Oracle NetSuite’s EMEA Vice President, Nicky Tozer, discusses the benefits of collecting your data – and how businesses can use it to pivot challenges in today’s market
Businesses are facing some of the most uncertain times in history. Spiralling energy bills, rising costs of goods, fuel hikes, a new UK Prime Minister and not to mention, the spillover effect of Brexit and the pandemic are still plaguing businesses across the board. Inflation in the UK is now at a 40-year high. The Bank of England has warned UK inflation would peak at 13.3% in October, with analysts fearing the country could fall into recession by the end of the year. With all the uncertainty and turmoil, how can businesses rise above the challenges and achieve success?
How can SMEs propel their companies forward if the future is simply unpredictable? Nicky Tozer, Oracle NetSuite’s EMEA Vice President, discussed how data can help you understand your business better, improve your processes and better prepare you for challenges ahead. “The data doesn’t lie,” Nicky said. “If you can go and look at your numbers, that can give you evidence on whether the next step you’re wanting to try in your business could be viable or not. It’s not going to give you the whole picture, you have to go and do research from your peer groups and across the market. But you should look at the data around what you’re doing and how your business is performing to that point. That will give you an added advantage.”
SMEs are facing some of the most uncertain times in history. It can be difficult for businesses to make decisions for the future. While many businesses are delaying major financial decisions, they can still take the time to invest in ways to increase visibility and agility in their operations – so they are better prepared for what’s to come. Nicky said: “We’re seeing inflation, supply chain issues, workforce issues, and from what’s going on, we can see that these things are going to continue. And so, SMEs are uncertain about what’s coming next and how long these challenges are going to last.
“While they may be delaying some of their business decisions, what they’re not tending to do is to delay decisions to invest and better understand their business and give them that visibility so they can react better when challenges happen. It’s a bit unpredictable what the UK government is particularly doing and what the impact of that will be. We’re seeing some of the decisions being delayed for some of the projects that they might be working on to launch new products and services. They may be thinking, is it the right time to be doing that? Our customers are telling us it’s the uncertainty of the financial situation and what impact that has on their cash flow, which in turn affects their ability to make decisions about their business going forward.”
Many businesses are also struggling to hire the right talent with recruitment problems at record levels. Automating processes in your business can fill in the gaps of worker shortages and ease the pressures of managing your day-to-day operations. “A lot of our customers at NetSuite are struggling to hire reliable people,” Nicky said. “The automated system of NetSuite helps because they don’t need as many staff, because they automate all these processes that otherwise that three people are putting reports together, and NetSuite is going to do that for them.”
With rising uncertainty ahead, it is more important than ever to look at your data to understand your customers and the market. However, it is easy to get lost in all the data if you don’t have the right tools to help you understand it. Fortunately, there are many tools in data procession that make growing your business with data easier than ever. These tools enable you to save time, money, manpower and resources, allowing you to cater to other areas of your business that require more attention. With a rise in automation in data processing, SMEs can improve their productivity and efficiency, which in turn can boost their growth and revenue in the long run.
Nicky said: “Businesses struggling with inflation, the possibility of recession, labour costs, not being able to hire people because of the markets, supply chain issues, Brexit and all of the challenges that’s bringing now, the FX rates changing quite a lot, interest rates going up, we have all of those things to manage. What we find with the customers that we bring on to NetSuite is that they need to have better visibility over their business. This is so they can react quickly and with agility to all these unexpected challenges arising.”
NetSuite prides its integrated cloud business software suite, helping SMEs manage their day-to-day processes through a single-use integrated platform. This means businesses can save time, effort and money by operating their firm swiftly in an easy-to-use portal. “We aim to improve productivity and efficiency with automation,” Nicky said. “In a small business, everyone has to produce financial reports, forecast, plan and budget for what is going to happen in the future. And that takes a lot of time. If you are a very small business with a single owner or a single person running the company, you have to spend all of your time running your business and may not have the time to think about how they’re going to plan for the future.
“If you have data, you can rely on the data. Some take the data and make decisions based on it, some have hunches about what they think is happening and then go and look at their data. If you have a system in place like NetSuite, then you can cut down all of those long-winded processes that use up your precious hours, such as doing those financial reports or gathering data around different supply chains. We can automate those processes by the use of a single integrated platform to run your business.
She added: “One of our customers said they managed to close their books financially from 14 days to 5 days, those extra 9 days gained can then be used to drive insight from the data that they’ve got in NetSuite. It’s simple because you have an integrated platform like NetSuite to do it for you. That immediately gains you all of this time to think about your next step. You can start to look at other aspects of your business, and also improve relationships with your suppliers, build better plans around the rest business, manage your risks and be very agile about how you react.”
She added: “For our customers, their drivers for moving on to NetSuite is when they’re just getting more complex and at times like this when it’s uncertain with finances, they need to be able to better manage their business. Many of them are worried about the recession and inflation. They have to invest almost to protect themselves to be able to be agile in how they’re going forward.”