Quick Hits: You Have Data; You Have To Use It Better

An interesting headline from HortiDaily came across my inbox: “You cannot survive without data anymore.” In a way, that’s both so true and off the mark at the same time.

Truthfully, all growers have data. They’ve always had data. Even when my great-great grandfather, Granddaddy Meetze, who started a hundred-acre farm in 1901, had data. The difference between today and 119 years ago is how we’re able to process data.

data NASA scientists with their board of calculations

NASA scientists had data in 1961. They didn’t have the technology we have today to be more efficient.

It reminds me of the picture I printed out for Greg Lafferty a few years ago of NASA engineers in 1961 doing calculations on an enormous chalkboard. Knowing Greg, I knew he would appreciate it on a couple of levels: One, because he was a former NASA engineer himself; and two, we were always talking about processing data.

Yes, this is a picture of NASA engineers processing data. These are the tools they had at their disposal, as well as slide rules and computers with less processing power than whatever device you’re reading this on. They put a man on the moon using this data.

While you may not be able to put a man on the moon with your data, you can still improve how you process your data to give you a better window into your organization. Starting with a strong foundation, having an ERP system like Sage X3 that can handle true integrations can help your company find a single point of truth for your data.

When it comes to projecting your company’s future, having a solid forecasting and replenishment piece can use your data to plan ahead. A product like DemandLink, can take its 35,000+ points of external data (housing starts, unemployment numbers, NOAA weather reports) and merge them with your company’s historical data to create a more accurate view of your company’s future needs.

And when we’re talking about analyzing or sharing this massive amount of data, there needs to be a better way of displaying the information. According to the article “Preparing better graphs” from the Journal of Public Health and Emergency, William Playfair thought the same thing when he developed line graphs, pie charts, and other graphical representations we know today: “‘It occurred to me, that making an appeal to the eye when proportion and magnitude are concerned, is the best and readiest method of conveying a distinct idea.”

To help track these tens of thousands of data points, also known as Key Performance Indicators, Business Intelligence software like Sage Enterprise Intelligence to help visually communicate what’s going on in your business. And it also helps whether you’re new at producing KPIs or an old pro.

Are you using all of your company’s data to the best of your ability? Do you need help seeing a clearer picture of your business? Let us know!

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