Data is becoming more and more important within businesses, allowing more calculated decisions to be made. From a financial perspective, real-time data can help support budgeting, forecasting and generally keeping an eye on cash flow. First, let’s delve a little deeper into what we mean by real-time data.
What is real-time data?
Real-time data is the flow of information that is generated and processed at the same rate it is received, therefore allowing for instant decision-making. With a series of data constantly flowing, this allows business owners to get a bigger picture of how processes are running, compared to a ‘snapshot’ view which only shows data within a certain time frame.
One of the main benefits of having real-time data at your fingertips is that you can prepare for most eventualities; there shouldn’t be any surprises thrown your way. Real-time data gives you the option to respond to situations proactively, as opposed to reactively. Of course you can’t plan for everything in your business, but having a grip on your finances will be a huge help.
Areas that real-time data can improve
Before using your real-time data to help your business, it is important to identify which areas of the business you want to improve. This way, you can really hone in on the data which is relevant, rather than diving straight into a pool of data with no real plan. If you don’t have any specific goal in mind, take the time to look at and analyse your real-time data before seeing how it can help drive your business forward.
Benefits of real-time data for business growth
- Monitoring financial performance
If you track the sales within your business in real-time, this can really help to unlock so many insights. You can clearly identify trends in sales, shifts in consumer behaviour and adjust your sales/marketing strategies accordingly. Real-time data can also be really useful when it comes to expanding your product range or services, as you will have more insight into seasonal trends, for example.
- Forecasting and budgeting
By looking at current and up-to-date information within your business, you can much more accurately calculate the financial health of your business. The more you know about the performance of your business, the more accurately you can budget, as real-time data gives you that information. For product-based businesses, real-time data can also give you an indication as to how much inventory you need to keep in stock, so you don’t have products sitting on the shelf and not being sold.
- Managing cash flow
The main benefit of real-time data is that you can clearly see when and how much money your business is losing, allowing you to act quickly to reduce the impact on your business. It can also give you financial predictions based on historical data too. For example, if you had a quiet month followed by a busy month, the real-time data will be able to forecast your finances for the next month, based on previous data. This allows you to understand when you need to save money, and when you can invest it back into the business.
- Managing risk
Real-time data helps to improve the overall long-term stability of your business. By being aware of any potential financial risks, you can take measures to reduce the impact these will have further on down the line. You could also look at integrating AI with your real-time data, so you receive alerts predicting what will happen based on the data stored.
- Improving operational efficiencies
Real-time data can not only help to save costs within a business, but it can also help improve efficiencies. In this day and age, customers want things quickly and conveniently. If you can monitor your supply chain in real-time, this means you can identify any issues swiftly, reducing costly downtime. Improved customer satisfaction is always a good thing in business!
If you would like to know more about how to implement real-time data in your business, get in touch with the team at Reality Solutions today. Our team of Sage experts can help you choose the right software for your business, giving you all the data you need to make informed decisions.
*This article contains general information in order to assist all of our customers and is meant for guidance only – there are no guarantees that the information we provide will be suitable for your particular needs. If you require specific assistance, we recommend that you seek professional guidance on your individual circumstances. Reality Solutions are in no way responsible for any loss or damage arising from any information contained within our articles.
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