth in any given moment to accomplish this. Hitting vital revenue targets, gaining better customer reviews, and raising brand awareness all depends on the quality and freshness of the data and how that informs business behaviors. All of this is what cloud-based technology offers, bringing products and processes into one healthy environment.
Better intelligence, better results
So the moral of the story is this: your investment should be focused on the overall solution that delivers superior intelligence for the business, as opposed to individual products.
Real time data that is unified in the cloud gives you a clearer picture of what is happening to help you get there, supported by the products that connect into one cohesive ecosystem. Then, you can take the right actions at the right time. That's the common denominator to success. In order to do all that, cloud-based technology is designed to do all of the heavy lifting for you.
That’s the way the whole industry is going.
Knowing the story leads to success
Building a future in a competitive industry is about finding the story that your data is trying to tell you. Knowing that story means knowing the direction you should move in. That knowledge helps enterprise-level hospitality brands serve their guests and patrons better, balance their costs against their revenue better, and suggest the next steps to growth. This ultimately leads to greater successes all around.
For more ways to understand and improve business intelligence for your organization, this white paper, The Future of BI is Networked, is a great starting point.