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Using your BBB

Using Your BBB(Bookings, Backlog, and Billings) Data to Power Your Future

Dan Fleming
July 28, 2014

Can your organization adapt quickly to dynamic market conditions? Do you have access to the right information about your company that will help you enable its success? If you're like most executives, you rely on inconsistent data in non-integrated spreadsheets that are updated on a fixed schedule. Sounds pretty inflexible, right? That's a hard way to remain competitive in your market.

Having a comprehensive view of your business will help you make decisions that optimize results for the entire company, and not just any one area of it.

Start with the Standard Measurements

Bookings, Backlog, and Billings (BBB) is a standard data set that most companies use to track their business. How many orders are coming in (bookings), delivery dates are selected and scheduled (backlog), and the customer is billed for the order (billings).

Bookings-Backlog-and-Billings

And most companies record and measure their BBB data in pretty much the same way: in isolation.

Regardless of the actual tool they're using, each department is probably doing it on their own, and only sharing the information with their immediate internal customers/departments. Sales may have an idea of the inventory numbers or delivery dates of the products, however Finance and Accounting may not.

So, you might be asking: why does it matter if the entire company has access to the same data for BBB purposes? As long as you're making sales, shipping products, and collecting invoices, does it really matter if you're sharing data?

It sure does!

Get a 360° View of Your Business

The first benefit to sharing your data across your company is that your employees will get a 360° view of your business. They'll no longer be solely focused on their department or area of expertise. Everyone will be able to interact and visualize the data, asking and answering business-critical questions quickly.

Make Better Decisions:

The second benefit is that you can define key and leading indicators that you can monitor to recognize and react to trends and make informed decisions that optimize the results for the entire company.

Predict Future Trends

Bookings-Backlog-and-BillingsThe third benefit to using your BBB data throughout your business is to harness the predictive nature of your data. That's because most people only think backwards when it comes to data. They use it to see how their business performed up to now, and demonstrate how well their current business processes are working. With that backward view, executives are potentially making business-critical decisions based on old data. Wait, what about departments that DO use it for forecasts and projections? Departments like Finance are using it to project future revenue, and Operations departments use it to forecast inventory and production capacity. While that may be true, it's not often obvious to executives and managers in other departments to use it to predict their futures too. You'll be pro-active instead of re-active.

What Else Can I Use My BBB Data For?

1. Re-align business processes if you notice wide ranges of data. By having a 360° view of your business, you'll understand the wide-ranging ups and downs of your data and take action accordingly. For example, an increase in the book to bill ratio in a given geography may mean you need to globally reallocate Operations resources. Your employees continue to work smoothly and your company's bottom line isn't negatively impacted–in fact, you may even notice an increase as you work together more effectively! 2. Celebrate a business-wide success. Let everyone who contributes to your business celebrate the positive outcomes, not just the employees immediately involved in the success. 3. Foster better collaboration between your departments.  With a consistent set of BBB data available across departments, they'll be able to take advantage of opportunities that they might not have thought of before. New working groups may be created across previously-at-odds departments, like Operations and Finance. Your employees will be more creative in their problem solving and develop their internal relationships to solve them. All because they had access to the consistent BBB data.

Use Your BBB Data for More than Just BBB

See, your BBB data can be used for so much more, and involve so many different employees from all over your company.

  • Employees in every department can further analyze their area of expertise and take advantage of trends they see.
  • Executives can create a proactive environment in their organizations, which increases employee morale, reduces turnover, and ultimately affects the bottom line.

Everyone is empowered to do their own jobs better, and fully realize the opportunities available to them. All from taking a closer look at some data.

This is all great but How?

Use New Tools to Improve Your BBB

Bookings-Backlog-and-BillingsTake advantage of tools like Tableau to visualize your BBB data in new and different ways. You'll be able to see end to end data, track key indicators more easily, and make decisions that optimize results for the entire company. Most BBB reporting solutions within companies only focus on one area of an organization, like Operations, Finance, or Sales. However seeing data across departments can open up new opportunities.

Tableau–The Best Way to Visualize Your BBB Data

Data is often a boring word in the business world, as it's usually the domain of the super-specialized analyst. That's not the case with Tableau, however–through it, data becomes a user-friendly, popular thing to say and use because it's just so easy to access. Bookings-Backlog-and-BillingsTableau sits on top of your federated BBB data source and lets you create visualizations and reports for whatever business reason you can think of. Work with a Tableau partner like Jade Global to create visualizations and dashboards for BBB and beyond. Tableau can pull data from most major data sources, either in a file (like Microsoft Excel and text files) or on a server (like MySQL, Essbase, Hadoop, Salesforce, and more), in both real-time, or dynamically on a regular basis.

Jade can also provide you with specialized training so that your own staff can create visualizations that are unique to your business. These Tableau "Jedi's" know your business better than anyone, and can easily create visualizations that speak to your needs and requirements. Here are a few BBB dashboards created with Tableau.

Bookings-Backlog-and-Billings

Tableau can create visualizations for any BBB need, like:

 

To Take Advantage of Your Data

And fully realize your future, contact Jade Global today. We'll show you how to create a new path to your future.

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