Dynamic Data Takes the Guesswork Out of Decision-Making
Most of us use data on a daily basis since numbers help us justify or redirect our choices at work. But, without a quick and reliable way to access data, it can be challenging to make sound business decisions. This was a major issue we faced at GoEngineer when reflecting on the quality of our products and services.
GoEngineer is one of the largest mechanical engineering resellers in the world. We are experts who deploy software and technology to ensure our customers’ design processes are innovative, efficient, and intelligent. We provide a suite of solutions, including software and services from SolidWorks, one of the most popular CAD programs on the market. GoEngineer is also well established in the 3D printing market, and we offer production-level printer systems from Stratasys and Desktop Metal. We aim to provide a full suite of products to the manufacturing and engineering community.
My job title at GoEngineer is VP of Product Development, but my role encompasses far more than that. I look at our company from a broad perspective to find the areas or aspects that need improvement. I ask the data-driven questions, like whether our line of products is the best in class, or if we are using the right products for each customer. At an internal level, I determine whether the products or system we use are aligned with and serving our needs. But one area that I’m most passionate about is evaluating how we capture our data to make the best use of it.
Every company has their own data story about how they collect, analyze, and use it to best serve themselves and their customers. Often, the processes in place exist because they once worked—but that may no longer be true. The deeper I dug into our own internal data processes, the more I saw that was the case.
We have a wide range of data to keep track of here at GoEngineer. Since we are a sales organization, we run a lot of sales rep data. From a sales management perspective, I rely on data to catch negative trends early, before they become a problem.
When it comes to customer-related data, it’s essential to know how often our tech support is used, and for what reasons. For example, we may have a small customer that drains more support resources than a much larger customer. Obviously, that’s a problem we need to dig into. But, again, manually diving into that previously took a great deal of work.
Overall, the old CRM platform we worked with for this type of data management was clunky, time-consuming, and awkward to use. We didn’t have high-quality reporting tools, so if we wanted to dig into our data, we had to do a lot of work outside of the platform using Excel to create detailed reports. I used to do manual reports by exporting a variety of searches from our CRM and then pulled them into Excel. Afterwards, I would write Visual Basic scripts to process the data and then add the report to an Excel dashboard. Clearly, this wasn’t the best process.
Out with the Old
But even the right processes aren’t enough. It’s pretty simple: If you don’t have all the right data, you can’t make the best possible choices for the company, and for your clients. At that point, we were far from having all of the data we needed, which often resulted in our employees making educated guesses to merely keep their work moving forward. This wasn’t how we wanted to function as a business.
I started to look for a system that would allow me to teach our employees how to ask the right questions to get simple, data-driven answers. We needed to help our staff—and eventually, our customers—make choices based on accurate data, rather than educated guesses. What we needed was a cloud-based dashboarding tool that would make our data dynamic.
At the time, Domo was incredibly popular, and a lot of my colleagues pushed to work with them. I, however, wasn’t convinced they were the right fit. Then we looked at what Numetric—another major player in the business analytics space—had to offer. At the time, their business model was full-service dashboarding for customers with a per-dashboard fee. Unfortunately, we needed more flexibility than they were offering, so we declined.
About a year and a half later, Numetric came to us with a new offer. They asked if we wanted to use Numetric to build out our own dashboards, which we did. This would give us more competitive pricing and the flexibility that I craved in a solution. We still hadn’t found a solution at a price point and with the versatility we liked, so we started working with Numetric.
A Fast Start
My first initiative for implementing Numetric was to emulate the work we had done in our Excel dashboards, starting with our sales commission data. Our reps were spending too much time chasing numbers to find out how much money they would make on their next commission check. So, we focused on getting that data up on the cloud, so they had instantly updated access to their sales commission numbers. All of a sudden, our sales reps spent more time selling and less time chasing their commission checks. This was a great start.
We then began migrating smaller, single-phase projects, and everybody loved the results. From day one, working with Numetric was a big win for us and created a lot of buzz around the office. The beauty of the implementation process was that the platform was so easy to use, and we haven’t had much of a learning curve when it came to training. The tool is so self-explanatory that we could immediately focus our time and energy on how best to organize, filter, and apply the results.
After the quick-win projects were out of the way, I started to set up dashboards for each division of the company. We now have over 40 distinct dashboards so each division can work with the specific key performance indicators relevant to their team.
I think the management team has benefitted the most from the Numetric platform. They now have critical performance indicators for sales teams or tech support teams, right at their fingertips. This helps to guide and inform one-on-one mentoring conversations.
Our new data strategy with Numetric hasn’t just been beneficial internally—it’s also changed our vendor relations. Since we sell products for other companies, there are two sets of records that are created: ours and theirs. These are billion dollar companies with, seemingly, the best BI tools money can buy. I can't tell you how many times these vendors have been blown away by the speed and accuracy of our data when we pull up numbers on the fly during business meetings. Numetric has upped our “wow” factor to our vendors, which is priceless.
The Right Fit
At GoEngineer, we aren’t big fans of traditional ROI metrics. Instead, we look at a new implementation and see if we’ve saved enough of an individual’s or group’s time to justify the cost of the platform. With Numetric, it was one of the easiest tools to justify in a long time.
On top of the simple dollars and cents, we’ve had an excellent relationship with Numetric from the start. We've seen them grow, and we've seen the problems that come with growth. But, ultimately, they've been a consistently great partner. Numetric has listened to our needs, and when there have been problems, they've been quick to jump on it and fix it. They’re the type of partners every company wants to find.
Because of Numetric, there’s no more guesswork for our teams. We can now make decisions with confidence, knowing we’re guided by accurate and up-to-date dynamic data. Finally, we’re no longer in the dark with our data. Thanks to Numetric, we can see.