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Data Analytics Help Smaller Companies Better Understand Their Operations

September 11, 2013

If you have a small- to mid-sized company and can’t afford a team of accountants or consultants to crunch your financial and production data every, which way to Sunday, you may spend a lot of time wondering how your company is measuring up. What is your company’s profitability or expenditures per employee? What characteristics do high-performing employees share? Which department has the most productive employees? How does your performance stack up against industry averages?

The raw data that can be used to determine all these things is present – somewhere – in most companies. But most companies don’t have the time or expertise to crunch all this “big data” and turn it into intelligence. This is where analytics solutions come in.

Analytics, once a technology for the largest of companies (with the deepest pockets, since analysts were usually required to interpret the data) are becoming increasingly available to smaller companies who wish to keep an eye on every aspect of their performance and better understand their place in the marketplace.

The New York Times blog profiled a company called Workday, which recently debuted an analytics product designed for nontechnical managers who can use the solution to determine how their companies are performing on things like hiring objectives, employee attrition or revenue per worker for every division. The product allows smaller players to perform tasks such as compare payroll with overall market averages, judge the possible cost to a company of losing a specific employee, and analyze a high-performing employee’s characteristics and work history.

“This is analytics for mere mortals,” Dan Beck, the company’s product manager for financials and analytics, told the New York Times, noting that for most companies, “this kind of stuff is overwhelming.”

Figuring this kind of information out manually is a time-consuming task for which most companies don’t have the expertise. The information is often spread around the company in multiple locations, and not everyone majored in quantitative analysis in college. Simple, cloud-based solutions like Workday can be used as data repositories for smaller companies, who can then use them to crunch the numbers in a variety of different useful ways.

According to the Times, the product is being delivered as part of the company’s latest update, Workday 20.

Edited by Alisen Downey