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Norwegian SaaS success House of Control using cloud analytics in pursuit of double-digit growth

With over 1000 customers in 60 countries House of Control is a fast growing Norwegian software company that has been recognized as a Gaselle 5 years in a row.

Behind smart SaaS solutions lie a well structured sales organisation. Now the company is to accelerate growth by increasing data quality and visibility. The technology they use is Business Analyze, our business analytics platform.

How is business? House of Control CFO Carl Fabian Flaaten presents live SaaS performance metrics.

 

Carl Fabian Flaaten, the CFO, is working daily with data optimisation from all angles – the technology side, people side and business-value side. We asked him why this is important.

“We see data as the driver for activities, not the result,” says Flaaten. Our plan is to pull data from 4 separate sources into one place for analysis, reporting and insight. We are committed to making this happen.”

For the past six months, Flaaten has been defining goals and aligning the data, working alongside sales managers and creating dashboard reports with help from Business Analyze.

“Each database or system, for example our CRM system, gives value for a particular function. By combining data together for analysis, we will get a view of customers and processes across functions. The goal is higher performance resulting in growth.

At our stage of growth we need to closely managed and monitor the portfolio to ensure good investments. The more data we can use and analyze, the better our decisions, says Carl Fabian Flaaten, CFO at House of Control.

What data do you have?

We have four main systems that capture data about sales, orders, contracts, incoming customer requests, invoices, prices, and discounts.  These include SuperOffice CRM for sales and customer support.

In the future, we will be able to draw on every key piece of data, no matter which system it is in, and be able to use it in management meetings.

What have you done so far?

We set clear growth goals at company, team and individual level – also by country. These are measured in monthly recurring revenues (MRR) and annual recurring revenues (ARR).

We measure progress and make progress visible. When you enter our reception area, there are live screens showing MRR targets, what has been achieved and what is in the pipeline weighted by sales stage. Each new sale is listed on the screen with the sales person’s name.

The change is noticeable. Salespeople talk about MRR and how it is going. It’s created a buzz. If there is more green than yellow on the graphs, then we are doing great!

We also changed commission models and reporting to align with goals. Rather than getting a statement, salespeople now have their own earnings dashboards. Some people have commissions based on MRR, while others have activity targets.  When we started to calculate commissions directly from live CRM data, we saw a direct improvement in data quality.

What are next steps?

There is a lot more to do. At our stage of growth we need to closely managed and monitor the portfolio to ensure good investments. The more data we can use and analyze, the better our decisions.”

We will keep our eye on retention rates and use analytics to investigate ways we can prevent churn. We will use Cohort analysis.

We will work to structure data in a way so we can answer important questions about the business. What aspect of sales work well, where should we improve? How do our most successful customers use our product and what does that mean for our product development?

Are you using Business Analyze?

Yes, I am analyzing the portfolio and creating reports.  I haven’t had a tool that offered so much flexibility, so fast.  The big advantage over Excel is that I can twist and turn tables and charts into different perspectives with one step – and underlying data is always updated and ready to use.  I’ve made a few mistakes and had to get help, but basically it is just fun to be able to check different variables and see the business on so many levels.

What has been the most difficult part so far?

There are a lot of details to consider and people involved.  It isn’t that easy for people to understand what it is all about until they see it. My own ideas of what we can achieve have changed and evolved.  Now that we have the first goals and measurements up on screens and everyone can actually see data in action, the rest will get easier.

More information?

Learn more about House of Control

Interested in using data to grow your SaaS or recurring revenue business? Send us a quick email and we’ll get in touch.

 

Categories of business analytics

What are business analytics and why use?

Business analytics and dashboards help people see data in a way that is easier to understand. We use visual representations of numbers so we can quickly sort information and make decisions based on what we learn. Because pictures are processed 60,000 X faster than text, visual analytics can help us learn faster and retain information longer.

 

Components of business analytics

Why use?

As business people, we use analytics to increase our understanding of the world around us:

  • to help us understand processes and do them more effectively
  • to help us foresee and influence outcomes
  • to help us see where there is a problem or an opportunity – that we don’t want to miss

In organizations, managers and leaders have traditionally been the driving force behind analytics. Analytics are used to help improve performance and achieve goals: whether those are higher revenues, increased productivity, greater cost-effectiveness, or better customer experiences.

According to research carried out by MIT and IBM, top-performing companies are twice as likely to apply business analytics to activities. Organizations need to know what is happening now, what is likely to happen next and what actions should be taken to get the optimal results. Salesforce reports that “high-performing sales teams are 3.5 X more likely than underperforming teams to use sales analytics. Across teams at all levels, we’ll see a 58% increase in sales analytics use from 2015 to 2016.”

If you are considering analytics, you probably have a good idea what you want to achieve. That is good! The more you know about the kinds of questions you want to answer or the metrics you want to track, the happier you will be with the outcomes.

Whatever your specific goals may be, you should expect to receive the following benefits:

Top 5 Benefits

  1. Deeper understanding – Simpler way for everyone in the organization to gain knowledge, understand what is going on and what they can do to influence outcomes.
  2. Faster access to knowledge – Calculations and graphics are based on underlying data. If the underlying data is real-time, it is possible to get real time updates and dynamically see data changing. Otherwise, visual analytics are updated at pre-set intervals such as hourly, or daily.
  3. Greater relevancy – Analytics should be role based so that people across the organization access relevant data and insights based on their specific goals, targets or objectives.
  4. Improved accuracy – When data comes from a single source or is joined into a single source, everyone should have access to the same information. This eliminates misunderstandings about report versions and ensures that decisions are made on current, not outdated, information.
  5. Less manual reporting – It can take time to gather data and keep report updated. In a visual analytics tool, graphics, charts and tables are updated without manual intervention.

A final, small thought in the world of ‘Big data’

Business analytics may sound advanced, but that doesn’t mean it is complicated. There are large communities of users that are experiencing significant benefits without lots of fuss. Small and medium size businesses can measure KPIs, empower workers with better insight, and make processes more transparent.

Good luck and best wishes for success on your analytics journey.

Sources:

  1. http://blog.wyzowl.com/power-visual-communication-infographic
  2. Winter 2011, MIT Sloan Management Review
  3. Salesforce, State of Sales 2015