"Big data? Big whoop... I want my data Smart" - Said everyone, ever...*
The current trends suggest that big data analytics is the direction businesses need to go in order to become more predictable and more profitable. For some companies, that will be a true statement. There’s no doubt that companies who are data driven are more successful at analyzing their business.
But what exactly is big data, anyway? The opening definition Wikipedia gives is actually quite interesting: “Big data is the term for a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications. The challenges include capture, curation, storage, search, sharing, transfer, analysis, and visualization.” Couldn’t have said it better myself… To me, trying to analyze business performance using big data seems cumbersome. Companies with the bandwidth have the ability to hire multiple analysts to find correlations, spot trends, discover outliers and much more. But what about the restaurant industry? The glue that holds a restaurant company together is operations so investing in big data analytics seems far out of the equation… (Pun intended) But it doesn’t have to be. The restaurant industry needs smart data. Data that is easy to maneuver around – data that is consolidated to one place – data that is actionable – and most importantly, data that is … smart.
*Editor's note: not everyone actually said that... but they should.
Big data – Smart data: are they one and the same?
Conceptually, they are very similar. In fact, they might even be the same thing. But what’s the key difference, you ask? ... The software or systems you are using to analyze your business. Unless you are a restaurant company with hundreds or even thousands of locations, chances are the term big data doesn’t apply to you. You’re comfortable using the above store reporting and analysis features that your Back of House and Point of Sale vendors provide you. Not only is that data not considered big data, I would argue that it is not smart data, either. Not to take any shots at BOH or POS companies; what they do is very important, obviously! But what they do is at a transactional level. They capture each transaction and calculate inventory on hand… etc. Both are vital when operating a restaurant company.
Ok, so I’m getting off track a little bit. The point I’m attempting to make above is to not be mistaken for what big data means. Point of Sale and Back of House vendors capture data as it happens and provide reporting and analysis for only the items that they are designed to capture. They do not integrate with other systems such as loyalty/rewards, payroll, general ledger, labor/scheduling, drive-thru timers, kitchen display systems, etc. therefore, they do not provide information warranted of the title big data. The idea of an all-in-one solution that integrates with any data collection system is more on track with what big data actually represents. IBM has been a company pioneering big data and I can’t help but love their slogan: “Let’s Build a Smarter Planet.” They beat me to the punch before I could come up with the Mirus slogan: “Let’s Build Smarter Restaurants” – darn.
So… how do I get Smart data?
Smart, actionable data is truly what everyone wants out of their reporting and analysis solutions. If the information you are receiving isn’t actionable to be able to effectively create a positive ROI, then what’s the point? Having a way to view the entire business from one platform (aka data consolidation) and the ability to implement smart logic into all restaurant transactions at a high level of detail is what it truly means to have Smart Data. Furthermore, having the capability to create dashboards suited for KPIs that you’re responsible for, setting up alerts to be notified of any outliers, and creating reports from an ad hoc report writer is exactly what someone needs to analyze business performance.
Transitioning out of the regular methods of reporting and analysis is a tough thing to do. It really takes one out of their comfort zone. But once you understand the power behind smart data you’ll wonder why you didn’t adopt the solutions a long time ago…
So, how do you get smart data? Start by clicking on the button below. Because with Mirus, you can have smart data – it begins with a change in the way of thinking about reporting and analysis; smart logic creates smart data - which in turn helps to reduce cost and increase profits.
[Image credit: blogging.avnet.com]