Does Technology Really Simplify Business Management?

What I consistently see are business leaders linked to their tech devices.  Whether it is a set of headphones, speaking to someone through ear devices, or floating through infinite texting demands, I wonder if we are more efficient or not.

Are we addicted and so ingrained with our technology devices that we can no longer measure whether it is helping us be more productive in our business pursuits?

I hear firms bantering around terms such as business analytics(BA) or business intelligence(BI) and yet, when core business outcomes such as gross profits or sales slow-down or accelerate, large numbers of C-Suite executives still don’t know the root cause of the problem or issue for days or weeks.

What is the cost of that type of corporate information paralysis?

Recently I asked a corporate leader a very simple question…If you get a KOI report that your business gross profits declined last week, how long will it take you to find the exact root cause of that issue?

He told me that he could run a report and probably get to the heart of it within a day or two.  I asked him if he was satisfied with that lag time and he said that was the standard in their company and considered it okay.

Is that a standard the business world should settle for?  I hope not!

Knowing that there has been a change in business performance and knowing what to do about it are not the same.  If my gross profit declines, it could be a product mix problem, it could be a problem with discounts or trade promotions, it could be an out of stock problem or a shelf set with too many slow-moving items.

What is the answer and how do you ask for a report to get to the root cause?

If you claim to have embraced business intelligence, but you lack the ability to harness your own curiosity and drill down to a specific geography, or a specific account and see the details of transactions by brand, and by SKU, you are blind and the costs are huge.

True performance management or real continuous improvement is implementing a business solution that allows every management level of the enterprise to see all the root causes and business constraints that are impacting sales, gross profits and overall enterprise value in seconds not hours, days or weeks.

Given the right solution, will capture and show a complete accounting for every transaction in each daily business cycle.  The right solution will enable all critical texts, videos or other documentary content from employees or business partners to be connected to the individual transactions.

The right solution should enable each manager to follow their own knowledge and business intuition to identify potential problems, make a relevant and timely decisions and then track the results. The right solution will allow managers to observe the data graphically, see trends and patterns and be scalable regardless of the size of the data silos needed without losing speed.

Whether you are on the executive team charged with strategy or the lowest level of management charged with daily execution, the right solution should have practical dashboards and storyboards to quickly enable drill down pathways that are aligned with business needs providing efficient access and communications.

The right solution doesn’t just give your management team practical continuous planning.  The right solution enables continuous action and real accountability for every decision made.  Therein lie the difference.

With the right technology, performance management is no longer just an abstract concept. When employees are engaged with technology and learning that enables them to do their jobs better and make more efficient decisions, their curiosity is triggered and they deliver better results.

Each manager is engaged, not with hypothetical numbers, but the actual results of activities they are responsible for.  Every decision is real.  The results are real and with the right solution, the rewards, in terms of compensation for good decisions can be perfectly aligned.

This is the essence of how the right technology can truly simplify business operations and results.

Karl Edmunds

About the Author

Vice President, Salient Management Company

is a nationally recognized business leader and author with more than 20 years of experience working with suppliers, distributors, and retailers in the CPG industry. His focus is aligning technical solutions with sales, marketing, and organizational needs to drive long-term profitable growth.

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