Tech-head and I were enjoying a pint the other night and I asked him how much our business intelligence system cost. Not the price of the software - that was one of the first things I asked when we got it - but the total figure when you take into account the hardware and man-hours to get us to where we are now.
The reason I was curious was because I've been looking at our branch costs as we approach the end of the quarter to see what difference BI has made to our bottom line, directly and indirectly. Looking at the ratio of properties to agents, we've managed to contain our staff overheads by working smarter - I never realised how long we were spending on manual admin and meetings before. In Sales, we've seen a modest rise during what is usually our slowest period, and notched up very healthy growth in Lettings, which I attribute in no small part to being able to box a bit cleverer. We spent the same, quarter on quarter, on marketing and advertising but achieved better results because the activities were more targeted thanks to our data profiling.
The BI package we have is an entry-level one with a bundle of licenses and if you need to add more users, you just buy additional licenses. And because it wasn't too complex or sophisticated for our needs, we didn't have to throw an unfeasible amount of time and resource at the technical implementation.
I need to check the numbers, but it would seem our total investment in BI is well on track to repaying itself within a matter of months if we carry on like this. It really is a no-brainer. I can't believe I kicked up such a fuss at first, but I'd recommend any professional services type firm to get Crystal Solutions for their business. Unless they're another estate agent, of course. As far as I'm concerned, BI is our secret weapon.