Near-Live Data Key To Informed Business Decisions

With the ongoing pandemic and everything it entails businesses are forced to adapt to a new reality and make quick decisions in order to survive and continue to thrive. "For the operational and finance executives, the challenge is now to get the right data at the right time, to make the right decisions", says Derek Morrison, Country Manager for Mercur Solutions UK. 

Simply put, we help the CFOs and the operational executives make more informed business decisions.

Derek Morissson, Country Manager for Mercur Solutions UK

Siloed data in a single solution

Looking back 20 years ago or so, Derek describes business intelligence as something businesses used to simply report on sales and its related costs. Today, business intelligence has evolved into a more sophisticated tool for different functions to manage their respective parts of the business. "We take the corporate performance indicators, corporate targets and plans, granular company budgets and cost centre forecasts, and consolidate them into a single data set. In other words, we have a lot of siloed data coming into a single solution. The CFO is perhaps looking at liquidity, the Sales Director is looking at sales operations and Customer Management is looking at the customer service function. Business intelligence has moved more towards what we would call corporate performance management, where the whole enterprise can have a view of their slice of the business".

Establishing in the UK in the midset of the pandemic   

Last year, in 2019, Mercur Solutions decided to expand to the UK. Quoting the opening lines od Charles Dickenss 'Tale of two cities', Derek describes it as the best of times, and the worst of times for the expansion. "We brought the business to the UK in August and started marketing in November. Then Covid-19 hit us in March. Perhaps it wasn't the best time to set up the business, but as we have several clients headquartered in the UK, we have been able to support them through these last couple of months". 

Right data at the right time  

The pandemic has indeed posed uncertainties and challenges for everyone. For business executives, it has been all about planning and forecasting to survive and adapt to the new conditions. "It is challenging for us to travel to the office, and to engage with our customers, but for the operational executive and the finance executive, the challenge is getting the right data at the right time to make right decision", Derek says and explains that he has seen many organisations fighting since February - March. "They have multiple Excel environments and multiple data sets, with data distributed in different platforms - and they are still not able to consolidate the data. And they're losing so much time in pulling data together in spreadsheets". 

Agility key to forecasting

With more than 20 years of experience and having been through recessions, such as the 'black swan event' in 2008, Derek says that organisations have been running their businesses based on historic data for years. "They have been looking in the rear-view mirror, rather than out of the windscreen and the road ahead. I'm quite amazed that organisations are still struggling with the agility to plan and forecast". 

Decisions based on near-live data 

According to Derek, the reason why businesses are struggling is that things are happening at an increasing pace. "The executive board-room is now needing to make decisions based on data that is actually near-live, not from last month. It is all about taking your forecast and your planning data - and then analysing and making your next business decision based on that".  

The article is written by Jonas Eklund and is published in The LINK - Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK , September 200 on page 34.

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Mercur Solutions är ett privatägt svenskt programvaruföretag som levererar och implementera lösningar för verksamhetsstyrning och beslutsstöd. Vi har funnits i snart 50 år och är marknadsledande med vår egenutvecklade standardapplikation Mercur Business Control®, för budget, prognos, rapportering, analys och målstyrning.

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