Recently I had the pleasure of hosting our local Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) chapter at iDashboards’ world HQ for a symposium of sorts. Most members in this chapter are Controllers at local country clubs, so the purpose of our conversation was to discuss the use of dashboards within the club setting. This arose out of a complaint I had frequently heard from chapter members: “Tom, technology ignores us”.
In the traditional scheme of things, the biggest technology vendors playing in the club space (or small businesses of 100 different varieties) have traditionally been smaller organizations catering only to that setting. In one sense, this is good, because it means the players in this space have a history in the space. But in another sense, this has been detrimental – severely detrimental – to progress in this space.
Right, Tom, so what’s your point?
My point is this: the big players in the Business Intelligence world – those with the funds to push through stunning developments and advancements – have ignored these spaces because traditionally, any Business Intelligence (BI) rollout required a strong IT backing.
But what if it didn’t have to be that way?
Even if you don’t have a robust IT team (as with many clubs and small businesses) you still have data, and a lack of IT doesn’t mean you don’t have a need for good BI. After all, the purpose of good BI is to take data (for which no one is lacking) and turn that data into information.
Whether you have 5 or 500 employees, your need to leverage data in the day-to-day operations is present. In fact, you could easily argue that the smaller an organization, the more crucial it is to make the right decisions. Without data – no – without information, that can’t be done effectively.
Let’s do dashboards without IT. Let’s take your sales figures; labor and payroll; membership stats; and more, and turn that into a dashboard. In the past, the complaint may have been that it wasn’t affordable, or that the expertise didn’t exist within the staff to handle such an implementation, but it’s 2014.
Our answer: do it without IT. Do it within your budget. Do it right.
Take the data you have sitting out in the ether in numerous Excel spreadsheets, point of sales systems, or other programs and turn that into business intelligence. By leveraging Excel as a “database” of sorts, you can take our patented no-programming tool and turn those spreadsheets into dashboards. You can take the data you have and efficiently convert that into information (and, might I add, automate most of your reporting process to save you time and money). All at the hands of, no, not a programmer, but your controller, your GM, your administrative assistant. Drag and drop or point and click. Then get on to running your club or small business.
Tom Butler – Hospitality Specialist, iDashboards