Today, companies are expected to have a depth of insight into their customers’ needs. Global competition, interconnected global supply chains, increased uncertainty and rapid technological changes are all intensifying downward pressures on cost. Producing goods and services with the aim of creating demand no longer suffices in this environment. Instead, companies need to be more customer-centric. After all, businesses exist to serve customers. Companies must collect, analyse and act on their customers’ data. Processed correctly, this data has the potential to drive enterprise profitability.

Data overload is one of the greater challenges facing a host of companies. The term Big Data didn’t exist 3 years ago, but today it is one of the main topics of focus for the media and within organizations that are grappling with ever increasing amounts of data.

At the same time, information flow has become faster and more pervasive. It is therefore critical to separate the wheat from the chaff by identifying those information “sweet spots” nodes in a corporation’s information flow.

This is where business intelligence and predictive analytic tools come into place. Information on which companies need to base their decisions is growing at alarming rates. These solutions help provide decision makers with the most valuable insights capable of improving enterprise performance.

Over the years, our jobs have become more and more information intensive thus companies need to leverage their information assets better. What is required is having the right information-enabling technology and leadership structures that will enable faster revenue growth, further reduce operational expenses, maximise long-term asset returns and therefore deliver sustainable competitive advantage.

Furthermore, our work has become more interactive and collaborative, making the sharing of information more critical now than before. What this means is that information must be integrated across both strategic and operational perspectives as well as across the different functions of the organisation and outside sources.

Thus in order to make effective decisions, companies must be able to answer these questions: How are we doing? Why? What should we be doing? The answers to these questions lie within the maximum utilisation and integration of scorecards and dashboards, reporting and analysis tools and planning and forecasting capabilities.

Integrating these capabilities allows companies to respond to changes happening in their businesses. In today’s competitive business landscape, knowing what happened without finding out why is of little use. As an organisation, you must be able to plan and make all the necessary changes. To effectively do this requires reliable, well defined and timed information. In addition, information must be restricted to the right people and its supply must be consistent.

With the advent of smartphones and other mobile devices, today many decisions are being made outside the traditional office environment. Decision-makers must therefore be able to present the information in a variety of user modes and have guided access to the information they need so they can manage by exception.

How else can companies make use of information to drive profitability?

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