Information is Power, Here's How To Understand It for Your Business

business-information

Information is becoming more and more valuable - and its value is being recognised more and more. In many cases, "soft" assets like information are more valuable than all the "hard" assets of a business and more critical to the growth of the business. Information is power, here's how to understand it for your business:


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How well is your information system geared towards measuring soft capital? Capturing your intellectual capital? And how well does your business use technology to support its information systems?

Technology underpinning information 

List the technology your business uses:

  • Software
  • Hardware
  • Internet
  • Intranet
  • Filing systems
  • Accounting systems

To what extent are these all integrated? If they are not, how can you start to integrate them? Can you build a simple dashboard even on a shared spreadsheet to collect key data points that help you understand your business?

Recommended reading: How to Tap Into Future Trends For Your Business

External Information Sources

Keeping informed on what is happening outside your business is difficult and you can be snowed under with too much information very quickly. Instead, analyse which sources you should use on a regular basis and keep things simple.

Possible sources of information:

  • Which trade magazines are you subscribed to?
  • How are you kept informed of international developments?
  • What are the addresses of useful websites? (Business Achievers!)
  • What are the trade organisations that you should join?
  • Who are the people in your network who can keep you aware of developments?
  • How do staff use the system and when?
  • How is information presented for use?

Next, consider your "bandwidth". How wide is the "bandwidth" of your external information system? Does it cover:

  • Technology?
  • People?

What about your economic sectors?

  • Agriculture
  • Banking
  • Construction
  • Education
  • Government
  • Hospitality
  • IT
  • Utilities
  • Media
  • Medicine/Health
  • Military
  • Retail
  • Telecommunications
  • Trade
  • Transportation

Internal information

Information on what is happening within your business is just as important as knowing what is happening outside. In each of the relevant areas, especially those that are important to your business' growth potential, you should have metrics - quantifiable information that measures performance. Use this to explore your internal information systems.

What type of information do you need across the following functions:

Importance

Frequency

Source

Who is responsible?

Metrics

Buying

         

Internal

         

Inventory levels

         

Re-order levels

         

Delivery speed

         

Response time

         

Logistical costs per unit

         

Vendor rating

         
           

External

         

Feedback from suppliers

         
           

Making

         

Internal

         

Productivity

         

Material usage

         

Use of equipment

         

Wastage

         

Use of capacity

         

Quality control problems

         

% Defaults

         
           

Selling

         

Internal

         

Number of customers

         

Number of repeat orders

         

Sales expense in % of sales

         

Journey planning

         

Order size

         

Sales funnel

         

Call volume

         

Price per lead

         

Price per converted lead

         

Sales per distributor

         

Average call time per customer

         

% success rate

         

Discounts given

         

Response time

         

New contacts

         
           

External

         

Competition

         

Market

         

Economy

         

Society

         

Feedback from customers

         

Stake holders

         

Colleagues

         
           

R&D

         

Internal

         

Number of improvements

         

Number of new ideas

         

Customer feedback

         

Supplier feedback

         
           

External

         

Technological developments

         

New product introductions

 

Putting in place integrated information and key metrics will allow you to turn that information into powerful actionable insights to help you run your business better.

How have you gone about using information in your business? Tell us in the comments below.

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Thursday, 13 December 2018
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