For businesses in any field, the potential to find fresh operational advantages should not be lightly overlooked and there are now numerous ways in which quick access to company data and credit-related information can be beneficial. Here’s a look at how some of those gains can be gleaned and how data-based insights are helping a growing number of companies to do better business. #1. Better protections Protecting a business from potential operational damage or from loss of earnings is increasingly becoming a proactive process. Indeed, the ready availability of data about different companies and individuals who’ve acted as directors is such that there are generally no excuses for unwittingly entering into arrangements with unstable partners. Of course, there is no need for a company to be paranoid about who they do and don’t work with but, when the stakes are high, it is always worth conducting a certain amount of research into the backgrounds and histories of specific companies and their bosses. The good news is that the techniques and the data on these matters is now more comprehensive and easily accessible than ever before. So a company can proactively assess the credentials of third party operators and enter into important contracts or working arrangements with greater confidence and good reason for optimism. #2. Business intelligence The notion of using detailed information to guide business leaders and support their decision making processes is nothing new but it is now generally a more sophisticated and in-depth endeavour than it was in the past. The simple reason for this is that companies can access vast swathes of information that could be potentially useful and can be leveraged as an asset where the right approaches are taken. Determining precisely what kind of data could be useful for a particular company will depend on the nature of its operations, its market dynamics and a range of internal factors. However, data is increasingly informing the decisions and the strategies being deployed by companies of all sizes and in virtually every industry sector. For company bosses, the key to making good use of business intelligence is finding the right questions to ask and then the means to deliver the kind of answers that offer genuine insight. This isn’t always a straightforward process or an easy position to arrive at but, with the right kind of concerted efforts, there are very significant gains to be made. A company might, for example, be able to use data and associated analytics to make cost savings, to empower employees more effectively or to identify potential new markets. #3. Informed decision making Developing a company from one stage to another is never easy, even if the fundamentals of the business are demonstrably sound and revenues are reliable. There are always unforeseen factors for company leaders to be concerned about and to look out for as progress of any kind is pursued. Quick access to information about your market, your competitors and your own operations can help massively in supporting decision makers are they approach their work and look to the future. It all helps to ensure that a company is not allowed to fall behind its rivals or to be blindsided by issues that could have been foreseen. There will still be tough calls to be made by company directors and business intelligence can only do so much but decisions that are made can be taken with greater confidence on the basis of relevant data and a full and robust knowledge of market dynamics. #4. Reducing risk In the context of establishing and growing a business, the notion of reducing risk is perhaps overshadowed by ideas around production costs, marketing strategies, lead generation and the like. While this is quite understandable, it is ultimately very important for company leaders to recognise just how essential it is for a company to avoid risks to its sustainability from the outset. Reducing risk is not necessarily a glamorous or appealing pursuit but it is massively important in this context and it’s a process to which good data is now very often integral. A significant contributing factor in many cases of corporate insolvency is the sudden loss of revenues from specific contracts and having the right information can help protect a business against these situations. It isn’t unusual for the collapse of one company to cause serious financial difficulties for several others and robust due diligence based on comprehensive and up-to-date information is generally the best way to guard against these kinds of risks. #5. Maximising potential Anyone involved in leading a company will generally have ambitions for its future and a positive view of its potential to generate income and provide employment. But it is very rarely easy for any company boss to enjoy a seamless journey from one profitable year to another without incident. Even the biggest and most secure of businesses generally need to stay alive to fresh opportunities in order to continue developing and competing effectively in their particular field. In this context, access to relevant data can be important in that it can be used to provide greater visibility and clarity for company directors in terms of where to focus their future efforts and investments. Good data provides a measure of support for ideas about how a particular company might look to develop and grow over a period of months and years. So data can be key in informing the ways in which companies of different sizes are managed on a day-to-day basis but also how they are gradually reshaped or refocussed over time in the interests of long-term stability. #6. Increasingly essential To an extent, the term ‘big data’ has become something of a buzzword that might seem to have been overhyped somewhat in recent years but the reason for this is simply that information is becoming increasingly essential to a lot of what companies do on a routine basis. Figuring out how data might be used to help a specific company to grow, compete more effectively and protect itself isn’t necessarily obvious but with the right guidance on the subject, there’s every reason to be optimistic that business intelligence could help your company, whatever scale you’re operating at or field you’re in. Images: “Close-up of a modern business team using tablet computer to work with financial data/Shutterstock.com“ ________________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.