One attribute most businesses share is the desire to build and improve and evolve. In the volatile world in which we now live, maintaining a crystal clear focus on our business intelligence – what we know (or think we know) about our clients, markets and competitors – has become essential to tackling and overcoming the changes and challenges we, as business owners, face on an almost daily basis.
Previously at Matthews Steer, our business intelligence was based on the cumulative wisdom of our team and networks, and built on decades of experience and anecdotal evidence. But we’ve found that as our business grew and gained complexity, intel gathered via our traditional methods – internal and external networks, conferences, webinars and the media – became less robust, leading to inefficiencies and unproductive assumptions.
Studies tell us that only 17% of organisations are maximising value from their data, yet data represents 27% of business’ assets! Your business’ data may encompass reporting of benchmarks and trends, KPIs and other performance measures, sales statistics, customer contact information, digital traffic and behaviours. And that’s just for starters. It’s clear that these days, in order to make strategic and sustainable decisions around our businesses, we require robust data or an unprecedented depth, quality and accuracy. Data that provides a lens on what matters, enabling us to focus and maintain our competitive edge as we handle the day-to-day running of our businesses and plot future strategy. Data analytics won’t replace our traditional methods for gathering business intelligence, however data does provide us with facts, and facts beat assumptions every time.
As an accounting firm, we love our numbers, and I will quite happily immerse myself in business reporting to illustrate how our people and business is performing and set goals and targets. But data analytics is a whole new language. One we at Matthews Steer will happily admit we’re not fluent in… yet! So while we recognise our shortcomings, and we’re actively pursuing improvement, we also understand the urgency in understanding our data now; benchmarking performance, identifying trends, and extrapolating those metrics to give us a lens into our future.
At Matthews Steer we’re firm believers that ‘what gets measured gets done’. It was that thinking that led us to team up with Northlink’s Data Analytics Hub, which helps businesses in Melbourne’s north west to analyse their data, and use it to build business capability.
Via a project we’ve dubbed ‘Quantum Leap,’ the team at Northlink Data Hub is supporting us to collect our data, understand our data, and act upon our metrics.
Our focal points?
Time expenditure: are we spending time on the things that add the most value to our business?
Resourcing: are there areas we can automate within our business in order to free up our most precious resource - our people - to provide more capacity within our business?
We know we have a mountain of data within our business, and we understand that strategically, in order to shift the dial and continue to achieve our business goals, we need to leverage this data and become a more client-centric operation.
Where to from here?
Phase one of Project Quantum Leap involves segmenting our client base to identify our most valuable clients, understand their Matthews Steer journey so far, and pinpoint their personae and how they like to engage with us. Phase two will involve implementing artificial intelligence to automate workflow, improving efficiency and overcoming some of the resourcing challenges we face.
While on the face of it data may feel cold and impersonal, people and relationships are at the heart of everything we do at Matthews Steer. The prospect of freeing up our people to dedicate more of their time to building deeper relationships with their clients, colleagues and networks, and bringing more heart, passion and intention into their working lives, speaks eloquently to our purpose: empowering our communities to live their potential. That’s the data-driven future I, and everyone at Matthews Steer, aspires to create.