Meta-Data and the Promise of the Cloud

Unless you’re seriously into computer systems, chances are you won’t have heard much about something called meta-data. Meta-data holds the promise of different cloud platforms seamlessly interacting with each other and it is going to be increasingly important for the way you run your business. In the old days, computer systems were totally self-contained. Your inventory management system ran on its own separate machine and had its own separate reports. Likewise your accounting system, your customer contact system, and everything else that dealt with electronic data. Even today, companies spend significant sums of money paying people to pull data from lots of different systems and bring it all together inside Excel. Basically you chose your specialist package, paid your money, and learned to live with it. Read the rest of this entry »

Information as an Asset Class

In 2010 the World Economic Forum issued a paper which argued that information is becoming the next hot asset class. The general argument was simple and compelling: whereas a century ago capital was the number one commercial input factor, today it is information that counts. We can see the validity of this argument by conducting a quick thought experiment. If you were a medium-sized manufacturing company operating in a very competitive market and trying to satisfy choosy customers, which input would you value more: ten million dollars to expand your factory or reliable data about your customers, needs, preferences, and past buying patterns? Read the rest of this entry »

Gain a Competitive Advantage Through Upstream Reporting

In an earlier blog we covered the topic of pushing information down to customers through downstream reporting. Now we’re going to think about pushing information up to franchisers, parent companies, and other people who are not necessarily on the front lines but require information from multiple sources to make strategic decisions. Read the rest of this entry »

4 Core Financial Disciplines to Track in Your Company

In previous blog posts I’ve written about why an Executive Support System (ESS) is important in helping CEOs to make forward-thinking decisions. I’ve also explored some of the detailed metrics and ratios that an ESS tracks, like the three types of profitability metrics.

Now I’d like to give a quick overview of the four core financial disciplines that every CEO should be monitoring in their companies. Read the rest of this entry »

Statistical Use of External Indicators in Running Your Business

It’s great to know where you are today in terms of your business’ health, and a good Executive Support System (ESS) can give you the full picture you need in order to make sure there are no hidden surprises lurking underneath the monthly reports. But in the next six to twelve months, do you know whether your industry is going to enter a period of growth or a downturn? Do you know if you should be investing for future growth or hoarding cash to ride out a downturn? There is data out there that can help you to make the right decision but it’s extremely difficult and costly for SMEs to obtain and correctly analyze this information. Read the rest of this entry »

How Brightmetrics Handles Security in our SaaS Product

These days small to mid-sized businesses are turning more and more often to Software as a Service (Saas) or cloud solutions like Brightmetric’s Executive Support System (ESS). When compared to in-house solutions, cloud solutions tend to be more cost-effective, quicker and easier to setup and easier to upgrade.

Using a cloud solution also allows small to mid-sized companies to offset very costly and time-consuming security needs. Due to rapidly evolving best practices and compliance measures, many small to mid-sized businesses find it difficult to handle IT security in-house. In fact, in a recent report, Forrester Research, found that 67 percent of all IT executives interviewed felt they were unable to handle IT security internally due to limited staff or budget. Read the rest of this entry »