It’s ironic that the answers to questions around driving any agency’s profitability and growth usually live inside the agency itself in the form of raw data. The challenge for agencies lies in extracting that data and converting the rows and columns of numbers into contextual insights that tell stories about what is happening across the business. Unfortunately, not everyone is a data scientist with the skills to quickly query and analyze data to assess what’s going on across an agency.
The answer? Business intelligence. Business intelligence tools, integrated with agency management software, are fundamental to helping agencies remove the guesswork from decision-making by converting data from all its original forms into real-time, easy-to-read, actionable insights.
What is business intelligence and why is it important?
‘Business intelligence’ is a broad term describing the processes, strategies and technology an organization uses to collect, store, analyse and present information about its performance. Some examples of business intelligence include reporting, data mining, performance metrics and benchmarking, querying, data preparation and visualizations.
So, why is business intelligence important for agencies?
In a nutshell: when integrated with agency management software, business intelligence delivers comprehensive, real-time insights into how an agency is performing. And real-time, meaningful insights power better, faster decision-making.
In practice, business intelligence lets decision-makers collate raw data from all over the agency and present it with visualizations, such as charts and graphs, that make it easier and faster to read and interpret large amounts of information. This supports rapid and informed decision making for the business. Visualizations can be designed to show current data against historical views, desired performance benchmarks or estimated outcomes. Flexible, built-in filters allow agency stakeholders to customize reporting views into specific interest areas.
At-a-glance, business intelligence combined with agency management software lets agency stakeholders quickly spot positive trends and problem areas, which can help strengthen productivity and efficiency to improve profitability and growth.
Five ways to use business intelligence for profitability and growth
Business intelligence integrated with agency management software can improve almost every area of agency performance. Here are the top five ways we’ve helped successful agencies achieve their business goals using the business intelligence capabilities embedded in our agency management software solutions:
Productivity is the lifeblood of successful agencies because an agency team’s efficiency directly impacts profitability. The more efficient an agency’s processes, the more work that can be generated for the agency in the available billable hours.
Business intelligence is pivotal to helping agencies improve productivity. Function Point’s business intelligence capabilities allow agency stakeholders to rapidly identify bottlenecks, automate routine tasks, manage deadlines, spot inefficient business processes and redefine how an agency prioritizes and organizes work. Centralizing core information about a client project facilitates fast, easy collaboration so agency teams can stay up to date on accounts without needing multiple internal meetings. The ability to analyze historical data lets agencies forecast future performance with greater confidence.
Utilization represents billable time for agency teams. It is the difference between the available hours an employee has each day and the hours they actually work to deliver client services. Business intelligence helps agencies monitor utilization tracking by giving fast insight into how effectively each team member is working.
Function Point’s business intelligence streamlines workforce planning and tracking. Our visual dashboards let agencies quickly and comprehensively forecast, plan and monitor team utilization. From one screen, agency users can track billable and non-billable hours to see how many hours of external meetings are taking place, who is committed to training courses, who is on annual leave or absent for other reasons and more. Our business intelligence tools also let agencies filter into deeper levels of detail to better understand their utilization across different teams, clients and agency functions.
3. Project management
As an agency grows, it becomes more complex to manage all the moving parts that contribute to growth, performance and profitability. More clients mean more projects, with more underlying jobs and more team members to support the growing list of client needs. Keeping track of all those moving parts is essential to managing a profitable, growing agency. Business intelligence streamlines agency project management by providing real-time views into all areas of daily agency life.
With the click of one or two filters, Function Point’s business intelligence lets agency stakeholders zoom in and out of the detail on how many clients are active, how many jobs are assigned to each client, who is working on which client account, where time is being invested and the status of tasks and to-do items, whether complete, works in progress or pending. Dynamic Gantt charts mean deadlines are never missed, capacity plans can be thoughtfully built on data from previous projects and metrics can be clearly communicated. Function Point’s business intelligence takes project management to a new level of sophistication.
4. Financial management
Understanding the detail in an agency’s financial data is essential to improving agency performance, growth and profitability. Spreadsheets are useful to a point but it’s the transformation of those screens of numbers into clear visualizations that helps agency leaders truly understand where there is scope to reduce costs, increase sales, raise margins and make investments.
Function Point’s easy-to-use business intelligence visualizations give agency leaders a bird’s eye view into the most important metrics necessary to optimize financial performance. Our solutions deliver real-time graphical insight to the status of estimated versus actual expenses and payments, margins, the costs of billable and non-billable hours, staff costs and invoices, either project-by-project or at an aggregated level. The ability to see historical performance next to current day performance strengthens forecasting and our intuitive data visualizations help make sharing and communicating financial information a breeze.
5. Flexible reporting
Making sure the right information is available to the right people when they need it is crucial for making well-informed business decisions. Function Point’s business intelligence platform is integrated with our all-in-one agency management software solution and gives agencies instant access to insights about their business with 26 pre-built reports. As your agency grows or evolves, our business intelligence tools offer easy, fast options to customize reporting so you continue to have the insights you need to manage your business to achieve profitability and growth.
Experience business intelligence
Out of the box, Function Point’s cloud-based agency management software delivers powerful business intelligence capabilities that turn data into actionable insights to keep agencies profitable and on a sustained path of growth. Experience how business intelligence can transform how you manage your agency and make decisions by exploring our solutions page or requesting a demo.