Actionable Management Reporting

Except from my upcoming book on analytics for the small business owner…

One question I get asked a lot is what should someone do when they know the data they are reporting and/or using in their analysis is not the best data available?

  • Typically, Excel and PowerPoint are the primary tools used to provide management reporting to a company’s leadership. In the past few years there have been major technology innovations in business intelligence applications and data visualization software that have taken management reporting to a whole new level.
  • Recruiting has seen a huge increase in number and types of reporting tools available to deliver very fast and very detailed recruitment analytics.
  • This leads up to the concept of a business dashboard… which we will get to later.

No matter what part of the business you work in, the first thing to do is to define the current Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) being used in decision-making.  Often right off the bat, some of the KPIs being reported aren’t even being used.

You can do a simple survey, asking end users to rank in order of importance the KPIs they get. Also ask if the ones at the bottom are even useful or should they be eliminated if no one is using them.

At the same time you should be working on understanding what computations go into each KPI. Often we just do simple counts, total and averages that mask more important data. On the flip side, we tend to over complicate things with extravagant weighing and scoring. Either way, we need to make sure we know exactly what is being reported and how does the final data point come to its end state.

The next step is to look at the data architecture to make sure there is nothing happening upstream that might impact the data we are using in the KPIs. Before making changes to the KPIs we want to have the full view of what happens before the data gets to the end user.

Now we are at the point where we can start experimenting. What happens when we swap out data points? Or if we change a variable in a calculation? Or we pull the data from a different source? The questions are endless. Pick a few, make some changes in a test environment and start sharing the updated KPI data. See if it has more value with the end users.

Again, this shouldn’t be hard. But of course in many organizations a lot of consequences can result from a simple change to just one KPI. Spreadsheets may have to be reformatted, review processes may have to be updated, and dashboards may have to be redesigned. But in the end, what is more important? Making decisions with crappy data or setting a standard to let the reporting process evolve as the business evolves?

This come back to my point earlier, changing KPIs is as much sales as it is analysis… that you have to be ready to share a story, back it up with data, and really influence the minds of senior management that updating the KPIs makes good business sense.

If you are at a point where you are trying to figure out what KPIs aren’t working anymore or you need help in building a business case to change some KPIs, let me know. I’m here to help.

tracking-analytics

Business Strategy with Analytics – Aligning a business strategy to drive an organization forward requires a robust analytics solution. Businesses who have good analytics tend to be much more profitable and efficient then ones that do not. DMAIPH has helped dozens of companies in both the U.S. and the Philippines with adding more data analysis in their business strategy. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to find out what we can do to help you align your business strategy with analytics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Can Analytics Help a Sari Sari Store?

I had this interesting conversation earlier about analytics.

I started explaining to the person I was sitting next to what I do and he asked can analytics really help any business?

Of course I said yes.

He asked even a Sari Sari store?

For those of you who don’t know much about Sari Sari stores, let me tell you a bit about them.

By far the most common form of self-employment in the Philippines are small, family operated convenience stores. Called Sari-Sari stores, there are an estimated 1 million Sari Sari stores across the Philippines. Per wikipedia, this counts for an estimated 30% of all retail sales in the Philippines.

Sari-Sari, which is Tagalog for variety, are an important economic and social pieces of just about every Filipino community. Most are privately run, family owned and are operated from the front of the owners house.

Commodities are displayed behind a large mesh screen to both allow customers to see what is available and to prevent shoplifting. The most common goods sold are candy, snacks and other non-perishable food items. Cigarettes and mobile phone cards are also popular items for sale. Household needs like soap, detergent and cleaning supplies are also common. Some stores have small refrigerators to offer cold drinks like soda and beer.

Sari-sari stores generally have higher prices when compared to supermarkets which is a tradeoff for proximity to their customers. It is also common to buy single units of a product versus an entire package as paying more to meet a quick need is valued over planning and budgeting bulk purchase over the long term.

Some Sari Sari stores also offer credit to neighbors. Micro lending of this scale is wide spread and generally done under the rule that if the credit is not repaid, the store owner will report this to the local government officials.

Some Sari Sari stores barter goods and services with farmer, fishermen and other businesses.

Most Sari Sari store proprietors buy their goods at supermarkets then mark up the prices for resale (on the average 20%). In some areas, businessmen make act a middle man offering bulk products to the Sari Sari store.

It is my belief that most Sari Sari stores can benefit from a simple strategic business plan and some very basic analytics.

My understanding is that Sari Sari stores operate on a very tactical level with little long term planning and operate with little market awareness.

If I ever to consult with the owner of a Sari Sari store, my initial approach would be to develop a business strategy plan and build a basic analytics process to gather data and provide a proof of concept.

This approach would be broken into the following steps:

  1. Business Strategy Assessment – How do they conduct business?
  2. Competitive Landscape – Who do they compete with?
  3. Demographic Profile – Who are their customers?
  4. Market Assessment – How much upside is in their market?
  5. Inventory Analysis – How to they optimize inventory?
  6. Facilities Assessment – Are they getting the most of their location?
  7. Risk & Security Assessment – What risks do they face?

I will flesh out each of these steps in upcoming blog posts.

Once I have complied data from these 7 steps, I can develop a business strategy plan unique to the individual Sari Sari store.

After my presentation of the business plan, I can make a determination if they Sari Sari store will enter Phase Two of the plan.

I would work with the proprietor store for a set period of time in a consulting role to determine viability of operations and if they meet our program standards (detailed later in this document).

In addition to offering a consulting solution, through my company, I can also offer additional services including cash management, accounting, marketing, inventory and fulfillment assistance, and other solutions as they arise.

Its my experience that the busiest Sari Sari stores offer something unique. Some might have an ice cream maker, or a special dish they prepare, or some have home baked goods. Regardless, they generally have something that sets them apart from a store that just offers traditional goods.

So, the final piece of my involvement would be cross selling our unique products to Sari Sari stores in need of a unique product to build their business around.

After that consultation, I would expect that three things would happen:

  1. the Sari Sari store proprietor would have a better grasp of a strategic business strategy.
  2. the Sari Sari store would increase profits and
  3. the Sari Sari store would expand its customer base and build up loyalty with existing customers.

So, to get back to the question… how can analytics help a Sari Sari store?

By applying some lessons from the corporate world.

Dr. Data_Analytics in the Philippines

Analytics in the Philippines – The Philippines is at the center of the action when it comes to solutions to the global need for analytics. Blessed with a solid foundation of young, educated and English speaking workforce, companies around the world are look for Filipino analytics talent to fill analytics positions. DMAIPH was set up to facilitate these solutions and bring the talent and the business together. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly so we can help you take advantage of this unique global opportunity.

 

The 3 Pillars of Small Business Analytics

When I consult with small business owners, there are 3 areas where my guidance generally has the most impact. I call these areas the 3 Pillars of Small Business Analytics.

The first pillar is a Competitive Landscape. I have found that very few small business owners really have a handle on the competition.

A competitive landscape analysis will reveal threats and opportunities that generally are not obvious to a business owner who focuses most of his/her energy on running the business itself.

Some of the data points you can capture and analyze include pricing, location, business size, quality, scope of business, diversity of product offering and of course revenue.  You would be surprised to find how easy it is to gather all this info.

Knowing where your products and services stack up against your competition is a key to prosperity. To achieve this understanding you need to use analytics.

The second pillar is a Demographic Profile. I have also found that very few small business owners really understand the demographics around their business.

A demographic profile analysis will illustrate how closely your customer base mirrors the actual population around your business. In many cases small businesses are not positioning their services correctly based on the opportunity in their market.

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Data to include would be traditional demographic markers like age, race, sex, family status, financial status, economic state, etc. There is a ridiculous amount of data on the internet that can be mined free and easy.

Making sure your business is properly positioned to take advantage of your arket will ensure more long term success. The data is out there; you just need to know how to bring it into your analytics process.

The third pillar is Customer Insights. With the boom in social media, most small businesses have not figured out how to capture and analyze all the information being published and shared about their business.

Customer Insight analysis allows a business owner to stay on top of problems and identify how customers feel about their business quickly.

We all know how quickly things can go viral and having a good tool to capture customer sentiment in social media is generally the most overlooked aspect of running a small business.

Positive and negative reviews, trending items, number of likes, follows and shares, are all items that can be rolled into customer insights. You can combine this with surveys, focus groups and loyalty programs among other things to get a full picture of your business.

If you are a small business owner, decision-maker or analyst then focusing on these analytics pillars will make all the difference in the world.

And the best part, is they are all free and easy to bring into your business.

Small Business Analytics – The field of small business analytics is just starting to blossom as companies are looking for more data-driven decision-making to prosper in the age of Big Data. DMAIPH is at the fore front of providing analytics training, consulting and outsourcing options to small businesses. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to set up a free consultation on how to get more analytics in your small business.

 

 

 

 

Analytics for the Small Business

Analytics is about looking for patterns in data to help answer questions. Most businesses use analytics to help ensure more data-driven decision-making.

No matter the size, scale or scope, every business generates a wealth of business data. Every business has an opportunity to uses that data to drive more intelligent decisions.

The primary people responsible for conducting analytics on the massive amounts of data we have today are analysts. Analysts are skilled in using various technologies and methodologies to identify, inventory and integrate large amounts of data quickly.

The term analytics can often be used interchangeably with statistics and data science. What separates analytics from disciplines like statistics and data science is generally the speed of the analysis and the focus on solving business problems.

The most common form of analytics is business analytics that are generally used by owners, senior leaders and decision-makers to investigate problems, validate assumptions and to guide strategic planning. As a generalist, business analysts can help in a number of areas of the business.

Business analysts are therefore the most common type of analyst, especially in a small business. If you do a job search on the title analyst, as many as half the posting will likely be business analysts. However, analytics can be used in an almost limitless number of business functions in specific areas like HR, recruitment, marketing, finance, and so on. Each one can have its very own analyst.

Analysts have been around a long time, but recent technological advances have both allowed us to produce and capture more data as well as give us the ability to analyze immense data sets quickly. Thus we are amidst a huge boom in the applications of analytics and the need for analytics talent across the globe. Analytics is something just about every business leader is trying to figure out how to use more effectively in their business. To add to our challenge, the demand for good analysts is booming just as fast as the explosion in big data.

As a result, there is a huge shortage of people who are skilled in working with data to answer questions and solve problems. This is why you have seen the number of analyst job postings increasing at an amazing rate. In the first few chapters of the book we will discuss the quickening demand for analytics talent and why it is so hard to find good analysts, especially at the small business level.

If you are a business leader, manager, owner, and/or executive are not actively trying to surround yourself with analysts and if you are not infusing an analytics centric culture in your business, you will most likely soon see your business fail.

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A small business needs analysts to make sense of big data, manage the storage of the data, and know when to use which of the 3 types of analytics (descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive). To be effective, analysts need to have business intelligence tools to create data visualizations and build business dashboards.

If you need an analyst or want to be trained in analytics, connect with me and I can show you how to get started.

Small Business Analytics – The field of small business analytics is just starting to blossom as companies are looking for more data-driven decision-making to prosper in the age of Big Data. DMAIPH is at the fore front of providing analytics training, consulting and outsourcing options to small businesses. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to set up a free consultation on how to get more analytics in your small business.

The 10 Analytics Essentials of Entrepreneurship

A good friend of mine, Boom San Agustin, recently blogged about the essentials of entrepreneurship. Boom listed the 10 things most essential to be successful in setting up and running your own business.

This inspired me to put an analytics spin on each of the 10 points, showing how you can use data to augment each point.

  1. Have passion for what you do. One way to measure how much of your time you are devoting to your passion is to set a schedule and track how much time is devoted to everything you do each day. If you are happy with the % spent on passion projects then you are doing the right thing. But if too much of your time is spent on things you don’t like doing, then you need to make some changes.
  2. Pursue excellence first, money second. Here you need to do a lot of research and ask a lot of questions. You need a clear idea of what excellence in your chosen business looks like. How can you measure excellence with your products, your service, your team’s performance and engagement? Putting some key metics in place will allow you to make more informed decisions.
  3. Be open and honest with others and yourself. Get feedback. See what % of your client, customer, partner, team member, interactions are honest and endure honesty in others. Come up with a way to measure the trustworthiness of what you do.
  4. Have a “can-do” attitude. Keep a project list of all the things you need to accomplish. Update it every day. Be able to show yourself and others your progress towards getting things done. This will ensure that people see the work behind the words.
  5. Be the leader your team needs. Devote significant amounts of your time to your team. Keep them informed by blogging. Build tools for communication like newsletters. Be visible in person and in social media. Track the frequency of your engagements and correlate them to employee satisfaction surveys.
  6. Learn to communicate well. Get in front of an audience whenever possible. Engage the audience. Ask for feedback. Identify challenges and opportunities and then follow up. If your team doesn’t know what is going on in your head, then it is a problem. Gathering data on your communication strengths and weaknesses is key.
  7. Be a teacher and a learner. Facilitate as much on-site training as possible. Get involved in it. Train people yourself on areas you are good at. And then sit and listen to other experts in areas you are not. Track the time put into training and come up with a cost justification. Its easy to cut training when times are tough because its hard to assign a value to it. Make this a priority now so you always know the valued of training in your business.
  8. Have your ear to the ground. Stay engaged in person and on social media. Keep updated on trends affecting your business and your employees. Use a social media tool like Hootsuite to manage your social media messaging to get feedback all in one place. Lots of data points can be created and tracked to measure how close you are to the pulse of your business.
  9. Be dynamic and open to change. Set a check-in schedule. Encourage one on ones and team meetings that are not just one sided but empower sharing. If you are open minded and listen, you will be able to make changes to your business that keep things on the cutting edge. Use a timeline to show where you have been, where you are and project out where you are going.
  10. Know when to quit. We all fail. Businesses will all fail at some point. Winners know when its time to fail and walk away to do something else. Losers stay the course until they go down with the ship. Figure out what is the most important metric in your business. Sales, profit, engagement, risk potential… whatever it is. Figure out what is the lowest acceptable number, once you get close to it, be prepare and exit plan. If you pass it, face facts and pull the plug. Always have that data point at your fingertips.

If you are able to build in analytics like these, you will be able to manage your business well. You will set a tone among the leadership that uses data, not just the gut, to make decisions. One of your first hires should be a data guy who can build a business dashboard and deliver impactful reports. Someone who can help you identify risks and rewards and keep your focus on the metrics that matter most.

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Analytics Leadership – DMAIPH specializes in arming the Data-Driven Leader with the tools and techniques they need to build and empower an analytics centric organization. Analytics leadership requires a mastery of not just analytics skill, but also of nurturing an analytics culture. We have guided thousands of Filipino professionals to become better analytics leaders. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to discuss a uniquely tailored strategy to ensure you are the top of your game when it comes to Analytics Leadership.

Outsourcing Tips for Small Businesses

Small Business Analytics is not a very well established discipline.

You generally see analytics across all kinds of businesses in just about every industry, but for the most part these businesses are large in size.

The concept of analytics is something that most small businesses have not embraced because of two perceptions that hinder the adoption of best practices; a good analytics solution is too time consuming and too expensive.

These perceptions are often false. Just about any small business can benefit from a number of analytics techniques and technologies that do not require significant amounts of time or financial resources.

When talking with a small business owner about their business, I like to ask a series of questions to gain and understanding of the data they have to work within their business.

Generally, I find that they rarely, if ever they even think about the data they have.

So that is often where we start. Trying to map out their data environment.

Once we have an idea how data is (or could be) collected and stored, then we can turn to talking about analysis.

And after I have a good idea of what (if anything) they are doing with their data we can move to reporting. How is data and analysis presented within the business.

14045878_10154480087262425_4779154686875783746_nOften I find that pieces of the data collection, storage, analysis and reporting process are happening in subtle ways that don’t, on the surface, look like an analytics solution.

Over the next several blog posts in this series, I will offer up some tips to small business leaders, managers to point out where more analytics can be used with minimal time or cost impact to themselves.

To date I have helped over a dozen small businesses come up with an analytics solution tailored to their unique needs. We have been able to address key challenges that only a deeper understanding of the data in their business can uncover.

Analytics Outsourcing – DMAIPH has successful set up Filipino analytics teams for over a dozen U.S. based businesses. Offering both virtual and office based teams that specialize in problem solving using data, new technology and analytics techniques is our strength. Finding and empowering analytics talent is increasingly challenging, but we have it down to a science. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to learn more about how to set up an analytics-centric team in the Philippines.

 

Data Analytics to the Rescue

I am a big fan of super hero movies.

One of the reasons why is that in many ways I consider myself to be somewhat of a super hero.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, a super hero is “a figure endowed with extraordinary or superhuman powers which are used for fighting evil.”

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In my world, evil is analogous to ignorance… or the lack of information needed to make good decisions.

I live to fight this fight.

My extraordinary gifts are being blessed with a keen analytical mind and the ability to empower others to unleash their analytical abilities.

Analytics was not my career choice, but my innate curiosity and passion for answering questions put me in a position to become an analytics expert.

I have all the training and skills an educator needs, but instead of teaching in the classroom I train out in the business world.

On February, 21, 2017 I will be hosting a training on Data Analytics. E-mail us at analytics@dmaiph.com to register or get more info.

This will be so awesome.

I get to do what I do best.

And I get to do it in my adopted homeland.

I get to use my gifts to help Filipino professional unlock the curiosity buried inside them and use that to help empower more data-driven decisions in their organization.

#IamDMAIPH

Analytics Training – DMAIPH offers a wide range of analytics centric training solutions for professionals and students via public, in-house, on-site, and academic settings. We tailor each training event to meet the unique needs of the audience. If you need empowerment and skills enhancement to optimize the use of analytics in your organization, we are here to help. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to set up a free consultation on which of our DMAIPH analytics training solutions is best for you.

Why I Know I Can Help

All my life I have enjoyed helping people.

I tutored a lot throughout my education.

In college I set out to be a teacher. To not just help, but to educate.

Being in a classroom was not enough, as I learned the whole world can be a classroom.

As my skills in analytics increased, my ability to help more people make data-driven decisions increased as well.

Now I am at a point where I know a lot about a lot.

Now I have gotten pretty good at sharing what I know in ways that empowers and inspires others.

I have been doing this for several years now.

Talking about analytics, blogging about data-driven decision-making and writing books about how to use analytics.

This is why I know I can help you too.

Everyone needs help finding the right data.

Everyone can use new perspectives on how to conduct analysis.

Everyone benefits from sharing data and analysis to drive a strategy forward or to solve problems.

14285276_10154554275492425_804549674_oBig or small. Old or new. No matter what industry. All companies need to unlock the insights in their data to be successful.

Some do it a lot better than others. A few may actually be so good at what they do that it may seem they don’t need help. But odds are you are not one of them.

Data is everywhere. We all do some sort of analytics. But we never have enough.

Being an analytics champion, striving to help people be better at what they do is what I am all about.

That is why I know I can help you.

Small Business Analytics – The field of small business analytics is just starting to blossom as companies are looking for more data-driven decision-making to prosper in the age of Big Data. DMAIPH is at the fore front of providing analytics training, consulting and outsourcing options to small businesses. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to set up a free consultation on how to get more analytics in your small business.

 

Analytics for the Small Business Owner

Do you know a small business owner who could use a little help in making their business more profitable and efficient?

I am looking for a half dozen small businesses that I can help then better understand their business data.  In exchange for my help I would like to use them as a case study in a new book I am working on.

The new book will be an Analytics Guidebook for Small Business Owners. I have found that while analytics has great success in boosting efficiency and increasing profit in large and medium sized businesses across the U.S., the same has not happened for most small business owners.

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So, I am hoping you can refer me to a small business owner you know that might be interested in some help. The kind of help I offer would be to do a simple business intelligence package for them consisting of building a competitor landscape, compiling a demographic profile and collecting customer insights. There are things I specialized in while with Wells Fargo.

In exchange for this package, I would just ask for some access to their data. How they manage expenses, payroll, inventory, and other data rich business processes. I would sign a non-disclosure agreement and not ask for access to any private information, just some raw data to work with.

I am happy to elaborate more, if you know someone who is interested. Thanks for your time and consideration.

Daniel Meyer, Analytics Champion

www.dmaiph.com

Small Business Analytics – The field of small business analytics is just starting to blossom as companies are looking for more data-driven decision-making to prosper in the age of Big Data. DMAIPH is at the fore front of providing analytics training, consulting and outsourcing options to small businesses. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to set up a free consultation on how to get more analytics in your small business.

 

Know How to Make a Profit

I have been self-employed for 4.5 years now.

Some tell me that’s remarkable, but I am just doing what I do best. Sharing my passion for analytics.

Depending on how you measure success, I have had some pretty good successes. But also some pretty amazing failures too.

I get why so many small business fail. It take a lot of perseverance to rely just on yourself and a small circle of supporters for your livelihood.

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So at this point in my career, almost 5 years of being the man after 20 years of working for the man, I know how to make a profit.

First off I have to stick to my plan. Allow for it to evolve and be flexible, but year in and year out I stick to the plan on being the name brand in analytics in the Philippines.

Second, I create a lot of content. If content is good and in my case, I can humbly say it is. People will pay for it. Books, Blogs, Conferences, Public Seminars and In House Trainings all help to generate revenue. Its all from me brain, its all based on content in my head. As long as I can create engaging content, I can make money.

Third, I have to live within my means. Always keep one eye on the future. Trust the right people. Business acumen like that which balances success with failure enough that I can keep going.

The next key is that you have to be connected. Know what’s hot now and what will be hot. I read a lot. I follow a lot of things via social media. I keep myself informed on what’s going on with my customers, my future customers, my competitors and those who can influence my business. In short I am constantly networking.

And finally you have to love what you do. I can’t imagine any small business owner who can survive long without the passion that comes from deep inside. Its near impossible to make a profit without any passion behind it.

So how do I know how to make a profit?

I have lived it.

Let me show you how!

#IamDMAI

Small Business Analytics – The field of small business analytics is just starting to blossom as companies are looking for more data-driven decision-making to prosper in the age of Big Data. DMAIPH is at the fore front of providing analytics training, consulting and outsourcing options to small businesses. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to set up a free consultation on how to get more analytics in your small business.