How manual reporting jeopardises your profitability and performance

How manual reporting jeopardises your profitability and performance

manual reporting

For most large companies, manually generating reports to evaluate operational performance and service deliveries can take weeks, if not months. How much time do you spend fiddling with spreadsheets, moving data from one place to another just to build up a static and isolated report?

Manual reporting introduces further problems of which you may not be aware. Read on to find out how your manual reporting system jeopardises your business.

Four ways manual reporting impacts businesses

Data silos

In many business environments, data is gathered from multiple departments and sources. For the business to make decisions based on this data, it needs to be organised and communicated so that everyone involved understands what it means. Manual reporting gathers all relevant data from various sources and then relies on staff to analyse the information before creating a report.

The problem here is data silos. Each area works on reports that are not easily or fully accessible by other departments, so the information available to one department is unavailable or requires significant work to be shared with others. Data silos may not seem like a big deal, but this creates inconsistencies in data that may overlap across silos, leading to a deterioration of data quality, unreliable insight and delayed action greatly affecting your operations performance. This leads to the next key issue found with the manual reporting process.

Multiple versions of the truth

One of the easiest ways for errors to find their way into your data is by creating multiple versions of the truth.

Imagine you create a P&L report. You then pass this on to relevant co-workers to review and make adjustments. They send the report back to you to review and approve. You then pass it on to your superior who reviews and sends it back. You create the final version and send it to your superior, who then reviews and presents based on this report.

What happens if one person sends the wrong version? Or realises after the second or third review they made an error? Then there are even more versions of the same report in existence.

This is how manual reporting severely compromises your data integrity and adds unnecessary delays to the decision-making process.

The human factor

Manual reporting is prone to human error and bias. As the amount of data available grows exponentially, it becomes impossible for humans to handle it all. At some point, you’ll have to start manually filtering out what’s relevant and what isn’t, which is a dangerous path to take.

As data is gathered from multiple software sources like Salesforce, SAP, Xero, Netsuite, and others, plus devices like IoT sensors, then finally put into Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations – there are many touchpoints that create a huge concern for data integrity.

If you’ve ever tried typing numbers from an online report into Excel, you’ll know that mistyping or creating a formula error is all too easy – and not always noticed. One study found that when manually entering data into spreadsheets, the probability of an error was between 18% and 40%. The effects of even one error can result in bad decisions made from faulty data.

Time-consuming

Without question, manual reporting is labour-intensive and time-consuming. It takes hours each week to manually gather data to compile a simple P&L or service delivery report. It’s estimated the average worker spends 2.5 hours per day – that’s 30% of their workday – searching for information.

This not only hinders your leaders’ ability to make timely and effective decisions but prevents you from building confidence in your insights. It takes time to confirm each data insight against reports and seek direction from management. By the time a decision is made, the data is no longer current.

In today’s world, every minute counts. Manual reporting prevents you from making real-time decisions to act on current information. It focuses more time and attention on data validation than on data analysis. Huge amounts of time spent gathering information, costing your organsiation a great deal of time and resources to act on outdated insights. 

How Metro Trains Sydney removed manual reporting

Bring your organisation up-to-date with Decision Intelligence

Manual reporting is becoming a relic of the past. It is time-consuming, inefficient, inaccurate and expensive. It also lacks the scalability that modern businesses need to grow today.

Decision Intelligence propels your organisation into the future by building a solid data foundation that supports more effective insights and outcomes. Rather than spending weeks working on performance analysis, you can instantly see your operation in a centralised visual dashboard that displays only the information your need. 

The best part is that you don’t have to be a data expert – that’s what we are for. The Toustone team is passionate about helping every organisation become more efficient and productive by maximising their data. We can work with you to develop a solid data foundation and apply a custom Decision Intelligence solution to enhance your transportation performance. 

Contact Toustone today to get your transportation business on a speedy track to greater efficiency.

How big data enables greater opportunities for agribusiness

How big data enables greater opportunities for agribusiness

Data Foundation

Growing population, climate change, and increasing costs put huge pressure on the agricultural industry to continue to provide food for our planet while using fewer resources. Agribusinesses must constantly innovate to improve productivity and enhance efficiency. Over the last decade, a boom in technology has enabled the agricultural sector to step up to the challenge by going digital.

The increase in digital technology has the potential to further drive greater efficiency and productivity, but it also creates a mountain of data. This is what is known as big data.

Many organisations are overwhelmed by this volume of data. But big data has the potential to be of great value – you just have to know how to use it.

When data gets too big

Big data refers to the massive amount of data created by the increase in the Internet of Things (IoT), smart machinery, sensors, smart meters, and various individual internal and external data sources all leveraged in the production of goods and services.

From rural producers right through to retail, are all-seeing and implementing new IoT technology which provides valuable data but is only truly useful if correctly presented for quick oversight.

Around the globe, major industry bodies and producer funded research organisations are backing technology R&D to advance the industry forward whilst reducing costs and creating more sustainable practices. This means the development of even better technological advances is on the way – delivering even more data. 

For many agribusinesses, it’s just too much.

Dealing with big data often results in a time-consuming and costly reporting process. It creates silos of data that make it nearly impossible to collate. Individuals or Departments work from different data sources. Data security can become a problem if not correctly protected. This creates a perfect storm for errors to be easily introduced, leading to inaccurate decisions that cost you money.

Big data can create problems, or it can revolutionise your agribusiness. It’s all in how you use it.

Data Foundation

The potential for big data in agriculture

Agriculture used to be largely driven by gut instinct. Today, technology like IoTs enable greater visibility and oversight of operations, reducing uncertainties and enabling decisions to be data-driven.

The benefits cannot be underestimated. The FAO estimates that every year, ⅓ of the food produced for human consumption is wasted or lost. Using big data to revolutionise agricultural processes is necessary to create more efficiency to help battle the food crisis.

Big data can drive smart decisions and better outcomes in agriculture like:

  • Improved yields from data insights on weather patterns, soil temperature, fertiliser requirements, and more
  • Efficient use of pesticides and sprays – know how much to use without overdoing it
  • Maintain farm equipment with data that predict maintenance requirements and fuel use
  • Optimise your supply chain for efficiency
  • Remote monitoring of crop and livestock health
  • Increased profitability through enhanced efficiency and productivity

To reap the benefits of big data, you need a big data strategy to manage how you gather, share, and use your data. A data strategy considers your business goals and all the data available to you to find out which data is useful. Then, automated reporting delivers just the relevant insights.  

To take big data to the next level, you need Decision Intelligence.

Data Foundation

How Decision Intelligence accelerates operation performance with big data

Decision Intelligence (DI) turns your complex data into something that makes perfect sense. With a DI solution, you no longer need to worry about sorting through data and organising reports or even reading them – instead, data-driven insights are delivered to you, so you can act.

A DI solution combines human decision-makers with Business Intelligence and Machine Learning. All your data sources are collected and stored in one secure cloud-based location. The data is analysed and presented to you in a visual dashboard. From there, farmers and growers can make data-driven decisions. The result is higher yields at lower costs.

At Toustone, we have the know-how and the tech to put effective insights at your fingertips. We break down the mountain of data into fully automated and intuitive dashboards so you can easily see exactly what is going on in real-time. This abundance of data allows agribusinesses to accelerate the performance of their operations by having the information they need to create meaningful changes. 

A DI solution will:

  • Remove the manual reporting process
  • Stop data silos from forming
  • Ensure the security of your data
  • Create a single source of truth
  • Put predictive insights at your fingertips
  • Inject confidence into the decision-making process
  • Make sense of big data!

Any agribusiness can make the most out of the data they already have with a DI solution. Our team is ready and waiting to guide your agribusiness to a DI solution that puts big data to work for you.

Want to see how Toustone helped a leading corporate farmer enhance their on-farm efficiencies with Decision Intelligence? Read our case study on Lawson Grains.

“Working with Toustone has been great. They have been able to effectively capture information off multiple platforms and automate it. The solution has definitely made the backend of the office more efficient by getting all that data into one spot. Their personal insight continues to provide different ways to look at the data and get more out of it.”

Mat Well, Business Systems Analyst at Lawson Grains

How to build a solid data foundation for effective insights

How to build a solid data foundation for effective insights

Data Foundation

You can be sitting on a gold mine of data but if you don’t know how to extract its value, you’re wasting one of your organisation’s biggest assets!

The key to turning data into effective insights is building a solid data foundation. This means knowing which data will help you achieve your goals and how to orchestrate that data into a central hub for effective, intuitive reporting.

Building a solid data foundation ensures your data is accurate and useful. It clears the roadblocks to efficiency by creating a single source of truth. Then the final components of a Decision Intelligence (DI) solution can be implemented to automate reporting and deliver insights that drive better business outcomes.

At Toustone, we do all the hard work to enable rapid data-driven decision-making at every level of your organisation and to ensure optimal efficiency and productivity. It all starts with building a data foundation. Here’s how we work with you to achieve it!

Start with a clear vision

You need a clear vision of what you want to achieve with your data. This will enable us to determine which data sources are required to achieve your organisation’s analytic endgame.

Start by defining your desired outcomes. What exactly does your business need now, and for the future? Once your sights are set, create goals and metrics to measure your progress. This will determine which data sources and key pieces of quantified information are core to your reporting to create distinct and intuitive insights without any unnecessary distractions.

Gathering all your data sources is a critical step to supporting your vision. Many organisations still rely a manual reporting process that indirectly creates data silos, where one group holds information that is inaccessible to others or requires significant manual work in collating and producing for others. Pulling all sources together will enable your organisation to move to the next step and remove those silos while bringing everyone together to work towards common goals.

Organising your data sources enables a strategic data analytic approach to help you consistently achieve KPIs and ROI. Our team will orchestrate your data specific to your requirements to enable your vision and goals to be achieved.

Data Foundation

Work from a single source of truth

Your organisation’s vision is defined and the necessary data sources are identified. Now it’s time to centralise your data to create a single source of truth.

With all data in one cloud-based location, everyone works from the same information. All reporting is connected for easy access and deeper analysis between data sets. Your staff can easily compare how various functions affect your P&L reports and know what action to take to enhance efficiency and productivity.

Real-time information at your fingertips means your organisation can act with agility. You – and your staff – can make data-driven decisions based on clear, accurate insights without searching through manual reports and spreadsheets. A single source of truth means data can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, enabling quick and proactive decision-making.

Hosting your data in one secure cloud location enhances data security and governance. You have complete control over who accesses what information. When your entire staff have access to the data they need and nothing more, they work more efficiently and effectively.

Automate reporting to save time and money

When all your data sources are connected, reporting is automated to deliver easy-to-use visual reports. Instead of sifting through data and generating reports, you are presented with clear insights to drive better decision-making.

This is your competitive edge – a tailored cloud data model that connects all data sources, processes in real-time, and delivers automated visual reports to you and your specific role!

Hours previously spent generating and analysing reports can now be put towards actionable decisions. Accelerating your data processing will enable KPIs to be achieved consistently. Your team can work more autonomously, without requiring data confirmation and management direction.

Data Foundation

Confident, data-driven decisions for better business outcomes

This is how we create a solid and secure data foundation on which all decisions are based. A reliable data foundation injects confidence into your staff to make decisions that create better business outcomes. Less time spent build reports and waiting for management confirmation, more time for action.

This is the first phase of creating a Decision Intelligence solution. Next up we’ll go over data storytelling and how machine learning generates predictive capabilities to give you a competitive edge.

Decision Intelligence (DI) combines human decision making with Business Intelligence and Machine Learning to make better decisions – tailored to your business requirements, to accelerate your performance. If you’re curious to see how Toustone can implement a DI solution to impact your business, get in touch today. 

Government’s digitalisation endorsement: There’s no better time than now!

Government’s digitalisation endorsement: There’s no better time than now!

Data Foundation

The government has recently announced a digitalisation endorsement to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) accelerate economic recovery by embracing a digital data strategy. Investments in cloud computing, e-invoicing, cyber security, and web design will have a $120 tax deduction for every $100 spent. There has never been a better time to invest in your data strategy!

According to MYOB, businesses with an advanced level of digitisation are:

  • 50% more likely to increase revenue
  • Eight times more likely to create jobs 
  • Seven times more likely to scale

The cloud provides the foundation needed to accelerate your operation’s data strategy and achieve exponential growth. Toustone has what it takes to set up an effective data strategy for your organisation.

How your business benefits from the cloud

Why do you need the cloud? Manual reporting costs time and money and leaves the door open for errors. Plus, your data is at risk of being compromised, either by human error or a system crash. Manual reporting is a relic of the past.

Cloud hosting places all of your data in one centralized location, creating a single source of truth for the entire organisation to base decisions on. This is the building blocks of a solid data foundation that will enable your business to access accurate, real-time data for the best decision-making.

Let’s take a deeper look into the benefits of investing in a cloud-based data strategy now.

  • Single source of truth

One location for your data allows for easy, fast access to reports and deeper analysis between data sets. Your staff can easily compare and identify how various functions like marketing campaigns affect your P&L reports. 

  • Scale on demand

The cloud gives you greater flexibility. If you need more resources, you have access in minutes. This removes the pressure of planning – and means your business can grow even faster.

  • Worry-free backup

Your data backs up automatically. Data in the cloud isn’t susceptible to damage by flood or fire or if your system crashes. Never worry about losing your data again.

  • Save time and money

A network of servers hosted in the cloud replaces your server or hard drive. This makes it possible to store and access data much faster and more efficiently while eliminating the need to maintain a server. A single subscription fee replaces maintenance costs – and your staff have more time to focus on business goals. 

  • Security

You no longer worry about your server’s integrity. Toustone takes care of it all. We monitor your systems 24/7 so you are automatically alerted about outages and see issues resolved quickly. And you have complete control over who can access which reports. 

All of this means you have a centralized reporting model with easy access and 24/7 support that is flexible to your technical needs.

Government's digitalisation endorsement

Toustone makes data management easy

The governments digitalisation endorsement is putting its money where its mouth is by pushing incentives to accelerate Australia’s global leadership in digital and data strategy. SMEs can receive tax deductions for deploying cloud solutions that will benefit businesses. 

Real-time information at your fingertips means your organisation can act with agility. You – and your staff – can make data-driven decisions based on clear, accurate insights without searching through manual reports and spreadsheets. Your data is accessible from anywhere, at any time.

So what are you waiting for? Our team can’t wait to build the perfect data strategy for you. Get in touch today

Decision Intelligence: Practical Application and Benefits for Transportation

Decision Intelligence: Practical Application and Benefits for Transportation

Smart Farm: What you need to know

In a previous article, we discussed how Decision Intelligence (DI) has evolved from Business Intelligence to deliver more effective decisions and better business outcomes. In short, DI combines the decision-making process with BI and machine learning to enable higher quality, faster decision-making with less effort.

Organisations in the Transportation industry stand to make major gains by implementing a DI solution. From performance and maintenance to managing delays, a DI solution gives a real-time overview of the entire organisation that allows your staff to make rapid, confident decisions. 

But taking complex data and making it usable is a major hurdle for many organisations. Often, business owners aren’t even aware that there is a better, easier way to streamline their data to get the most out of it. This is where Toustone’s DI solution steps in to offer any organisation a more efficient system to enable more effective decision-making.

Here, we share how our DI solution benefits Transportation, along with potential directions for the industry to grow in future. 

Practical application of DI in Transportation

The first challenge many transportation organisations face is around service delivery reporting. This process relies heavily on manual and labour-intensive methods requiring time and effort in data entry.

Implementing a DI solution will take complex data from all operational data sources and automate the reporting into a visual dashboard. To do this, first we must create a solid data foundation so there is only one source of truth and fully automated reports. This will allow for the centralisation of all reports for easy and secure access and removal of the manual reporting process.

Now, data sources can be integrated into one automated dashboard for an accurate overview of the entire organisation. This reduces the labour previously required to manually process data and create reports, saving time and money. It also reduces the risk of errors due to manual processing and eliminates duplicate reporting. This also means the entire team now has a real-time overview of operations, instead of working from out of date data.

Next is Data Storytelling. Visual dashboards and reports create a data story, displaying overall performance and trends that can be drilled down to a single key performance metric. This enables rapid and specific targeting of issues. For instance within the Train industry, if a train’s efficiency is hampered by a door that is taking too long to open or close, the operator is able to quickly identify which door is the problem and take action to remedy it. This puts information into the hands of the decision-makers in real-time for fast resolution.

Executing this effectively will enable your organisation to reduce the manual reporting process and enable your team to make more efficient decisions without requiring data confirmation and management direction. So not only does this process enable effective insight, it creates a data-driven work environment that injects confidence into your staff to make decisions that create better business outcomes.

Potential for future development with DI in Transportation

The final part of a Toustone Decision Intelligence solution utilises Machine Learning. DI enables your team to better prepare for or correct an error before it has a financial impact. You are no longer just focusing on being up to date on your daily operations, you are now looking ahead to improve and adapt to future outcomes before they happen.

A key aspect of DI is that machines do the learning for you, saving you the time of gathering and assessing data and compiling reports. Instead, insights are delivered to you so you can focus on taking action. No need to be a data scientist!

Now, not every organisation has the in-house capabilities to forecast future events accurately, but your organisation can with Toustone’s Decision Intelligence solution in place! For Train Operators, DI with machine learning can give advance notice of upcoming train maintenance from predictive analysis on power lines, rail heads, and general wear and tear of assets.

These intelligent models will continue to improve over time, learning as more data is processed to make better predictions and even enable some decisions to become automated.

Better decisions through better data

Gartner predicts that by 2023 over ⅓ of large organisations will have analysts that practice Decision Intelligence. It is the next step in the evolution of Business Intelligence. DI will allow businesses to respond to new developments and adapt to shifting consumer demands in real-time. 

By applying AI and machine learning to decision-making, large amounts of fast-moving data can be analysed quickly, with relevant real-time data presented to the user. This will help any organisation make better, faster, and more consistent decisions.

 At Toustone, we are the data experts. Not only do we have decades of experience but we have a passionate team who love turning complex data into something that just makes sense. Our solutions can help any organisation – large or small – make better decisions for better business outcomes.

Our goal is to enable your organisation to be data-driven. If you’re curious to see how Toustone can implement a DI solution to impact your business, get in touch today.