1. Exceed customer expectations with data insights
Your business systems hold valuable information about your customers. This data is key to helping you deliver valuable, personalised experiences that will exceed their expectations and give you the competitive edge.
But it’s no use to you if it’s not on a centralised system that sucks data in from every part of the business to provide you with a single source of data. From here all the analysis, reporting and business intelligence you need is managed in one system; no need to export it to a 3rd party platform like Excel.
The benefits of customer data
When collected and analysed properly, your customer data can unlock all kinds of benefits, including:
Deeper understanding of your market
Customer data is great for understanding business performance because it can clue you into how your customers behave, segment these customers into different segments and then come up with ways to improve the customer experience.
With this data to hand, you can gain greater insights into what they want from your company, the products or services they’re looking for and how they like to interact with your brand. From here, you can then make the necessary adjustments, whether it’s improving communication, tweaking your website or offering new products.
An improved customer database
When you have quality data from customers who have interacted with you in some way, you can use their IP addresses, emails and phone numbers to fine tune the way you approach them.
Modern ERP systems include CRM functionality that will enable you to retain an up-to-date record of your customers’ data. Ensuring your CRM data is kept up to date and accurate will accrue huge benefits as your business grows.
For example, as you scale you may wish to use a marketing automation platform and, given the integration capabilities ERP solutions today offer you, will be able to sync your CRM data to third-party platforms with ease.
Your customer data can be used to create meaningful engagement. In an age of advertising and communication overload your data holds the insights you need to tailor your marketing communications appropriately.
By letting customers know about future opportunities and more effectively gauging their interest in your company based on their on-site behaviour and how they respond to your communications, collateral and advertisements, you put more time, effort and marketing budget into generating quality leads – as opposed to blindly contacting leads that won’t, well, lead anywhere.
If you’re not personalising your product suggestions, communication and even order confirmations, then you may be missing out on more business. And nowadays, customers expect personalisation more than ever.
The good thing is that, through your customer data, you can learn more about the products or services your customers are interested in, so you can then present products to them that they’re more likely to buy. And with that, you’ll be shortening the sales cycle considerably and improving your ROI in the long run too.
And you don’t need to sift through mountains of data to do this. Your ERP system can create exception reports that demonstrate key factors you want to analyse.
For example, which customers are not buying a certain range etc. From there you can personalise your marketing content to support your end goal.
2. Achieve an unbiased view of the business’ financials
A major decision-making tool to have in your business’ arsenal; financial data provides your company with an objective source of truth. Reliable and unbiased, it’s an essential means of gauging your successes, and its considerable insights provide a pathway towards a more effective business strategy into the future too.
Any modern ERP system worth its salt will include fully integrated financials. Integrated financials make multi-dimensional, real-time reporting across your cost centres, departments, subsidiaries and branches effortless.
The benefits of financial data
A clearer view of your business performance
Real-time financial data can provide you with as broad or as fine-tuned a financial picture as you need. With the right type of business management software in place, you can hone in on things like location, department, project, customer and vendor to work out how each of these areas are impacting your business’ overall success.
By viewing your business’ cash flow, assets, revenue, expenses and more, you can compare your performance to previous years, work out where you want to be in the future and understand how things are operating in the here and now.
Drill-down functionality and in-depth audit trails also ensure you don’t have to waste time querying transactions or anomalies. The data can be readily analysed, and in-built business intelligence functionality can present key insights to you and your team without having to run static reports.
Faster fraud and error detection
When you have up-to-date information on your transactions as and when they happen, any mistakes or suspicious activity will be flagged up far sooner. And should any account balances not line up or incorrect deposits come through, for instance, you can act much quicker than you could without such data.
In fact, you can configure your system to ensure you are alerted of any anomalies in real-time. For example, if you want to ensure you are informed of any sales transactions that yield a margin below ‘X’%, you can easily set up an alert to receive this information via an email, system pop-up, or SMS.
More accurate forecasts and predictions
Without historical data to back them up, creating goals to help the business as a whole is going to be a challenge. When you can lean on accurate financial data, however, making predictions and setting goals becomes far less of a risk.
Whatever it is you want to do, whether it’s opening a new location or optimising your delivery, looking back on your company’s performance, noting the trends and creating achievable plans through your financial data makes the goal-setting process much smoother.
Predictive forecasting tools within ERP systems also take the legwork out of this process, providing you with a set of forecasts based on previous data. You may want to tweak these forecasts but they provide a great basis to start from.
Agile business decisions
As great as historical data is, data from the present can provide you with timely insights that enable you to take appropriate action instantly to make sure your business stays on track. Alerts highlighting deviations from the norm or negative KPI trends can provide you with the controls you need to take decisive action before events spiral.
3. Getting a clearer view with inventory data
For businesses that deal with stock, inventory data is essential. By continually assessing and evaluating your stock, it’s possible to fully optimise stock availability so you can ensure you’re always meeting demand and, as an added bonus, keeping storage costs down to a minimum.
The benefits of inventory data
Consistent stock levels
When you know how much inventory you have at a given moment, you can then decide on how much stock to order and when you need to reorder it. By improving your stock visibility, it’s possible to meet customer demand without ending up with excess stock that eats into your inventory costs.
Less wasted inventory
If you find yourself creating inventory write offs more often than not, then you’ll know the effect this can have on your revenue. Instead of letting wasted inventory cost your business, inventory data can help you reduce it, allowing you to manage expiration dates and lot numbers, so that none of your stock is dying on the vine inside your warehouse. Your business software can also identify slow moving stock that can be pushed through the warehouse using special offers.
Reduced inventory costs
You can’t avoid inventory holding costs, but you can stop yourself from feeling the pinch by reducing them where you can. By investigating the right data analytics, you can work out what’s causing your inventory holding costs to rise. Once you’ve detected the culprits you can then move ahead with rectifying these issues and boosting your bottom line.
Replenished inventory – at the right time
When demand is constantly in a state of flux, knowing how much inventory to have at any one time can be a challenge. However, by employing minimum and maximum order point recalculations and replenishment rules to your business using ERP software, you can better utilise your suppliers’ lead times and aim for optimal stock holding based on analysed, historical data. This, in turn, can increase your cashflow and greatly improve your customer services.
Tying your data together
Using data to your advantage is an important part of optimising performance, one that benefits the entire business rather than one specific team. With that said, it’s equally important to house this data in a single, unified source.
Not only does this centralise all of your analysis, reporting and business intelligence needs, but it also provides a number of other benefits.
When data is scattered across your business, on different systems, it can lead to duplication, inaccuracies and data silos. But with a single source of truth, everyone has access to correct and accurate data that facilitates greater decision making.
And because of the lack of silos, a centralised system provides more opportunities for collaboration too. It’s this same collaboration that leads to greater transparency, management and control, all of which benefit business performance well into the future.
Likewise, standalone systems can create an inefficiency that stops your teams being as productive as they should. When everyone is working from a centralised database, however, they can get more done and discover new ways to improve processes, enhance efficiency and provide more value for the business as a whole.
Looking for all of the above and more? Intact iQ is your perfect-fit ERP solution, providing enterprise-wide business management across your operations. For more information, head to our product page or get in touch with us today.