Running a business of any size can be a challenge, filled with major decisions overwhelming you at every moment. But what if just a few slight adjustments could save your bottom line and open up space to focus on innovation and growth?

Inefficiencies may seem like obvious and unavoidable aspects of doing business. But in practice, issues related to inefficiency cost companies 20-30 percent annually on average. Not only do they reduce profit margins, but inefficiencies also bleed valuable funds from research and development or customer engagement.

What it takes to run an efficient enterprise.

The solution to inefficiency is often technical in nature. It's possible to gain oversight and control over complex operations using tech tools. For instance:

1. Add anomaly detection to the supply chain.

Small anomalies in the supply chain extend out to major inefficiencies. Estimates suggest if the manufacturing sector gained just 1 percent in productivity, it would lead to $500 million in yearly savings. DataRPM (acquired by Progress in 2017), a leader in next-generation analytics, reports: "Predicting anomalies on time can result in savings of up to 12 percent over scheduled repairs, maintenance cost reductions of up to 30 percent, and elimination of breakdowns by up to 70 percent." Do the math, and you'll see those potential savings really add up.

Established companies like Airbnb, which offers accommodation to travelers in 190 different countries, rely on anomaly detection systems to detect problems as quickly as possible, which ensures that the platform continues running smoothly, and that customers aren't inconvenienced. More than that, it also frees up data scientists and others within the organization to focus on creating new products and services, instead of spending all of their time looking for fires to put out.

2. Eliminate IT inefficiencies.

Effective IT is crucial for every successful department, project, and for workflow. Unfortunately, IT is a complex enterprise that is highly vulnerable to inefficiency. According to IDC, "Most server configurations are static, hardwired, and difficult to change. Existing management processes and tools align with individual technology silos. The complex workflows and approval cycles between groups impact IT project delivery time and solution cost."

How can these issues be corrected? A good first step is to simplify infrastructure and cost by consolidating the data center footprint and using a single all-in-one system. This will help ensure your system is used similarly across all departments; it will also increase flexibility and cut down on delays. Using a single system also limits the amount of time your employees spend having to shift from one system to another, which increases their overall productivity.

3. Improve the accuracy of data insights.

Data is essential for fixing inefficiency and maximizing productivity, but it all depends on the quality of that data. First and foremost, data sets must incorporate the largest amount of quality data possible, and incorporate new data autonomously and organically. Second, that data must be instantly available and trustworthy in order to keep uncertainty from compromising opportunity.

But, as Hortonworks CEO Rob Bearden points out, the amount of data being stored by enterprises "is going to grow 50x year-over-year between now and 2020", which means that not only do organizations need to find ways (and space) to store all of that information, they also need tools that will enable them to analyze that data, and find actionable insights.

4. Increase communication between work silos.

When data is separated and segregated between work silos, it inhibits communication and collaboration. As Progressly's Nick Candito puts it, "Combining tedious manual tasks with the reliance that company departments have on a smooth daily workflow makes it virtually impossible to maintain any kind of competitive advantage. Yet, this is how most companies operate."

Relying on a single system of record breaks down these silos. Once all relevant data is consolidated and accessible to all, there is no question about whether that data is accurate, up-to-date, or complete. This approach also eliminates the wasted effort it takes to find and access data in a range of disparate departments.

Inefficiency is a huge problem, but it doesn't require huge solutions. The businesses that focus on the core issues and implement targeted solutions enjoy widespread improvements as a result. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, work on perfecting the wheel you already have.

Published on: Apr 30, 2018