The complexities of running a business are more intricate and multifaceted than ever before. Internal and external factors influence the rate of change within the business, as well as the enterprise’s success. While we do not always have the ability to control many of these elements, leaders can control how the organization reacts to these factors. In fact, with the proper strategy and implementation of effective business tools, we now have the ability to accurately predict future influences, offering great rewards to those nimble enough to take advantage of these insights.
The business landscape of past generations was contingent upon the delivery of quality goods and services. Gaining customers was very much an A to B process. It was a slower-paced world, where consumers appreciated that quality couldn’t be rushed. The modern-day business, however, is required to deliver quality in real-time speed and be ever-present of changes on the horizon. To achieve this real-time performance, enterprises must now harness the power of big data and predictive analytics; power that can only be achieved through gathering and merging disparate information into one data management system.
It’s not enough, however, to just gather the data; you have to know what to do with it, once you have it. It’s a tool, after all, so it's only effective if its put to work
“Every businessperson knows that good data makes you smarter. Well, a truer statement might be that an accurate analysis of the right data can make a company smarter, but lack of any data can be fatal.” - John Jantsch
What strategies, then, can you implement to harness the power of your enterprise’s information? And what are the benefits in doing so?
What Is Real-Time Data and How Can You Capture It?
Real-time data management is defined as: “Integration of a diverse set of structured and unstructured data from internal and external sources that delivers an agile platform to support faster insights, high-performance transactional capabilities, and predictive analytics.” - Forrester
While workplace managers face many of the same hurdles on their path to success, a majority of their challenges are unique to the company’s specific industry, client base, and organizational goals. Many businesses, however, share the trials caused by using disparate sources of data, managed by various business applications. Quality and availability of information is compromised, with many finding that their “real-time” data is outdated by the time it reaches their desk. Employees and executives need reliable, up-to-the-minute, information to make better business decisions, reduce costs, improve organizational efficiency, and minimize complexities.
Historically, companies have invested in multiple software solutions, each with its own specific function and data-gathering capabilities - HR utilizes one tool, while IT uses another. For the individual departments, this is a sound business strategy; one that offers users all the tools they need to be a productive member of the workforce. It also, however, leads to redundancy and a lack of complete information to envision the big picture. In making important business decisions, it offers only a snapshot; with the right hand often not knowing what the left hand is doing. While consistent extraction of data is the backbone of enterprise intelligence; what you do with it is what sets you apart from the competition.
To fully harness the power of this information, it is critical that all data and analytics be drawn from a centralized location, such as an Integrated Workplace Management System.
In aligning yourself with such a solution, it is important to analyze the business from every angle. What are your current strengths? What are your shortcomings? Have you developed the company culture you’re striving for? Is the facility running at optimal level? What are your short and long-term goals? This will not only aid you in determining which software vendor the enterprise could best benefit from partnering with, it will also help identify what data is most relevant and how exactly you should be looking at that information.
The Benefits of Real-time Data
You don’t have to be a global corporation to realize the power of real-time data. Organizations, both small and large, are now implementing analytics strategies, assisting in making realities out of previously unobtainable goals. Let’s take a look at some of these advantages.
1) Taking a More Proactive Approach
Historically, Workplace Management teams have been forced to take a more reactive approach to issues within the enterprise. Technology now offers the ability to implement predictive strategies, utilizing advanced statistical, data mining, and computer-learning algorithms to identify patterns previously missed in traditional data-gathering tools. Rather than creating reports from multiple sources and trying to decipher what it all means, the software merges all data, connecting the dots that might otherwise be lost in translation.
While managers will always be faced with unpredictable circumstances, predictive analytics cut down on the frequency and enormity of these instances. Ultimately, this offers ample time to identify potential issues and run what-if scenarios. The end result is a well thought-out strategy, that reduces downtime and increases the bottom line.
2) Understanding of the Intricacies of How the Facility Operates
Improving operational processes is one of the most effective ways to increase workforce productivity and, ultimately, improve your bottom line. To do so, it is critical that you understand where you stand currently, and where you have been.
Real-time data and analytics helps identify patterns behind what you have, how it is being used, and where improvements can be made. As the Facilities Manager, this will help you develop a strategy to improve space allocation, keep a handle on all organizational assets, and devise a preventative maintenance plan that will save the enterprise in maintenance costs and realize a reduction in downtime. The results, are a more efficiently run facility and a workforce that is engaged and productive; all critical components to running a facility at top speed.
3) Improves on Processes & Collaboration
Often, there are issues already existing within an organization which speak more to the culture of that organization and the necessity for improvements and change. A disengaged workforce costs enterprises millions of dollars annually in employee turnover expenses and, in turn, reduces productivity by up to a 1/3 normal levels. To help eliminate these churn costs, organizations must focus on empowering their people. This comes from listening to their feedback, offering support with the right workplace tools, and encouraging a flexible, collaborative workplace environment. The outcome? Improved organizational efficiencies through better processes and a reduction in redundancy.
Over the last decade, businesses have realized powerful advances in workplace tools and mobile devices. With the ability to gather data produced by the wide range of workplace solutions, management teams are gaining access to new business opportunities and efficiencies. The facility, and its employees, when implementing these tools, are able to function like a well-oiled machine. These improvements can all be traced back to gaining the ability to examine data through multiple lenses and compare and contrast from all angles. The numbers have to be seen as an equally critical member of the team, not just stats in the books, but actual living entities, who need a management system of their own.