Twenty or more years ago, businesses would have purchased their stationery supplies in a very different manner to how they do today. Whoever was responsible for ordering the stationery supplies would have had a quick scan of the stationery cupboard, or glance at past orders, and then written down what was lacking. After getting the new order signed off by the finance department, the order would then be posted or faxed to the stationery suppliers. These days, the purchasing game is carried out in a much more methodical manner, backed up by cold, hard data – not by a perfunctory scan of the stationery supplies store. In this blog, we’ll take a look at big data, and how it’s changing the purchasing game and helping businesses be more efficient.
Virtually every type of information can be captured and stored.
“Big data” has become one of those business terms that get bandied about whenever there’s a discussion about IT trends (or any kind of trends, for that matter). Big data might sound sexy, but before you can use it, you’ve got to figure out how to get it; big data must first be accurately captured and stored before it becomes useful. Technology has developed to the point where almost every type of information can be captured – text, images, videos, numbers, audio. Cloud technology has made it possible to house all this data in a way that physical location is not an impediment to accessing it.
Analysis breathes life into big data
The next step in the big data game is analysis. It’s all very well to collect data, but it’s meaningless without proper analysis. Big data analysis allows us to spot patterns in sequential data and non-sequential data – our human brains might be better than computers in many ways, but analysing non-sequential data is one area in which big data analysis wins hands down. By spotting patterns we can make better-informed purchasing decisions, that will save your business money and ensure a more profitable future for it – decisions based on fact, and not feeling.
There’s still a place for the human touch in the digital world.
While our brains might not have the capacity to house several years of a business’ purchasing history and find disparate patterns in it, the “human factor” – as Andre van der Pol describes it in his article on BizCommunity – is a crucial ingredient in harnessing the power of big data. Once you’ve elucidated patterns in data, innovative thinking – that’s creativity – is what makes big data valuable. Innovative thinking paired with big data is what really helps businesses run better and save money.
Big data can be used to make your purchasing strategy simpler.
Analysing transaction histories makes it possible to see whether certain stationery supplies are used more during specific months, for example. If you notice that less paper is used during winter, you can curb your spending on that item during the colder months. You’ll also be able to order ahead to ensure the timely delivery of orders.
OfficeBox is a stationery supplier with a difference – our ordering system is both intuitive and analytical. To see how applying analytics to your purchasing strategy can make your business run more efficiently, sign up for a free trial.