Insightful analytics tap into the data goldmine

Written by: Mike Shipley

Insightful analytics tap into the data goldmine
The direct route to hospitality business growth exists within plain sight of most industry operators, if only they’d open their eyes, see it and free it.

That route is data. Since it comes from many sources, it is often in silos where it doesn’t best serve the business. But the right tech can turn raw data into meaningful insights and put it to work for the business. This insightful analysis allows operators to see one version of the truth and see it in context, so they can make effective strategic and operational decisions to grow profit. It means being able to see all key health indicators for the business in one place, in context, revealing interdependencies.

All data in silos, none in context

Most hospitality operators recognise the true picture of their business lurks within huge volumes of data. But aggregating can be complex, time consuming and therefore expensive. This means many businesses continue to try to extract meaningful insight from siloed data, with each department running its own set of spreadsheets making it difficult to combine data, collaborate and see the big picture. This inevitably leads to error and misinterpretation due to the lack of data source integration, and they can’t get the answers to the questions they really need.

The impossible is now possible

There’s tremendous growth and savings opportunities for operators abandoning the old spreadsheets and adopting a business analytics platform. This turns data into clear, meaningful graphical reports and easy-to-read dashboards that show progress against KPIs, and all this combines to enable management to understand and interpret data to make wiser business choices. Performance improves quickly because operators can spot trends and opportunities fast and act on them.

Effective analytics reporting brings together sales forecasting, POS data, people data, procurement and inventory data all in one place. And all this critical financial, operational, commercial and HR data is in one interactive and easy-to-use platform accessible from anywhere and on demand to generate complementary reports and dashboards. This enables operators to get a 360-degree view of their operation, with everything in one place and in context. This includes both their own data (sales, inventory control, POS, HR, procurement, menu engineering) and other data sources such as like e-learning, Mystery Diner, social media and customer sentiment.

What does good look like?

A good platform eliminates the need for manual data gathering, reporting and collation from multiple sources. This gives operators more time to interpret reports based on accurate numbers and discover opportunities for improving the guest experience and optimising both operational processes and revenues. It also ensures accurate reporting on business-critical information at the click of a mouse. A collaborative, enterprise-wide reporting solution uses one fully integrated data warehouse to eliminate user error and create one accurate version of the truth.

Our customers use our platform to bring together their multiple data sources and almost all have made material changes to the way they run their businesses as a result of seeing their own data in context. When they can look at vendor league tables, employee-balanced scorecards showing the best and worst performers, or overscheduling or underordering from a company level right down to individual site level, it’s easy to see how swift changes can be made to optimise both the guest experience and the bottom line.

Insightful analytics will show trends and patterns, variances common at all outlets, variances isolated to a site or group of sites, the interrelationship and interdependency of all data sources and their performance effect at enterprise- and site-level to reveal the best approach in each scenario and the correlation between key business value drivers.

Our advice to any operator would be: you know you’ve got it right when departments agree on clear roles and responsibilities. People understand the important of process and control for effective reporting and insight and the general manager owns all core operational applications aided by manager checklists. Also, operations managers carry out routine and ad-hoc follow up on performance and a central department identifies organisational trends and issues and supports and challenges operators on performance.

And finally…

Beware. When operators upgrade reporting to a fully integrated, operationally focused business intelligence solution, they must make sure not to just replicate the previous outputs. The dynamic, interactive and graphical nature of the best new analytics platforms allows for far deeper, more accurate and timelier reporting that is easy to interpret and even easier to act upon. Operators should seize the ability to use new technology to bring all data sources together and make a positive step-change to culture and processes.

Harnessing insightful analytics is fundamental to success in today’s hospitality sector.

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