What questions are you asking your data?

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.

The Nitty Gritty

The nitty gritty and down and dirty of the reason behind and the purpose of BevLogik.

For starters, my background.  What in the world is a Solution Architect and why does the Beverage industry need someone with this expertise?  I grew up in the world of Information Technology.  I always liked to tell audiences I was speaking too that I cut my teeth in Business Intelligence and made the natural progression to a Solution Architect.  It’s all in the word…Solution.  All businesses  have day to day problems.  In fact, most business share a lot of the same problems but they may have some differences between them.  It’s when the process, or in some cases lack of a process, causes issues…delays, increased cost, lost revenue, etc. that is where a Solution Architect becomes a valuable resources to a business.  I LISTEN with the intent to solve.  After I listen to all parties involved, I CONSIDER the options.  Those options I provide consider factors like time, cost, training, technology, etc.  Then the fun starts.  I EXECUTE to SOLVE that problem.

What does this have to do with the beverage industry?  Well, I had an opportunity to work for a startup cidery for the last year.  I LISTENED to a ceo talk about those problems I’ve helped other companies to solve so many times.  I CONSIDERED the options in how to solve those problems and then  I EXECUTED.  I worked in all areas of the business and got involved.  I purged and cleaned kegs and labeled product.  I negotiated contracts with distributors and worked through challenges with them and learned to develop partnerships.  I worked off and on premise for areas where we had no local reps.  I worked on chain authorizations and developed a strategy for expansion with national chains.  I worked with the first national chain and rolled out the first coldbox set.  I introduced technology to the employees when I deployed Office 365 and rolled out the KICKSTART intranet.  I conducted meetings with remote employees over Skye for Business and built solutions for tracking Off/On Premise activity and Inventory on the KICKSTART intranet because it worked and SalesForce was a bit out of our budget.  So I’ve experienced the challenges that so many wineries, breweries and cideries experience on a day to day basis and for the new industry I was in and learning, I loved what I did.

I took a hard look around and realized that there was a different opportunity I needed to CONSIDER. The opportunity of helping other companies in the beverage industry solve problems similar to what I’d experienced and on March 1, 2016 I EXECUTED and took that step towards helping others SOLVE their business problems.

I am Vanessa Toves and I am a Solution Architect for the beverage industry.

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