Automate data collection
Data: we have a lot of it, we gather more of it every day and we look for ways to get even more. But… what are you actually DOING with it? For those of us involved in the order to cash process, the data we deal with comes in a variety of forms. There’s customer contact information, sales history, credit scores, payment records – the list goes on.
These details, on their own, might not seem particularly useful for anything other than chasing up an invoice that’s due. But with the right approach, you can do so much more with those numbers.
Jim Hall, research design manager at Quill says there are four main steps to create an “insights first” company culture – that is, getting the most value from your data.
Quill is one of the top-performing divisions of office supply company Staples. It was purchased in 1998 for $685 million (£554 million). Within ten years, the firm’s revenue grew from $550 million to more than $1 billion.
Mr Hall recently shared with customer insight and research firm Qualtrics his four steps to creating an “insights first” culture. We think these steps can also be of benefit to credit management teams in leveraging data, improving service and keeping DSO down.
- Optimising collections
You have to ask the right questions if you want to get the right answers, Mr Hall explains. He adds that getting information at the right moment is also important.
Tools like Onguard credit management software can help to automate a significant amount of data collection, reducing the amount of manual data entry required and helping to reduce errors.
Data can also be shared across departments, with information updated in real time. This means you can rest assured you’re working with the most recent data. Plus, our personalised dashboards make it easy to see the information you need, when you need it.
- Effective analysis
Having a lot of data is one thing, but if you don’t know how to analyse it, you won’t be able to get the answers you’re looking for.
Mr Hall says he always asks himself: “Is there something that’s important to me?” He then searches for trends within the data and brings the information he collects directly to the relevant teams.
Onguard’s credit management software makes it easy to turn data into information. The software includes a number of reports as standard, which have been designed to provide credit management teams with the information they need – all with the touch of a button.
- Take action
Getting information from your data is all well and good, but it’s what you do with it that really counts.
Make sure you’re using your data and analysis to make improvements to how you carry out your credit management operations. It may also be useful to other business functions.
- Keep going
Situations change – so continuing to collect and analyse data can continually uncover new insights for your business.
And if you’re using your data to try to bring about change, Mr Hall urges you to never stop trying. He explains that culture changes can be slow, but can start “with a single insight”.
Find out more about Data collection and how to create your own Crystal ball of Credit management:
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MARTIN DE HEUS
Account Manager Sales
“If you are not taking care of your customer, your competitor will”