It’s one of those clichés everyone knows: you ask someone wise for answers and they respond with “you should first learn to ask the right questions.”

This might cryptic and confusing but, believe it or not, there is wisdom in learning to ask the right questions: asking the right questions can lead to the right answers. But if you don’t have the right questions then you could be spinning your wheels endlessly searching for the answers to questions that might not even lead to the most benefit.

Smart Questions…

According to a recent e-book by Targit, asking the right questions can help us get to the heart of the problems that most businesses face every day.

They write “Does your company analyses or reports allow you to ask ‘why did this happen?’ and ‘which area of my business needs most attention, if I want to improve profit?'”. These are precisely the kind of questions we are talking about- smart questions that require further analyses than the kind most companies are asking.

According to Gartner, 80 percent of companies only measure results. Targit responds to this statistic by noticing that “they measure past performance by looking the results in financial statements. But they don’t know what impacted these results, or what is best done to improve them going forward.”

The problem is that results are usually the only metric that most companies are tracking, so it is small wonder that they ask the wrong sorts of questions given the information they have on hand.

In other words the data you are collecting informs the kinds of questions you can find the answers to or even think to ask. Until companies can track more KPIs than one we will continue to find situations where only results are being measured and only a certain type of question is being asked.

Smart Answers.

So how do you begin to ask smarter questions about your business? Take a look at the data you are collecting. According to Targit, “in most cases, data is already being registered and logged through decentralized transactional systems such as the ERP solution or the CRM, marketing, or warehousing solutions.”

If companies were limited in the kinds of questions they could ask by the data they were collecting this should, in the modern business world, no longer be a problem. This is especially true of organizations using Salesforce or other advanced CRM application whose sole purpose is to collect data on every step of the sales pipeline.

But just collecting the data is not enough. Looking at the data, even when it is available, in spreadsheets or graphs is no better than measuring solely results. Spreadsheets and graphs generally only show one KPI at a time, and it is usually a high-level KPI at that.

So now we are left with a new question: if we have enough information to ask the right questions, which data sets would be most valuable?

At VisualCue we approach that problem in a new way: why choose? Why not have every KPI, every detail you need to make an informed decision, in one place? The obvious rebuttal  would be “because of information overload. Every KPI on one screen would be confusing and overwhelming to the point of useless.”


But what if there were a way to see every KPI at once, updated in real-time, in a way that allowed you to answer those important questions that Targit mentioned: “why did this happen?” and “which areas of my business need most attention if I want to improve profits?”

That is precisely what we have developed at VisualCue. Our unique presentation layer uses colors and shapes to bring out the areas of your business that need the most attention, allowing you to find the right answers to the right questions faster than ever before.

Until next time,

The VisualCrew