Harnessing the Power of Data to Make Better Business Decisions

If there is anything the pandemic has taught us, it is that corporations are increasingly relying on data. 82% of data-driven companies believed they stayed ahead of the competition during the pandemic due to their use of data to make effective decisions. Additionally in Q2 of 2021, 61% of CEOs have reported they are making significant investments into data and technology. These significant strides for incorporating data within business strategy brings about three advantages which we shall outline below.

Stronger Business Decisions

Businesses must always face the element of risk but by tracking the performances of previous projects using data and analytics, the gap can be shortened. Advanced Analytics, AI and Machine Learning can assist us in making well-informed decisions which shaves off hidden costs. For example by implementing the algorithm known as the UPS’ ORION program, UPS combatted various inefficiencies in single-package deliveries which allowed the company to save $400 million per year in gas and labor by fall 2016. Not only did they become more sustainable, but they were able to reduce spendings through the data collected during the deliveries alongside testing algorithms to make their service more efficient.

By using data to make better informed business decisions, companies will move closer towards their goals. While a leader with good instincts and a wealth of experience is still necessary, the power of one mind cannot match the benefits of data-driven results. Data-driven companies within the top third of their industry were on average, 5% more productive and 6% more profitable than their competitors. On the complete opposite end, 90% of startups and small businesses fail with the failure rate starting at 21.5% in their first year and landing on 70% by the tenth year. This stemmed from the failure to use data to narrow their target audience alongside a lack of research on what their customers want which ultimately, made them ill-prepared for the market. So whether you are part of a large enterprise or a small business, utilising data in the business strategy not only sets you on track for achieving your goals, but also ensures you can navigate any risks with confidence. 

Enhanced Customer Experiences

In the technology era, people are tapped in all the time on their phones, tablets, computers and so on. This has become increasingly apparent with remote working under restrictions such as social distancing and in some cases, lockdowns, where going to a physical store can prove to be difficult. So with more people turning to their digital devices to do their daily or weekly purchases, there is a greater wealth of data which can be analysed to meet the needs of their customers.

Every click, every double-tap and review is a sign of engagement. It was estimated that by 2020, every person generated 1.7 megabytes of data per second which is only a little over the average size of a high quality jpeg photo. When you add on more time, you start having a lot of customer data to work with, wouldn’t you agree? Customers can leave reviews, signalling to others what to avoid and perhaps encourage others to buy a particular product. With this, data analysts and web designers can gauge customer feedback based on clicks, reviews and the duration spent on a page to best optimise online services for their customers. While this may appear trivial, it’s certainly not the case as 80% of customers say they are more likely to buy from those who listen and act on their feedback. Doing so makes the transaction process for customers, whether they be B2B or B2C, seamless during each step of the way while making quicker returns for companies.

A Data-Literate Workspace

Hybrid-working conditions are becoming more prominent which has given rise to technologies such as video-conferencing software and a plethora of collaboration tools and remote learning programs. While the hybrid work model has increased productivity with 83% of employees preferring the hybrid-working model, the management of data is not as flexible. 

First of all, data gets siloed in an organisation which makes information not easily accessible to all departments. So while the access to work and employees is becoming more dynamic, data management is not. The problem this brings is that the data literacy within an organisation becomes unbalanced which undermines the effectiveness and competitiveness of a business. 

This has affected the contracting process where in 2021, 34% of companies struggle to hire contracting talent with the right technology and process management skills to extract, compare and analyse data from contracts. More broadly, the 2020 report from The Data Literacy Project found only 21% of the global workforce are fully confident in their data literacy skills with only 32% of business executives being able to create measurable value from data. With this, the increasing access to technology and data is strangely disproportionate to the ability to interpret, understand and work with data. 

So as our working circumstances have evolved to become more flexible, the ability to effectively use data must advance with it. As the International Data Corporation has forecasted a 61% increase in worldwide data by 2025, there is clearly a need for the global workforce to upskill their current proficiency with data within at least the next four years.

Conclusion

While the exact outcome of the pandemic remains uncertain, the rising reliance on data and technology is clear. Companies are recognising the need for data in business to make better informed decisions alongside building and maintaining a loyal customer base. However, the data literacy of employees, irrespective of their position, has not matched the increasing need to make workable actions from data. It’s no wonder businesses like PwC are spending $3 billion on technology and training over the next four years. So like the hybrid-work model is preventing the spread of Covid-19, accessible and comprehensive data is key to stopping companies from being eliminated by their data-enhanced competitors. So, migrate from inflexible data environments into a fully-customisable one with Unwynd to match your current working conditions and needs.

Tagged : / / / / /

3 Advantages of Document Automation

Technical documentation on average, takes 1 hour/page for writing, 30 minutes/page for reviewing, 2.5 hours for editing/page and a further 25 minutes/page for proofreading. You add that all together, that’s 4 hours and 25 minutes for a thorough review of a single page. All documentation which contains technical knowledge such as contracts and other business documents follow the same organisational approach: using headers to sign-post the details of the content. As noted, this takes up lots of time per page. Document Automation as the name implies, takes data and text various sources and incorporates them into pre-defined document templates. This brings 3 major benefits for business. So down below, we shall outline what these benefits are and why they increase productivity and efficiency in profitable projects.

1)   Faster Document Generation

This is the most obvious benefit, with lawyers stating 82% of time savings stem from document automation. By creating templates through automation, you can input the text and data you want the documents to contain into standardized templates. Additionally, it reduces the time reviewing a draft and ensures all members in a project can access the template before it’s produced, rather than waiting for a complete written draft. This keeps communication in real time, ensuring errors and suggestions are addressed clearly at the beginning for producing a document. Thus, collaboration between departments becomes streamlined and more efficient. 

2)   Compliance and a Unified Understanding 

With better collaboration stemming from faster document generation, this ensures that all documents are compliant with laws and regulations. This is because it reduces human error in the drafting process where the writing of a drafter may be difficult to comprehend as we’ve mentioned in our previous article on contract complexity. In this, document automation removes the guesswork of ensuring documents are accurate and intuitive to read as the automation system does this for you. This keeps everyone on the same page not only with legal rulings, but also ensuring the correct definitions do not get lost to differences in interpretation. 

3)   Retention of Knowledge and Expertise

With documents that get produced quickly and with assurance of compliance, this ensures all members to a project both old and incoming are updated on day one. By keeping to a consistent template rather than documents which have been drafted by different people, it keeps the documentation uniform. This allows members to build up familiarity with the style and format which ensures they pick up information quicker. It is a well-known fact that humans are creatures of habit, so let’s play to those strengths. This also applies even if a skilled member leaves the project momentarily or completely as the templates provide a continuous bank of expertise to ensure assignments are completed with minimal delay. This is a huge saver as 40% of productivity gets lost to task-switching.

Conclusion

Document automation saves time that is wasted creating, reviewing, redrafting, and proof-reading documents. This reduction in production times also gives more time to collaboration which ensures the needs of clients are flagged up and implemented before the first template. Another problem document automation resolves are incomprehensible documents which can occur due to writing styles. This is because document automation keeps templates standardized, allowing project members to familiarize themselves with the format to the point the reviewing and understanding the data becomes intuitive. This allows everyone in a project to fully understand the assignment each step of the way, regardless of whether they are an attorney or a businessperson.

Tagged : / / /

5 EDITING TOOLS SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS USE… AND SO CAN YOU

Software developers routinely handle large volumes of complex, heavily structured files filled with intricate syntaxes and little margin for error.

Does this sound like your own line of work…?

Here are some of the most common techniques developers use to streamline their workflow and how you can incorporate them when dealing with richly formatted, plain natural language.

  • Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
  • Syntax Highlighting
  • Brace Matching
  • Predictive Typing / Auto-Complete
  • Dynamic Version Control (Git/GitHub)

Integrated Development environment (IDE)

Software engineers and web developers customarily use what is referred to as an integrated development environment or “IDE”. As the name suggests, those platforms offer an integrated workspace for developers to edit, debug, compile or interpret source codes.

But the key takeaway for our own purposes is the ability to operate multiple files simultaneously within the same project environment. This means users can declare a dedicated “project” folder and effortlessly import, use, or refer to sections of text which were used in other text files pertaining to the same project.

This is known as the “DRY” principle (as in “don’t repeat yourself!”) which aims at reducing repetition of software patterns and replacing it with abstractions to avoid redundancy.

This allows for surgical precision when it comes to referencing certain variables or concepts defined in other sections without having to replicate definition sources.

This can also come in particularly handy in document-intensive industries, such as large-scale construction, infrastructure, healthcare, and banking which comprise of massive volumes of documents defining complex legal, financial, and technical mechanisms all relating to the same project.

In complex legal transactions, it is not uncommon to have few 100s references to other concepts in only few lines of text! And spread across multiple text files relating to the same subject matter. Applying the DRY concept would substantially reduce the risk for errors, which would not be a bad idea when dealing with language naturally designed to reflect certainty and predictability.

Syntax highlighting

Color-coded syntax highlighting is used by programmers to display source code in different colors, each associated with a unique meaning . This feature facilitates reading and writing in a structured language… one that is not open to interpretation.

Sounds like your own professional syntax?

Syntax highlighting makes both structures and syntax errors visually distinct and content becomes easier to read and understand. Highlighting does not affect the meaning of the text itself; it is intended only for the human eye, which proves to be effective when applied to other business (and social) languages just as well.

Syntax highlighting improves the readability and context of the text; especially for structured content that spans several pages. The reader can easily ignore large sections of comments, code or text and find errors only by skimming through pages.

Most IDEs, for example, highlight certain data types in pre-defined colors. Consequently, spotting a missing separator becomes much easier because of the contrasting color of the text.

Research shows that syntax highlighting significantly reduces the time taken for a programmer to internalize the semantics of a program, enabling them to pay less attention to standard syntactic components such as keywords.

Using unwynd, you can use syntax highlighting with plain natural language by either configuring your own syntax or using the default modes based on your own preferences.

Brace Matching

Brace matching (or bracket matching) is another important feature used predominantly among developers. This makes it simple to see if a brace has been left out or to locate the matching brace based on location of the cursor, sometimes by highlighting the pair in a different color.

The purpose is to help the writer or reader navigate through the written content and spot any improper matching, which would cause ambiguity or conflicts of language in heavily structured text documents (such as corporate and legal documentation).

This sounds trivial, but lawyers can sometimes spend years in costly litigation arguing about the parties’ intention in light of omitted brackets.

Predictive typing / Auto-complete

Predictive typing or sometimes referred to as “auto-complete” is an input technology used where one key or a set of keys are associated with certain pre-configured rules or concepts. Each key press results in a prediction or terms or sentences.

Auto-complete could allow for an entire word to be input by single keypress making the whole typing experience more efficient and, inevitably, more cost-effective. It makes efficient use of fewer device keys to input writing any types of files.

This can also considerably reduce the margin of errors when referring to previously defined concepts. To reduce drafting ambiguities, it is important to refer to defined concept with the precise concept that has been associated with the definition.

Predictive typing can play a key role in ensuring that defined terms, concepts, or other time/cost-sensitive concepts are used in the appropriate manner. Click here to learn more about what predictive typing can do for you.

Dynamic version control (Git/Github)

We would not cover the topic fully without addressing the world of version control. Who isn’t familiar with the good old file naming techniques “V1”, “Version 2”, “dated 04122020” or “comments by John D.”?

There is a solution for this too!

Git is a distributed version-control system for tracking changes in source files which has been around for 15 years and is designed for coordinating work among programmers. But it can also be used to track changes in any set of files in distributed, non-linear workflows.

With the use of pre-configured functions, a programmer can “commit” its own changes to a dedicated branch which can later be merged to the “master” branch once any possible conflicts have been addressed. Git will keep track of all changes made to a particular file across the entire lifecycle of the project workflow.

While Git is free and open-source software distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2, it requires a fair amount coding experience or at least some degree of proficiency in command-line interface. It is not readily available for use by non-developers.

Tagged : / / / /

5 Problems Solved by an Efficient Document Management System.

The more your business grows, the more documents you’ll eventually accrue, and the more paperwork you collect. This isn’t a bad thing in and of itself – it’s a sign of success! – but it can lead to document overflow and make finding a particular file or paper difficult or impossible.

However, your organization can alleviate this issue by investigating document management systems.

Wrong Versions of Files Worked On

Nothing can set a day’s worth of progress back faster than employees working on the wrong version of a specific file. This is a huge time sink and can result in significant losses in time, money, and employee productivity.

It’s all too easy for an employee to send the wrong version of the document to a client or colleague, leading to future confusion and more time debt accrual when you could be progressing your firm’s goals. Either buying an existing document management system or building a SharePoint document management system are great ways to solve this problem permanently.

Manual Document Merging

Company employees are often forced to merge documents manually when they don’t have an efficient document management system instead. It’s a massive time sink because employees have to cross-reference both versions (or more than two versions) of a single document over and over by hand.

Document management systems are much more effective solutions to this need since they can automatically merge different versions of a document and much more accurately catch any discrepancies between versions.

Can’t Find the Right Document When Necessary

Larger companies often have thousands of documents to sift through. If someone at your organization needs a particular file or document, a clerk or another employee could spend hours looking for that document depending on how well organized your files already are.

In contrast, efficient document management systems can help you easily access any documents necessary, and at much faster speeds compared to even the most skilled human worker. Furthermore, document management systems always include search functions, allowing clerks to look up documents they need at a moment’s notice.

Office Space Taken Up by Traditional Document Storage

The more files you have, the more space you have to dedicate to cabinets and other storage solutions for those physical documents. Even the most compact file cabinets will eventually occupy a lot of space in your office as you buy more of them – that’s space that could be better used for seating clients, for employee desks, and other uses.

Document management systems allow you to compress all of your files into digital versions, eliminating the necessity for excessive file cabinets. This also improves each document’s shelf life since the digital versions will not degrade over time like paper.

Insecure Document Storage

Lastly, efficient document management systems can benefit your organization by providing security. Regular document storage solutions are usually insecure and are thus vulnerable to unrestricted access. Document theft can harm even small companies.

Document management systems can provide standardized repositories and only allow authenticated organization members to access certain documents. Some systems even offer multilevel security provisions to protect high-level or sensitive documents from unauthorized access.

All in all, it’s clear that efficient document management systems are key tools that no business should be without.

By Angela Scott-Briggs

Read More https://techbullion.com/5-problems-solved-by-an-efficient-document-management-system/

Tagged : / /