Archive | April 2013

CEOs—needing to know more but reading less

The pressure on CEOs and business owners these days is immense. There are so many competing priorities and people constantly demanding their attention and time.

This makes business management one of the most time-poor professions.

Despite these pressures on their time, it’s still vital that business people keep up with what’s going on in their business and industry. They need a lot of information quickly. But how best to deliver this information to them?

In a recent survey of more than 350 CEOs, ceo.com set out to establish how CEOs consume information. One key finding was something that I also hear repeatedly from business owners regardless of media type—information must be bite-sized, relevant and immediate.

Additionally, 70% indicated that they seldom read textual content online in full; instead, they scan this content for main points just to keep on top of things. (I hope they’re reading this!)

The survey also found that CEOs are becoming increasingly ‘information agnostic’. This means they care less and less about what format their information takes as long as it’s immediate and consumable.

I’m fascinated by findings like these because they accurately reflect my own experience as a CEO. They also reassure me that we were on the right track when we created Bizeo. What could be more immediate and consumable than a single indicator that lets business owners know that everything in their business is ok?

In some ways, it’s a ridiculously simple concept and yet, amazingly, noone has done it before! Noone has used a single indicator across dozens of systems to relay that one simple message.

It’s official. CEOs don’t want reports, dashboards, phone calls or information they have to chase—just time-saving reassurance.

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Google Analytics—without the overload

Why Google Analytics is great

If you’re a keen reader of my blog posts, you’ll know how much I love to measure things. So it’s probably not surprising that I think Google Analytics is an amazing tool.

Google Analytics tells you everything you want to know about your website:

  • where visitors come from
  • how long they spend on your site
  • what they click on
  • where they go to
  • and much more.

As I said, it’s an amazing tool—in trained hands. The problem is that it’s also pretty typical of the business dashboards that most business owners encounter.

How business owners (don’t) use Google Analytics

When I ask business owners about Google Analytics, I find that most have heard about it. In fact, most are pretty sure they’re using it. However, none are actually looking at the statistics themselves.

Why? Because it’s just too hard.

While they’re interested in how their websites and marketing investments are going, Google Analytics provides too many options. They also need to log in each time and, annoyingly, Google frequently changes the interface so things are never where they were last time they saw it.

A screen shot of the Google Analytics dashboard

Google Analytics dashboard

Yet this tool can provide a wealth of critical detail that most business owners would like to know, such as:

  • How many people visit our site?
  • Are visitor numbers increasing or decreasing?
  • Are people spending more or less time on our website?
  • How much are we spending on Google advertising?
  • Is our web strategy producing results?

These questions show that business owners typically don’t want to do detailed analysis—they have specialists for that! Instead, they want to keep an eye on general trends and the primary KPIs to answer the basic questions: Is what we’re doing effective or not?  Are we spending too much or too little?

They want this information without having to deal with the complexity of the Google Analytics dashboard.

This is one of the great problems that Bizeo solves.

Where Bizeo comes in

First of all, Bizeo can bypass the Google Analytics interface to deliver these KPIs inside Bizeo!

No need to remember the Google login details, no ever-changing interface and no complex menus to navigate. Just simple business KPIs like all the others that Bizeo manages—and alerts, of course, just in case your KPIs go out of range.

Graph of Bizeo showing information simply.

You can also combine these stats with a whole range of other important things you want to watch.

Of course, monitoring whether your website is up or down is important, as is your Alexa Site Ranking, which tells you how popular your site is measured against all other websites on the internet. The specific ranking is less important than the trend.

Bizeo has several KPI packages for Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Alexa ranking, uptime monitoring and much more. Each of these can be put in place at no extra charge and delivers this key information directly to you.

There’s no doubt that Google Analysis is a great tool when it’s in trained hands. But the rest of us can let Bizeo can do all the work and deliver the results. It takes the stress out of managing (and measuring!) your business.

Live data sources at a glance

As you continue to explore the possibilities of Bizeo, you’ll realise that those possibilities really are endless. (That’s one reason I created this blog – to ensure that you’re aware of everything that your fabulous new tool is capable of!)

One feature you should definitely explore is how Bizeo can connect to various live data sources, such as video camera feeds, websites, weather maps and dashboard systems.

What can you see?

Many video camera systems and webcams available on the internet can be set up to have their own URL as well.

For example, with my partner working at the University of Chicago, I can access the university’s webcams to see for myself how much snow is on the ground. http://r-cam.uchicago.edu/view/index.shtml

Chicago snow

If you have security cameras set up around your organisation, you can access those through Bizeo as well:

Office camera

You can link stock prices to the Yahoo finance page – corresponding with that stock.  You can also link to many dashboards and CRM systems that are available online.

How to do it

You can link to all your favourite live data sources simply by using the ‘Link’ option when you add or edit a task in Bizeo.

Bizeo live data source link

You can add any URL to this field. (A URL is usually a link to a website, or a path to a web service or system.)

For example, to see the current weather maps, you can type in the link to the Bureau of Meteorology URL, e.g. http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDR663.loop.shtml. This link gives you the Brisbane weather radar feed.

If your organisation is heavily dependent on weather, this is one you should definitely have in your collection.

Bureau of Meteorology weather radar of Brisbane

Once you start thinking about it, you’ll probably come up with plenty of live data sources you need or would like at your fingertips – for business and for fun. (Because I don’t really need to know how much snow has fallen in Chicago, but I love that I can check it out!)

Use your imagination and let us know if you come up with something new or particularly useful. Better still, post it on our Facebook page so everyone can find out about it.

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