The Role of Reporting and Analytics in Restoration Software
Making Data-Driven Decisions for Your Business
It’s remarkable how management and storage of information have changed for many businesses from only a decade ago, and it’s the same for those in the restoration industry. Today’s restoration companies no longer require filing cabinets containing reams of paper documents on every job that they’ve done. Instead, restoration contractors depend on technology to keep track of their business information and ensure it’s safe, especially on software. For contractors, restoration software can help manage a lot of things, including dealing with valuable business data.
Though restoration contractors handle the aftermath of natural disasters regulary, they’re not immune to disaster either. Modern restoration software helps preserve business data from destruction due to power surges, hard drive failure, cyberattacks, or even data loss due to the types of disasters they’re accustomed to handling. Based on the cloud, restoration software platforms protect against physical and digital data threats. Yet, along with providing protection against loss or damage to data, cloud-based restoration software also enables contractors to use this valuable data for creating business reports that support them operationally.
Restoration Software & Its Role in Data Reporting
The value of a restoration company’s business data cannot be overstated. Restoration software, especially cloud-based restoration software, enables contractors to put together reports based on data gathered about customers, projects, and other aspects of their business. Essentially, data reporting replaces the corporate business meetings of yesteryear, where an analyst, consultant, or other expert presents insights relevant to a certain department or team.
Data reports can tell an important tale about a business. Using data, analytical tools either embedded in or integrated with restoration software can provide a picture of a company’s performance at both strategic and operational levels. Data reporting can offer restoration contractors insights, using historical data to predict future performance meant to help with decision-making about a company’s growth. These modern-day data reports can even be generated in real-time, supported by analytics applications in restoration software that provide contractors with a snapshot of their business.
Benefits restoration software provides contractors include:
- Ability to easily add charts, graphs, and other visualizations of data to reports.
- Capacity to view trends over time by making comparisons easy between months, years, weeks, or even custom periods.
- Means to create financial reports that look at defined periods of time, including for projects in progress.
- Real-time reporting of business intelligence, allowing contractors to track performance, manage projects, conduct marketing activities, and guide other business functions.
- Scheduling of data reporting in a way that best suits workflow.
- Seamless scalability to deal with fluctuating business levels to grow rapidly to deal with more projects or handle declines during off-periods.
- Specialized dashboards that personalize reporting, depending on the role of the user within the business.
Data reporting tools in restoration software can create insights that help build a company’s value. Using this business intelligence, contractors can use the gathered data to help improve their profitability. By identifying trends and patterns in data, restoration contractors can streamline their operations and increase their teams’ efficiency.
How Data Analytics Improves Decision-Making
There are many ways in which analytics applications in restoration software can aid a contractor’s business. One of the more important features involves analysis of consumer trends, which can be used to help map out a company’s marketing strategy. For example, data reports may show that there’s been an increase in business in a specific area that corresponds with a previous incentive program. The data gathered, if analyzed properly, would indicate that this marketing campaign succeeded and that another similar promotion will very likely increase business elsewhere.
Another way in which data analytics can help a restoration contractor make better decisions concerns potential risks and areas in which the business can improve. Data reporting helps a company make the decisions most likely to result in ideal outcomes. To continue with the above example, a report might provide insight that the best time to run a marketing campaign involving incentives is earlier in summer, with data showing it loses effectiveness as the weeks go on. Data might look at the number of contracts signed during certain periods in specific areas, allowing contractors to forecast the best time of year to run an incentivized marketing campaign. This allows for more efficient use of marketing resources.
Finances are another area in which data analytics can help contractors with a restoration. Software may use data to provide accurate reports on which types of incentive programs work best in certain areas. For example, one area might experience an uptick in sales when tickets to a local professional sports team are offered, while another area might instead experience fewer sales from this incentive. In this case, data analytics allows restoration contractors to do an in-depth cost-benefit analysis that can accurately predict whether a marketing campaign will succeed.
However, statistical data can be used for far more than measuring a marketing campaign’s success. Insights can be used to make reports using data from any area within a restoration business that helps streamline operations. Analytics can be used to measure fuel consumption over time so that a contractor can see whether a project that’s further away would be worth taking on. It can be used to evaluate whether many smaller jobs or a few big jobs result in greater profits for a company. For whatever question a contractor needs to make, restoration software with analytics can help contractors make good, data-informed decisions.
Data-Centric Features to Look for in Restoration Software
Regardless of whether a restoration contractor is using a software platform or not, they’re still probably evaluating data in some way. Restoration software just helps companies use this data much more effectively. It can help contractors write accurate estimates and manage projects more efficiently while also helping evaluate maintenance needs. This is especially true for project managers or other stakeholders who will use reports made using a company’s data.
Features to look for in restoration software include:
- Accessibility: Any decent restoration software will be user-friendly and not require too much study while also designed for doing everyday tasks like invoicing quickly and easily.
- Artificial intelligence (AI): AI technology in restoration software helps automate various business processes, improving productivity and enabling predictive reporting models that can help restoration companies navigate specific trends affecting their business.
- Cloud-based processes: While cloud-based restoration software helps protect a company’s data, it also enables contractors to manage more projects by helping to administer aspects of their business – such as communications and scheduling – from anywhere.
- Integration: Many restoration software platforms depend on third-party tools that are integrated into them to provide more capabilities, which then help contractors better utilize company data or otherwise create more efficient processes.
- Interface: As the point where a user meets machine, an interface should be simple to use while also enabling the delivery of complex results from data inputs.
- Updates: Related to scalability, updating restoration software helps keep a business future-proofed, as new updates or patches can add capabilities or fix bugs seamlessly.
Yet, it’s also important to consider the human factor. Like any tool, employees need training on restoration software in order to use it most effectively, which also includes ensuring they understand how to use the features that produce these data reports. That’s why it’s always a good idea to use a reputable restoration software platform with plenty of support.
Best Practices for Working With Data
It’s vital to understand the characteristics of good data, however. This adage is prescient with any information technology, including data analytics: “Garbage in, garbage out.” What this means when it comes to analytics is that bad data will result in poor insights. For this reason, it’s imperative that any stakeholders working with analytics within a restoration software platform understand best practices for working with this data.
This includes looking at the following aspects of what makes good data:
- Accurate: A quality that’s absolutely crucial, data accuracy affects every other attribute of a dataset. Inaccurate data will almost always result in inaccurate insights. For example, a roof repair on a house with under two thousand square feet of roof but in which ten thousand square feet of roofing materials were used is almost certainly inaccurate.
- Holistic: Data should also be as comprehensive as possible, or else it won’t be able to offer a complete insight. For example, restoration work on a house hit by a tornado that didn’t include drywall, nails, or other supplies that were used on the project wouldn’t be complete.
- Relevant: While looking at other characteristics of quality data, its relevance is important as well. A strong case should be made on whether to include certain data when generating a certain insight, as these evaluations will be less valuable. For example, when looking at profits earned from jobs related to floods, work done on a structure damaged by an earthquake shouldn’t be included.
- Reliable: Data shouldn’t contradict other data, or it will make any insight gleaned from it unreliable. For example, inputting two estimates for the same project with different prices quoted will skew the data being used, making it unlikely the data can be trusted.
- Timeous: Ensuring that data is up-to-date is incredibly important, too, as involving historical data in some cases may render an insight useless. This might lead to bad decision-making, which in turn may cost time and money and potentially damage a company’s reputation. For example, evaluating how well restoration software has improved business shouldn’t include jobs done before employing the platform unless used for comparison.
The quality of data gathered ensures that contractors get the most out of the information they’ve gathered. When data is substandard, it won’t generate correct insights, so it’s effectively worthless. Any restoration software provider should ensure that stakeholders within a company who are using their platform know what accurate, holistic, relevant, reliable, and timely data looks like.
Importance of Data-Driven Decisions
In an industry where smaller businesses make up the majority of players, the restoration sector can benefit more from technology than other industries where only a few companies dominate. So, when one contractor in an area decides to invest in restoration software, they’ve got a real advantage over their competitors. With all other things being equal, when data is used to drive a restoration company’s decision-making, that business will tend to do better than those who don’t embrace such technology.
Data-driven decisions are easier to make when all the necessary information is tied into a report. Restoration software that includes a data analysis tool will naturally give the restoration contractor that uses it an advantage. Yet it’s also important when looking into the best restoration software platform for your business that sufficient research is done on what features best suit its needs. It’s imperative that those who will be putting together data reports and working with the restoration software also know how to use it.
Albi is a restoration software platform for companies whose main business is restoration. Software for restoration contractors should also understand the intricacies of the industry. This is where Albi separates itself from many other restoration software programs. Albi is restoration software made by people who’ve not only worked but also succeeded in the restoration industry. To learn more about Albi’s capabilities and what we can do to help grow your restoration business, contact us to book a demo.