Transforming Information into Insights: Analytical Applications
Author: Tom Hoblitzell | | May 5, 2021
Data analytics has become so valuable, and so in vogue, that more and more enterprise applications have been adding their own analytics features and capabilities. The rise of these so-called “analytical applications” means that users can run powerful, in-depth analyses and get beautiful data visualizations within the software itself, rather than needing to switch to another tool.
Below, we’ll discuss different ways that organizations have benefited from augmenting their traditional enterprise IT with powerful, forward-looking data analytics.
Types of Analytical Applications
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
The goal of a CRM system is to better serve your customer base by keeping track of your relationship history. This includes information such as the contact information for leads and customers, as well as each interaction they’ve had with your business: downloading gated content, making a purchase, messaging customer support and so on. The best CRM software can create a positive ripple effect across the business—from closing sales deals faster to addressing customer service needs more efficiently.
Enhanced with analytics capabilities, CRM software helps your sales, marketing, and support departments follow people as they progress from leads to converts to loyal customers. Just a few examples of the important KPIs (key performance indicators) to track for CRM software include:
- Lead conversion rate, the percentage of your website visitors who are converted to leads (e.g. by signing up for your newsletter).
- Email click-through rate, the percentage of your newsletter subscribers who click on a link in your email.
- Monthly active users, the number of your customers who use your services or visit your website within the past month.
- Customer lifetime value, the total average revenue that your business can expect to receive from a single account.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
Whereas CRM software helps you manage your customer relationships, ERP software helps you keep the organization running smoothly behind the scenes. ERP systems traditionally include a wide range of business functionality, possibly including (but not limited to) project management, supply chain, accounting, financial planning, and human resources.
By adding analytics capabilities to their ERP software, organizations dramatically improve the visibility and transparency of their business processes, gaining deeper insights into their operations as a whole. The important metrics and KPIs to track here will vary depending on the goal of your ERP projects. Some examples include:
- Customer satisfaction, which can be measured through brief surveys (e.g. the Net Promoter Score, asking how likely a customer is to recommend your business to friends and family).
- Process efficiency, which can be measured along multiple axes based on the process itself: speed, accuracy, quality, value, return on investment, etc.
- Employee productivity, which can be measured in multiple ways: establishing a baseline for performance, setting achievable goals and targets, getting employee feedback, etc.
- Financial planning & analysis (FP&A) assess the financial health of your organization, from helping with the quarterly financial consolidation & close process to making better predictions and forecasts. Cutting-edge financial analytics tools allow users to make ad hoc queries and get answers on the fly as they need them—uncovering hidden insights, modeling scenarios and constructing better strategies for the future.
Some important metrics and KPIs for financial analytics include:
- Revenue, which can be tracked along many domains (e.g. per sales team member, per region or location, per time period, per product or service, and so on).
- Gross profit margin, which measures the ratio between revenue and cost of goods sold, assessing how efficiently your business manages its operations.
- EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization), your net business income before the foregoing factors are taken into account.
- Net cash flow, the difference between your total cash and total liabilities during a given time period (i.e. cash flow in vs. cash flow out).
- Length of consolidation and close cycles, which speaks to how well your internal IT and financial processes are running.
Cloud analytics is a world unto its own, with as many possibilities as there are cloud applications. Using a cloud-based or hybrid model for your enterprise applications, you can scale your analytics operations and capabilities as your business grows.
SaaS (software as a service) applications are hosted on a remote server and provisioned to you over the Internet. Many SaaS applications running in the cloud have their own analytics functionality, or they can be easily integrated with a BI/analytics service from your public cloud provider.
When traditional enterprise IT joins forces with smart data-driven business analytics, the results can help transform your organization. To learn more about the steps of building a mature, robust BI and analytics initiative for your business, check out Datavail’s white paper: From Raw Data to Insightful Stories: Transform Analytics into Innovation.
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