You are what you measure

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Part 3: Run a smarter, faster, more connected business

Written by Keir Thomas-Bryant

Those who found much to identify within the previous sections might be asking how things can be done differently. How can you evolve your finance function to be able to gather and benefit from these insights listed in part two of the Blog?

There are a number of recommendations, as follows:

Powerful business insights

Choose a solution that provides specialised, accurate reporting to identify trends and opportunities that give you a competitive edge. Sage has fully integrated software solutions, providing a holistic view of your business, giving you the ability to track, analyse and manage customer and supplier interactions, allowing for fast and effective decision making.

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Breaking out of the siloes

Employees need to understand cause and effect. But when shared with the business, traditional business metrics such as overall profitability can tend to emphasise the negative–a fall in revenue might make the marketing department question its overall performance, for example, when the fault can easily lie elsewhere.

The data isn’t necessarily causing the problem, and nor is sharing it. Instead, a far better approach is to make your traditional business performance metrics such as revenue goals the ‘effect’ and then help your employees understand the ‘cause’ by layering-in more indicative, proactive performance metrics. It may become easier for them to see how their activities contribute to the business.

For example, if metrics about profitable clients are shared with the customer service team then they can opt to help those clients rather than simply fulfilling their KPIs of, for example, dealing with a certain number of client enquiries within a set time period. If metrics about product inventory are shared with sales people then they can take proactive measures to push these product lines, instead of merely pushing blindly for product sales to meet their own KPIs.

Of course, it is up to business leaders to determine how much is shared, with which teams, how often, and in which formats. However, consider how much more effective teams could be if they were all working towards informed, common goals.

Being truly responsive and proactive

What if the metrics you used didn’t always show old data? What if you could see near-live metrics, as the information was generated–and act upon it? What if you could spot trends as they happen, and act upon them before they became an issue within your business? Or what if the positive trends could be harnessed so they’re encouraged to further growth?

With its sophisticated reporting and dashboard functionality based around live metrics, Sage business management solutions give you this power. Connect your business with smart, cost effective, scalable and secure business management solutions. An integrated solution to manage your financials, customers and people while streamlining manufacturing, distribution and key supply chain processes.

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In summary

In today’s hypercompetitive world a business relying solely on traditional performance metrics is in a vulnerable position. The full range of data available needs to be embraced and exploited on an everyday basis to ensure it’s providing the insight the business needs. Additionally, managers within the finance department need to ensure the messages that these insights are telling are told to all those who could benefit from knowing, and that therefore all departments are able to unite behind the common goal of increasing profitability and pushing the business forward.

With proactive and pervasive use of data you can:

  • Increase visibility into financial and client data.
  • Reduce complexity when expanding the business.
  • Eliminate operational silos that prevent collaboration.
  • Reduce uncertainty about things like cash flow shortages and unpaid invoices.

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