How to overcome data blind spots for better travel and expense decision-making

Getting actionable business insights can be a challenge, particularly when disconnected systems result in fragmented information, data blind spots and inaccurate reports to key decision-makers. By collecting, storing and analysing data collated in an enterprise-wide strategy, businesses can gain insights, identify new opportunities, and set clear priorities to achieve business and financial outcomes.

Organisations are collecting amounts of data so large in volume that it can seem impossible to discover how it can deliver insightful information to achieve business objectives.

Data blind spots can occur when internal travel and expense management (TEM) systems don’t allow for easy monitoring and measurement. Organisations may fail to notice if employee expenses are becoming unreasonable if privately-developed solutions are not fully integrated with internal or external data sets. Through the use of technology including mobile expense management systems and automated solutions, CFOs can have complete visibility and control over money coming in and out of the business.

Here are three things businesses need to be aware of when tackling big data:

1. Type of data collected

Due to the vast amount of data available to be collected, organisations must decide what types of data the business is collecting and why, to ensure leaders get the most appropriate information and the data serves a specific purpose.

Data sets containing incomplete or missing information may result in incorrect conclusions. Context for how, when, and why organisations collect data will assist in interpreting the data more accurately and improve business decision-making.

2. Analysing data

The term “big data” is no coincidence. A huge amount of data is collected and stored by businesses, generated by its customers, employees, and supply chains. While using technology, users are constantly creating and receiving data, making it overwhelming for businesses without the correct tools to manage, organise and analyse the data to gain recent, actionable results. It is imperative for businesses to ensure the data gathered from their systems is being correctly interpreted in order to get useful results.

Business leaders should sit down with data analysts so that both parties can understand what the analysis project entails. Business leaders should share their goals and expectations for the project, while the analysts should explain the different methods available to extract the insights required. Frequent collaboration can ensure business objectives are being met and can yield exciting and unexpected results, including cost savings and efficiency gains.

3. Caring for data collected

Keeping the data of its consumers, employees and suppliers safe should be a high priority for any business. For those using data collection methods, transparency and security laws mean it is critical to treat data with extreme care.

Businesses must ensure the tools used to store and analyse the data are secure, up-to-date and regularly serviced by a professional.

Big data is an exciting possibility that can offer many insights. Patterns found in data can help organisations to mitigate risk, improve customer service, and widen profit margins by understanding what drives consumers and business revenue. While big data is not limitless or perfect, it does let businesses make smarter decisions based on facts supplied by their own customers, suppliers and employees.

Matt Goss, ANZ Managing Director, Concur

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