As business managers and owners are we truly aware of our key business measures and their messages? Or do we have something to learn from the animal world…?

I’ve just finished reading Michael Morpurgo’s book “Born to Run” to my young son – it’s about a boy who is saved from the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami by the elephant he is riding along the beach. He’s saved because the elephant senses danger and takes the decision to run like mad for the higher ground a vital few minutes earlier than any human at least had figured out what was happening. The book goes on to document how the boy and the elephant develop a close-mutual relationship and to look at the wider context of how humans are impacting the natural world.  But the story-point that stuck with me was the elephant’s ability to know before anyone else to get the hell out of there.

If you go looking, there’s lots of scientific study that tries to figure out if animals have “super-powers” and can sense impending natural disasters before humans and to act upon these senses. Studies quote witnesses who have seen anxiety and distress-behaviour in dogs and other domestic animals in advance of earthquakes occurring, for example. Scientists analyse and debate the data that (for the papers that I have managed to read) indicates animals are simply reacting to a sense of fear induced by the fact that they hear or feel small changes in the environment.

So far, so sensible in my definitely non-scientific opinion! It seems entirely valid to me that animals are connected to the natural world’s ‘data’ in a way that us cerebral human beings are, generally speaking, just not anymore.  I’d posit that’s what gives the animals the advantage over us in the natural disaster stakes. They feel the environmental change, they sense it heading towards them, they interpret the relatively simple variables and decide to go seek safety (whatever that is defined as for them).

See how this innate understanding of natural “data” enables their decisions and gives them advantage?

So I figure that they’re running a really good CRM system…

It’s obvious isn’t it?

I’m only half joking! I’m not suggesting that Fido-the-Dog and Nelly-the-Elephant are sat in front of a high-end, highly extensible fully integrated customer relationship system clicking away to get a granular slice & dice of management information reportage on sales pipeline effectiveness for the last financial quarter (but it’s a slightly amusing image isn’t it? Just me? Fair enough.)

C’mon! We couldn’t not use a picture of a dog using a laptop!

My point is that back in the intellectual, so often thought of as “rational” world of business it simply is good commercial logic to have excellent senses and figure out the next move before it happens.

That’s what all the science and investment around ‘big-data’ is about. That’s what “information is power” statements are talking about.  That’s what systems that give heartbeat information updates are trying to achieve.  Data is now intrinsically woven into every section of business in the 21st century and the key elements of business such as product manufacture and correct deployment of human capital – in fact much of our day to day economic activity – relies heavily upon electronically held information.

Surely you have sympathy with the idea that the more one is able to get quick, pointed decisions out of the multitude of enriched and complex data-assaults that hits you, the more evolutionary advantage you get. Which in a business context means that your company is going to be better able to react in advance of a prospect’s purchasing processes. It means that you’re going to be quick to resolve an existing client’s business issues – you may even get clever enough to inform your clients of their own impending issues/actions heading their way before even they spot them!

It’s a simple idea. One that big-business is acting upon now.

I was chatting to an old friend recently who works in the pharmaceutical industry. He mentioned in passing some initiatives within his industry that will see the big pharmaceuticals working with internet search engine data to watch the patterns of keyword search volumes. The pharmaceutical companies are interested to see if there is a ‘front-wave’ of particular keyword search volumes that can predict demand for particular drugs – and that perhaps may indicate nascent pandemics. For example, data patterns could show keywords relating to “flu” are being searched for within a specific geography that then later goes onto to experience a contagion outbreak. No doubt this linkage will assist the pharmaceuticals with their operational supply and inform government spending on pharmaceutical drugs so that it can be “just in time”, meaning that all involved organisations reduce wastage, improve effectiveness and boost profitability (oh, whilst also helping contain a large threat to public health!).

Again; it’s a simple idea – but one that requires complex and sophisticated toolsets.

Operating a system that holds your information, organises it and prompts you means that you are going be a more effective and discerning business manager. You will see how to enhance your productivity, reduce waste and increase your quality.  That makes you the elephant standing on top of the metaphorical mountain watching the sea-water wash away your competitors. How does it feel to have felt the vibrations first and to have reacted in advance of danger appearing?  It feels good yes?

Oh and, if you’ve been nodding in agreement but thinking “where can I get one of these systems then?” worry not! It seems you are more connected with your inner-Fido than you thought because your instinct has successfully led you to JunariCRM+.

What a good dog!

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