By now, you probably have a decent sense of how important data is to your midsize business. You might even think you collect it like a pro. Customer satisfaction surveys? No problem. Financial reports? Easy! You’re practically drowning in data waiting to be mined.
Except...you’re actually drowning. You’ve got piles upon piles of reports, but not the infrastructure in place to act on it in real-time. Instead, you’ll soon wind up with enough paper to prop up every unbalanced two-top for miles. See, it’s not enough to aggregate data. You need to make it work for you, as well as the means to stay nimble as data sources change with your customers’ wants and needs.
According to a 2011 IBM study, 83 percent of CIOs in midsize companies planned on investing in business analytics to stave off the kind of data overload that can stunt company growth and, instead, turn it into actionable information. The result? 66 percent of best-in-class companies are using analytics for supply chain management, 70 percent for operational visibility, and 93 percent for sales management. It’s an obvious decision to make. Instead of turning those reports into super-drab gift-wrap, you should be using analytics to handle the load.
Making better use of data is even turning San Francisco into a more sustainable city. Recology, an innovative recycling company, is already committed to the cause, running 20 distinct recycling programs to collect and route the 3,000 tons of resources San Fran produces each day. They’ve already seen immense success as well, their customers having reduced the amount of garbage they send to landfills by 49.7 percent between 2000 and 2011. No wonder San Francisco is the greenest city in North America.
However, as the City by the Bay plans to reach zero waste by 2020, Recology needed to figure out the right way to make their programs more efficient and reliable. They turned to IBM business partner Key Info Systems to track their massive fleet of 1,400 trucks as well as the waste they collect along the way. With IBM underpinning their operation, they can now mine data like traffic patterns, types of wastes like cardboard and metal, and route information in a matter of hours instead of weeks at a time. That means more recycled products can be generated for the city’s communities, and less waste polluting the environment.
So take it from the people keeping San Francisco fresh and green: you don’t need to take up weight lifting to get out from under all that data. You just need the right tools to manage it and put it to good use. IBM’s business solutions are exactly what you and your midsize business need.
This post is part of the IBM Midsize Matters Series, in which business solutions are demystified, just for your midsize business. Visit IBM for Midsize Businesses on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to join the conversation.
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