So How Did We Do?

External data helps tell the whole story!

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“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it” is a quote frequently attributed to business management guru Peter Drucker.  Over the years it has become a well adopted philosophy in business.  As a result people in business are benchmarked or measured all the time via performance against sales quotas, service level, attrition, and forecast to name a few.  Most of these measures have one thing in common: they are internal metrics that are based upon historical performance.  While this is important, internal-only data analysis creates a blind spot for most businesses which can be eliminated by tying in external data like industry benchmarks, weather data, or fuel surcharge data to tell the whole story of company performance.

A great example of external benchmarking data within the supply chain is the APICS Supply Chain Council’s SCOR Framework (Supply Chain Operational Reference model).  The SCOR Metrics model includes 250+ metrics over 20 years of data from companies that have utilized the SCOR metrics scheme to measure their actual supply chain performance, compare themselves to relevant industry players, and calculate opportunity gaps between current performance and competitive requirements.  This means you are not only comparing Perfect Order Fulfillment against your own historical performance but also against hundreds of other similar organizations, and across hundreds of other benchmarks.  This type of information is accessible by becoming an affiliate of the APICS Supply Chain Council through an annual subscription.  What makes this type of data valuable is linking it with internal data to spot trends and identify opportunities.

While paid subscription data can be quite helpful, your organization can also benefit from publicly available data like weather data, population data, demographic data.  This can be helpful to correlate traffic and conversions at a retail store with weather patterns, and marketing program success to population and demographic data.  Quite a bit of this type of data is free if your organization has the time, money, and resources to invest in identifying accurate data sets.  Take a look at the links I embedded for weather, population, and demographic data and right away you will see the challenges of grabbing a complete data set from a free data provider.  Similar to subscription services, the value of this type of data is connecting it with internal data.

One other area that is worth exploring is combining external data leveraging your business intelligence platform. A great example is Qlik, which offers the best of both worlds with premium subscription data and free data which can easily be connected to the Qlik Analytics Platform.  You might know Qlik for best-in-class business intelligence software, but Qlik also offers Qlik DataMarket which helps you find, connect, and manage data from external sources like weather and demographics data.  This data can be blended into your existing or new Qlik applications.

For more information on Qlik DataMarket please watch the linked Qlik DataMarket video or test drive the Qlik Retail Omni-Channel Analytics Dashboard enriched with Qlik DataMarket weather and population data.

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