I know how tough that questions is. Today is centered on a topic we introduced back in 2005. We are reaching backwards, but running a growing business is a real handful without the data we have been talking about the last few weeks. The calculator of modern times, called Excel, is the main choice for Business Intelligence today.

How Intelligent Are You?


Most modern applications allow you to export to EXCEL but if you want to get to the next level of intelligence you need more.

Keeping our eye on Key Technologies we will focus on tools Fortune 1000 Companies use to “see” their business, Business Intelligence software (BI).

Business Intelligence, the Next Level of Business System Technologies

Imagine looking at your business as if you were looking at a landscape from an airplane getting ready to land. You would be able see the blemishes on the fields, the housing developments, rivers, lakes and all the components that make up that piece of earth you are viewing. That is what Business Intelligence (BI) is for your business, a real time overview of your business with the ability to look at details.

Up until very recently these analysis tools were well beyond the investment scope of small and medium businesses. But now, due to the reduction in price, sophisticated technologies are in reach of most business people. Standard reports and spreadsheets don’t tell a story. On the other hand, with the proper design, BI, not only tells the story, but alerts you if key indices are not being met. Organizations, like yours, cannot spend money on technology that is “nice to have”. As profit percentages keep shrinking it is important that we manage the bottom line, and during this time BI is needed the most. If your GP minimums are not being met, or your “A” items are sagging in their Earn and Turn ratio the time to take action is when the event occurs, not at the end of the month. Quickly catch these hot spots before they become fires.

The way BI works is by taking the transactions of sales, cost and GP and putting them in a data warehouse where they can be analyzed quickly and easily using modern analytic tools. These tools built around OLAP, On Line Analytical Processing have been around for over a decade but have been out of reach technically and financially for most small businesses. The daily transactions of the food business require that one can analyze massive amounts of data rapidly in a format that is designed to make it easy to draw conclusions so that decisions can be made instantly. BI is that tool.

We have had the pleasure of working with some excellent BI guys over the years. Today some of my largest customers use the services of Top Dog in Boston, they have been doing EXCEL driven BI as long as I have been in business. Just call me if you would like their contact info.

Of course not understanding your business model or your goals will make BI next to useless. Monitoring trends in your data with the ability to check daily performance within minutes will help in making those decisions without a crystal ball.

SET GOALS, MONITOR DAILY, ADJUST





Issue 605 - Local Food Will Continue to be Hot

Throughout the last two years we have talked many times about the farm to table market and how it is expanding throughout the food world just like every one predicted. As we look to 2018 the latest buzzword is “Plant Forward”.   In today’s discussion we will update our experience in this area.

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