Maximizing the Value of Data to Lower Costs and Increase Revenue
Updated: May 14, 2020
Organizations are making painful decisions to cut staff and projects to stay afloat. Data can help organizations lessen this blow and improve ROI even during these tough times. This blog will share ideas on how organizations can use data to save money and generate revenue.
IF YOUR COMPANY DOES THIS IT WILL INCREASE REVENUE
The key to maximizing the value of data is to present it to decision-makers at the moment of the highest impact. We call this serving up data that is both timely and contextual. The value of the data will diminish if it doesn't meet these criteria. Data without timeliness and context becomes noise.
Imagine a customer asking: "I like this product, but it is too expensive. What other options do I have?" An experienced sales rep would refer to their own knowledge of previous sales and of the customer's business to make a near-instant recommendation. The inexperienced sales rep would struggle and lose an opportunity to earn revenue for the company.
What if we could provide the entire sales team with a data-driven, real-time product recommendation tailored to the customer and the question?
In a nod to the brilliance of Stephen Covey, consider implementing the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Sales People. Codify the behaviors of successful salespeople and share this with other members of the sales team. Present valuable data at the point of contact with a customer.
Amazon has already shown us how effective this can be. They take historical purchasing behavior and use this data to make real-time recommendations to their customers.
Process Tempo uses your existing data to accomplish the same exact thing:
Step 1) Ask your Salesforce.com, CRM specialist, or IT support team member to help you craft a sales report that displays order detail containing customer IDs, Products, and Sales reps. Most CRM systems will have a pre-built Orders Report we can use so the effort should be minimal. Just have them provide you a .CSV export.
Step 2) Create a free Process Tempo account and upload this data via our encrypted web interface. Use our Contact Us page to let us assist with this with no strings attached. We can easily model out this data to build the recommendation we need. This is how the model will look:
You can also view and interact with this model live in Process Tempo:
How we use the relationships that exist between the customer, product, and salesperson is the unique strong point of Process Tempo. By accessing order data we derive a great deal of information about our customers and their purchasing patterns.
Step 3) Test our recommendation engines to see which one fits the scenario you are looking for. Our recommendation engine can be easily customized.
There are three approaches we can take:
Product-centric Recommendation - Given this product, what other products sell best with it?
Customer-centric Recommendation - What produces has this customer not purchased, that other customers with similar buying habits have purchased?
Salesperson-centric Recommendation - Given the sales habits of successful salespeople, what are the products they are selling that I am not?
Step 4) Use the Process Tempo Search feature while on the phone with the customer. For the scenario described above, the Customer-centric approach is the best? With the results of the recommendation in hand, the salesperson could confidently state: "Customers with buying habits similar to yours have purchased these products... They range in price from ... to ... I noticed you have never purchased this before. I suggest you give it a go."
The salesperson types in the name of the customer and clicks on the recommendation tab. Recommendations calculate in real-time and are contextual to that particular customer. This is so easy there is no excuse for a salesperson not to do it.
Increase revenue by giving your sales team access to timely and contextual data in a place and way that is easy and effective. Our recommendation engine helps companies increase revenue by applying contextual data at the point of highest impact.
IF YOUR COMPANY DOES THIS IT CAN LOWER COSTS
Only a small fraction of the data a business captures is actually analyzed. The rest of the data is captured and stored and only looked at when a problem arises. Furthermore, only a fraction of the potential value of the data is ever realized. With this in mind, there are a few things we can do with this data to increase its value to the business by reducing costs.
Cost Saver #1: Right-size IT Resources
IT resources both on and off-premise can be right-sized to better reflect current demands. Often the slow down in the economy no longer justifies the extra capacity that likely exists. The process of right-sizing is matching the supply of IT compute resources to match the current demand to save money.
Changing IT capacity in cloud deployments is very easy to do. The challenge is knowing exactly what to cut. Most organizations operate as a tangled mess of applications, databases, servers, and technologies. This data can get quite complex. The data model itself is interconnected, as you can see from this model:
To perform right-sizing, decision-makers must know the impact of potential change. This is where data comes into play and the need for impact analysis. To make an impact analysis work you need to understand relationships.
How to get started:
Step 1) Collect the data. The date we need for this problem often exists in several locations. These include CMDB databases, discovery tools, and/or cloud instances. This data provides the "What" and some information about the relationships between them. I stress the word "some" in this sentence and we will address this problem in the next step. The "Who" can also be tricky. One interesting place to connect people and applications is with Log data and Helpdesk ticket data.
Step 2) Load this data into Process Tempo. Relationships between installations are inferred based on machine learning algorithms. We look at patterns to determine if a database on one server links to an application on another server that depends on it. This is the trickiest, how-to part of the equation, and Process Tempo has the tools to support this analysis.
Step 3) Analysis. When right-sizing we can produce a report of the most underutilized servers. We can then use our Impact Analysis report to show the downstream impact of what could be affected by changing these servers. Et voila!
Cost Saver #2 - Shift Compute-Processing to Less Costly Platforms
Another option to reduce costs is by moving processes from one computing platform to another. Depending on license arrangements, some platforms or environments are more expensive than others. By shifting where and how the processing is performed, the organization can save money.
Look at moving data processing to platforms that do not charge based on the amount of disk used or the amount of CPU activity. There are platforms like Process Tempo that act as a companion platform to systems such as Snowflake or Splunk that can serve this purpose.
Cost Saver #3 - Renegotiate Licenses
License and purchase information exists in many different systems. By bringing this data together we create a picture of who uses what and why. This data is valuable when it comes to renegotiating contracts or licenses. In dynamic environments - like economic downturns - having this composite view is a game-changer.
Cost Saver #4 - Divestiture
Assets that are not delivering the expected value can be divested. As with right-sizing, Impact Analysis is critical. A map of the moving parts of your business can help guide decision making. Assets found in the map can be identified as attached to one department or another. This type of data is critical to planning a divestiture.
Cost Saver #5 - Fix inefficient processes
The most challenging approach to lowering costs is through process improvements. Although never easy, the time for process improvement is right now. We are finding a lot of our customers are doing this: putting employees to work solving problems and fixing things they couldn't while the business was operating at warp speed.
It is a great time to take a closer look at all those things the organization knows to be broken but prior to COVID, had no time to fix.
How can data play a role in this? Process information is hard to capture in spreadsheets and diagrams. Processes that depend on this form of data collection and analysis are an indicator that technology has not met the demand of the business. In these scenarios, there is likely a big opportunity for improvement. Any spreadsheet driven process is likely fraught with bugs and demands scrutiny. Can we improve the platform this process depends on? If it runs on spreadsheets, the answer is almost always yes.
We want to help businesses keep the lights on so that their employees can continue to work and support their families. We look at our employees as extensions of our own family so parting ways with them would be especially difficult. No stone should go unturned when saving this precious relationship. We hope you take these revenue-generating and cost-saving ideas to heart, and we look forward to supporting your efforts in any way we can.