BI that pays for itself
- 27th Apr 2012
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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.
Making our own luck
- 20th Apr 2012
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Back in the first century, a Roman statesman called Seneca said "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity". When I was younger, I thought that meant wearing clean underpants for a night on the pull, but I'm beginning to see how Seneca's philosophy can be applied to our business. Since we've got a handle on our data, we've been able to see opportunities on the horizon and prepare our teams to seize them.
I don't think it's immodest to say that in days gone by, a lot of our successes as a branch were attributable to my style of leadership which, looking back, was quite authoritarian and aggressive, too dissimilar to a Roman general. That was fine in a buoyant climate, but the world is a different place now and those tactics no longer work.
Adding a dash of self-service
- 5th Apr 2012
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It's been a busy month for our branch and with the warmer weather, we've had a rash of new instructions. I'm convinced vendors' optimism is governed by the weather. Anyway, the net result is that some of my internal data projects are going to have to take a back seat while I'm out on viewings.
So tomorrow, I'm going to train up all the team leaders to use dashboards so that they can monitor their KPIs themselves. There was a lot of mumbling and grumbling about not being able to afford a day tied to the office when I explained it would only take an hour or so, because the system is so easy to use (let's face it - if I can master it, anyone can).