3 Steps to Get from Bad Data to Good Data

You can’t make good business decisions with dirty data. When you’re planning your resource allocation or you’re auditing your project accounting, if you don’t have one centralized business management software platform, there may be bad or missing data. That’s costing you precious money and time that can be better served helping your customers.

You may think your systems are integrated but if your business has more than one database you may be at risk of losing project profitability. Even if you have someone manually updating data into all of your databases, you’re at risk of having dirty data. Information becomes silo-ed in whatever database you’re holding it in and you lose visibility and it certainly doesn’t scale.

Subsequently, your project profitability suffers. Even if you have some level of integration to update all of your databases, you can’t effectively compare and contrast information across silos. The fields in your different databases will differ and the age of the information is not the same. The answer is often a patchwork of spreadsheets. But even consolidated spreadsheets become a headache and you start losing time and money just trying to mine your own data and maintain the integrity of the spreadsheets. With this mode of doing business, your process is flawed right from the start because it’s next to impossible to accurately bid on a project when you have bad data because the discrepancies between past estimates and the reality of what really occurred can differ by tens of thousands, if not millions of dollars.

Best case scenario: dirty data causes latency issues. Your business suffers from bad information that takes time and great effort to manually update and maintain across all databases.

Worst case scenario: the information is never updated which introduces unnecessary risk to your business and you set yourself up to lose money before you even start a job by using bad data in the bidding process through your job costing process for new projects.

Don’t get caught off guard with bad business data

When the bank, vendor or client calls, you want to give them the right answer right away. You also want the job costing process to make you more money—not increase your spending.

That’s why you need a job costing system that  is part of the fabric of  your other business functions. With the right integrated system, your data is no longer held in silos. It gives everyone line of sight in every aspect of your organization to use. Accessing data becomes self-serve. It’s accurate and up-to-date. Now, when a customer or client calls, any department in your organization will be able to answer their question with context  or update the database with new data for everyone to see immediately. By cutting down on dirty data and the processes that create it, your company’s organization improves and your customer service quality increases.

On top of that, the job costing process becomes easier, more accurate and ultimately more profitable. Because you have good data to work with, the estimations you make when bidding on a project are more accurate and closer to the numbers you’ll see when the job is done. You can count on the information in your database and that is crucial to scale your business.

With a PSA software solution like Solutions360’s Q360, you can see the full 360 degree view of your business. No more dirty data. No more latency. Better business decisions, faster turn-around times, and higher profit margins.

How do you get from bad data to good data?

1. Centralize your database

Remove the threat of bad data by consolidating your databases into one, simple, easy-to-use system. Terrified to implement new software? Don’t be. It’s easier than you think and your organization will be worse off if you don’t do it. With accurate data located in just one database, everyone in your organization can access the right information right away. Also, when you have a centralized database, you can systemize the checks and balances in every process. Labour involved in transferring information can redeployed to revenue-generating work when you’ve got a central database.

2. Evaluate the as-is to the could-be (i.e. See where things can be consolidated)

When there is more than one database storing your data, there are likely duplicate processes that need to be eliminated. Once your central database is in place, evaluate what employees are doing in their key roles to see what value they are adding as they process information. Better practices can then be identified and put in place for your new system.

3. Start measuring your data through the life cycle

With accurate data, you can start measuring things you weren’t able to measure before. Income statement and balance sheets are classic rear-view mirror tools of how a business is doing. With accurate centralized data, you can compare and contrast periods of historical (traditionally disparate) information and leverage this data to model and predict where your business is going and make proactive adjustments as new real-time information is introduced into your decision making.

You can start measuring the success of your business through the full life cycle of work. Right from your $100,000 investment into a trade show, measuring the effectiveness of your qualification process and the resulting business. Through to the effectiveness of bidding, delivering and maximizing the profit on a job through to providing exceptional customer  service while keeping an eye on the overall profitability of that customer. Each of these areas can represent a million dollars opportunity or a million dollar mistake. Which way your business goes depends on how fast and accurate information comes back to your decision makers so they can adjust in time to affect the next business cycle.

Centralizing your database is important to the success of your business. It removes latency issues, improves customer service, and it makes way for profitable, rapid business growth. Find out what else could be cutting into your project profitability with our Job Costing Survival Guide.