So you have invested in software. Maybe you’ve invested in a few different software applications or even cloud services like SalesForce. Before you selected those software applications, did you know what questions you wanted that data to answer? Although collecting data is important, what is more business critical is insight. Insight allows you to gauge the health of your business.  Insight allows you to know where you need to focus and build a plan.  Insight allows you to see how effective your changes are.

If you have Facebook, have you ever looked at the Insights page? It is information about your information and they titled it well…insight. What’s the demographic of people who visit your Facebook? Which posts have the most activity? Etc… It provides value, especially to businesses and people focused heavily on social media. 

Let’s look Vermont Information Processing (Vermont Information Processing). If you are fortunate enough to subscribe to this service, you have the ability to gain insight in many ways.

  • How are your distributors doing?
  • What sales routes are the most productive?
  • What products sell the most and where, who are your biggest off premise customers.

You can look at that data and know where you were, where you are and then you can take that data and build a projection of where you could be, but don’t stop there.  Gain further insight by merging that data with demographics data. By doing so, you can ask it different questions. Not just how many cases did I sell, but why is it that the same product in 5 different cities has different pull through rates and how what should I expect when I distribute into a new city?

If you are using software and collecting data, know what questions you want that data to answer.  I sat down with the CEO  and we were reviewing what to include in the executive dashboard.  He said, “Don’t tell me what I’ve done or what I’m expecting to do.  Tell me what’s going wrong so I can go and help fix it.”

Don’t just collect data…gain insight.