Finance

Finance

Track your daily results by region, district and supervisor. Automate forecasting and access your enterprise data in real time with interactive reports. Key Performance Indicators include:

  • Revenue vs Forecast
  • Projection Reports
  • Gross Margin Analysis
  • Weighted Average Daily Profit
  • Cash Conversion Cycle
  • Regional Profit Analysis
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Marketing

Marketing

Acquire more customers by investing time and energy where it matters. Quik Data puts your data to work to help you measure your results and target your efforts. Marketing executives can use business analytics to make confident well-informed decisions by analyzing:

  • Promotional Effectiveness per Location
  • Sales Trends & Forecasts by Product Line
  • Average Basket Size
  • Floor Plan Sales Comparisons
  • Slow Moving Products
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IT

IT

Your company has mountains of data that must be reviewed to allow managers to make decisions and drive the business. BandyWorks’ Quik Data dashboards, reports and alerts fit into your environment to help you process the massive quantities of data more quickly. Our consultants understand how to work with your team. Give us a call if you want a little help with your critical data projects.

  • Data Warehouse Design
  • Data Migration / ETL
  • Reporting Dashboards
  • Interactive Reports
  • Alerts
  • Hosted Locally or in the Cloud
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OPERATIONS

Operations

Track daily and real-time operational performance, and visualize your enterprise data to discover actionable insights and make well-informed decisions. Operations dashboards include:

  • Revenue vs Forecast
  • Cash over/under
  • Product Category Sales Breakdown
  • Hourly Revenue Per Employee
  • Average Basket Size
  • Sales Alerts
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CEO

CEO

Track your top level performance and business health with the ability to drill down and pinpoint an issue that needs to be addressed. CEO dashboards include:

  • Cash Balance
  • Revenue vs Forecast
  • Top-Selling Product Lines
  • Gross Profit Analysis
  • Revenue per Labor Hour
  • Average Basket Size
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Essential steps when hiring a software development partner

Custom software makes the work of your team faster and better, but it is an investment in productivity that has some risk. In order to maximize the results, maintain the costs and minimize the risks picking the right developer is important. There are a few important ways for those just starting to work with a software developer to have a successful partnership.

Validate the developer’s skills – Make sure your developer has the proper skills. Almost everyone will check references, but building a prototype shows a developer’s commitment, responsiveness and a sample of work. It may make sense to pay for a small job, but a nice job may warrant a sample of work that can be bundled into the price of the final project.

Demonstrate understanding with non-technical documentation. There will necessarily be plenty of technical documentation. Much of the understanding, however, is about the business process. Ask for documentation that shows understanding of the business process. Two simple items are:

1. Use-case diagram – This diagram shows the users and what functions they will use. It is an overview of the scope, roles and responsibilities for the finished system.

Image of use case diagram recommended when choosing a software developer

When choosing a software developer ask for a Use Case diagram to explain users, roles and responsbilities

2. Business rules to define how the system works – Simple statements that allow users to explain to developers how the business operates. For example:
– The smallest time period for data summary is hourly. 
– Sales data will be store by PLU and promotion code.
– Store managers may not see payroll information for staff at any store but their own.

Document the system specifications. Once the system is designed and approved, ensuring the developers, testers and implementation team have sufficient rules requires baseline documentation. Such documentation may include:
1. Database diagram or definitions.
2. Process flows – any complex process should be mapped to explain logic.
3. Screens and reports should have descriptions with any special rules defined. Important and complex screens/ reports should have a prototype or mockup.
4. Batch jobs must be identified.

Over-communicate initially to build trust and ensure clarity. Initially, it is helpful to have more frequent communication. For a small initial project of several weeks, a weekly check-in helps to keep both sides on track. It gives developers and testers a scheduled time to clarify the inevitable details that arise as the project moves forward. More importantly, it allows the trust to build between the users and the developers as they know what is happening and how the team is progressing. Most users understand their business may not be completely understood in just a few weeks so questions and clarifications show progress and careful work.

Testing to ensure the system is ready to be used. One of the most critical but often overlooked parts of development by users is testing. Help your developer from the very beginning. Define success by describing the test scenarios that must pass for the system to succeed.

Start the testing process before construction begins by reviewing and creating test cases. The developers should be able to create their own detailed testing scripts for basic functionality. Have your users provide samples of normal usage along with some of the more prominent complications that occur help everyone to know what is required for a successful project. Getting sufficient data to use for testing is very helpful.

Once construction is complete and you are ready to go-live, experienced users should complete a full cycle of tests. For basic systems that means adding new records for each lookup table and processing all the functions. With systems that have cycles (e.g., payroll, monthly closings), each cycle must be simulated with sufficient data to ensure all functionality is complete and accurate.

 

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Why Write Custom Software?

Why should a business create custom software?

Automation of key business processes tailored to your business allow precise recording of critical data, reduction in labor, the ability to apply business rules to match your work flow and exact data reporting. The tailoring of applications to match the business process allows a company to achieve a high level of standardization yet make the process exactly as it needs to be – no wasted efforts. A few examples:

1. A business broker can allow the maximum exposure of key selling points for a business to the largest network of buyers, yet maintain confidential information that is available only to those with an executed NDA.

2. A manufacturing company can customize a QA system to collect exactly the information that is needed and summarizing results to a live production monitoring dashboard.

3. A consulting firm may create a software package that enables their clients to implement the recommended business practices thus increasing compliance to best practices and leveraging the consulting results with a simple-to-use system.

4. A professional organization will eliminate repetitive steps of extracting, sorting and calculating values with a spreadsheet. A custom system can eliminate manual work and provide enhanced reporting and notifications. Marketing, finance and engineering professionals often have standard reports they build for managers that can be automated to save many hours each week.

The justification usually requires the absence of a commercial solution that fits the requirements – missing functionality, limited work flow customization, high costs or inability to redistribute as needed. If there is justification, then there are a few ways to increase the speed to solution, manage costs and reduce the risk of delayed or inadequate solution. Many businesses that use custom software have limited experience or capabilities with the technical aspects of writing code.

When selecting a developer or firm to create custom software it is important to find a good fit. This requires the ability to communicate well, comprehend your business processes, have technical skills to build a solution and business experience to know what options are available as existing solutions.

Next week – Finding a fit with a software development partner.

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7 Success Factors for Retail Analytics

BandyWorks work with dozens of retail chains and growing businesses. We have found the following 7 critical success factors for driving continuous improvement through retail analytics.

1. Key Performance Indicators – executives and managers should focus intently on their very most important performance metrics. For example, an Executive Dashboard should provide a quick view of the top 3 to 5 most important KPI’s, with the ability to drill down into details.

2. Fast Page Loads – Slow page loads cause users to lose interest. Research by Google has shown that a page load delay even as small as 400 milliseconds is enough to cause people to search less. Affordable new database technologies allow for unprecedentedly fast page load times from analytics queries.

3. Custom Views – Different users have different responsibilities and focus. The dashboard should report on the metrics most relevant to each user’s primary responsibility within the company.

4. Trend Lines – It’s not terribly hard to commit to memory your performance analytics, but it’s really hard to detect intricate patterns of causality. For full context, it is enlightening to see data trends over different timeframes with a report that shows, perhaps, trailing 2 months data, or same week last year comparisons, in order to truly understand the trend of a key metric.

5. Drill Downs – In order to drive continuous improvements, it’s important to be able to drill down to the root cause of a metric, and take action. With one click, a drill down can show a specific data trend over the given timeframe. This makes it incredibly easy to identify your performance outliers, and conduct root cause analysis.

6. Flexibility – Make it easy to change the information or add something new as your company evolves. Resist the urge to put everything on one screen.

7. Accuracy – Inaccurate data will clearly undermine the benefit of your analytics, and lead to false assumptions. Don’t let it happen by hiring a less experienced developer to conduct intricate ETL work.

When considering your business analytics remember that performance data without insights is worthless. And insights need to be actionable, with teams and individuals who are empowered to drive continuous improvements.

To see examples of effective software analytics dashboards register here for a free online demo.

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Ten Things You Find in a Great Dashboard

Dashboards come in many different forms. Regardless of the form, great ones include:

Key Data – A dashboard is a quick view to show the status of Key Performance Indicators. Drill-down and trending can provide additional information, but keep the non-critical off the main view so users can quickly assess the situation.

Trending – Current static numbers such as sales this month, production this hour generally beg the question – are we getting better or worse? Having the ability change the time-frame for numbers to show, say, the last three months of data creates a context that enables the current number to have more value.

Drill Downs – When the key numbers are well understood, having the details to see why performance is getting better or worse, helps managers understand the situation and take action. Being able to click a button and see the specific data that is relevant in a particular time-frame saves time by providing the necessary details with virtually no effort.

Intuitive Navigation – No one wants to learn how to navigate a dashboard – just make it simple.

Tailored views – Different roles have different responsibilities. While many goals and KPI’s are shared there is typically different data for different roles. The dashboard should provide the quick information that is critical to a user’s responsibilities and key areas of work.

Fast response – Who wants to wait? If there is too much data, then a periodic update to a holding area may be required. The value and quantity of the data will determine how much pre-processing must be done. It is easier to understand waiting for drilldown data than for the key indicators, but keep your responses fast to keep your users engaged.

Easy access – If the dashboard is critical to your users, then it’s critical to deliver it to them where they are and when they want it. A little design work up front makes it possible to share data in different formats such as PC, tablet or smart phone.

Accurate data – Inaccurate data will kill dashboard usage quickly. Don’t let it happen.

Timely information – Bring the data when it is needed. Often daily is sufficient, but some data needs to be more current. If you are responsible for operations, then waiting until the next day may be too late. The users will let you know how fast they need to see the data.

Flexibility – Great insights spark the desire to learn more. Make it easy to change the information or add something new. Resist the urge to put everything on one screen. Make sure all main screen data is the most key information and use drilldowns and alternate views for additions.

Related topics

Creating dashboards that work for you
What I Learned as a Child Makes a Culture of Accountability Easy
Accountability – Six Things to Get Right – 6. Tracking
Convenience Store Accountability Rules – Oh Yeah!
Convenience Store Performance Dashboards – KPIs with Drilldowns

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What I Learned as a Child Makes a Culture of Accountability Easy

My family taught me everything I needed to know to create a culture of accountability. Growing up, a set of values and rules governed our lives. These tenets fit well into the six items that exists within a culture of accountability.

1. Vision / Mission – Mom’s favorite encouragement was a simple statement – ‘You can do anything you set your mind to do.’ Having such a positive support system just made everything go well. The core belief that anything is attainable if only you set your mind is a powerful motivator. The necessary step, of course, is to choose and clarify what you have set your mind to do.

2. People – My grandmother always thought I needed to choose wisely when it came to my friends. She would say ‘Only hoodlums stay out after 11:00.’ Of course, she never thought it could be me leading the pack to do anything wrong. One thing that is clear to me, working with great people always pulls the best out of me. And now, I always get tired before 11:00 anyway.

3. Process – My Dad would always tease and joke about how much faster you put something together if you actually follow the directions. His favorite sting was to remind me to read the directions if I wanted to finish with something that works. If we expect our team to work in a system, we better have directions on how the process should work.

4. Goals / KPI’s – Whenever there was a question about what I could achieve or how much I needed to do, my Mom never hesitated – ‘Just do your best’. Using this guideline always helps to set the target.

5. Teamwork – ALWAYS tell the truth. Dad made it clear, ‘If you do not have your Word, you do not have anything.’ Teamwork requires trust. No questions on this one – not always easy but always simple.

6. Tracking – When basketball provided setbacks with my shooting, my Mom had a simple fix – ‘Just get out there and shoot 10 baskets every day’. I argued that it was not enough to make any difference. She never changed her advice – just try it and see what happens. Turns out, if you do something consistently for a few days a habit is formed – it was not even that hard. The extra shots could easily be added, but it was critical to do something every day to build a pattern for success. I had my best season ever the following year.

Related topics

The Six Rights of Accountability
Creating dashboards that work for you
Accountability data – balancing simple, complete and automated
Convenience Store Accountability Rules – Oh Yeah!
Convenience Store Performance Dashboards – KPIs with Drilldowns

Learn More