By Jose Teixeira, Senior Product Manager, Sage
The world around us is awash with information. In recent years, technology has allowed us to capture more and more information and keep it, as data. Even more recently, it’s become, in the words of one commentator, easier and cheaper to just store the stuff than it is to sort through it and throw away that which we do not need.
We’re a society of digital hoarders. And we’re very, very lucky to live in an age that not only allows us to hoard this stuff, but gives us the tools to sort through it and extract golden nuggets of information as and when we need it.
What do I mean by golden nuggets? Well, I’m talking about insight that can turn into profitable action. A retailer seeing when something’s selling by the hundreds or thousands, rather than the tens. Or a manufacturer realising that a minor adjustment to their line could allow them to capitalise on market demand for a product in a short term production run. Things like that. Until recently, it’s been a pipe dream for most organisations, but now it’s fast becoming the norm.
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After plenty of hype about big data, we’re getting to a point where companies are starting to be productive; we all know the value is there, and extracting it is a problem that involves a lot of head-scratching and thinking. But it’s now practical to do, and the results are positive. More and more, the emphasis is turning away from ‘why?’ towards ‘how?’ and ‘when?’.
The most immediate concern for many organisations is to make use of the data and information collected by the big app engines that power their companies. More often than not, these are financial systems, web stores or web sites. Both gather vast chunks of high velocity, high variety data. Tying these into Big Data and Business Intelligence platforms makes a great deal of business sense, and, if a business has the skills, drive and funds, it can be an evolutionary upgrade in capability.
BI and Big Data organisations are used to getting and using actionable insight from their data, and this is something that’s also vital to another function: treasury. You can have all the insight in the world into what your customers, competitors or manufacturing team is up to, but acting on it is impossible without a clear picture of what resources you can bring to bear.
Analysing, and acting upon, Big Data could be compared to trading stock. There’s a sea of information and numbers at your fingertips, but your job is to contextualise it to your advantage. This is where BI comes in to help automate and streamline the process. Are the exchange rates going to work in your favour? Is there, literally enough cash at the bank, or enough receivables, to fund an expansion or invest in the short or long term success of a new drive? BI lets you do this in an instant, giving you full view of the conditions that could affect and impact your business.
Big Data and Business Intelligence is nothing without the access to funds to capitalise on the advantage it produces. For this reason alone, connecting treasury and cash management to ERP and BI platforms can generate serious competitive advantage. Is your business ready to come full circle and take full advantage of the killer combination of big data and business intelligence?