Dickeson--Are You Ready for eB2B?
The other day I asked the CEO of a print software company why he didn't promote customer use of pivot tables for the wonderful data his system collects. He responded, "We make sure they know the database is in an Access format and that it is open to them. About one in 25 to 30 customers ever calls to ask more, and only one asked us for our formulas/field names/tables so he could do more in-depth functions."
That's one out of his base of approximately 500 users! And we're talking real production data from this system, not just info about chargeable hours. My strong suspicion, from talking to others, is that his experience is typical of other computer data services, accounting and otherwise.
We're just not ready for cyberspace. We don't even use what we already have. Trouble is that the monthly mumbo-jumbo of general ledger and cost accounting systems has made us cynics. We now have "left field so fouled up no one can play it," as Casey Stengel said. It's turned us away from using statistical data to make informed decisions.
Perhaps the cyber-brokers can provide a real value-added service for printer clients if their presence and activity forces us to concentrate on the basic realities of liquidity and productivity in our print management. That could well be a result. Let's put aside our security blankets and forget chargeable hours for the moment. Look at liquidity first.
By liquidity, we mean the rate of speed at which assets convert to cash in the bank. Cash itself, inventories and receivables are the centers of liquidity. Give us good, weekly reports for each of the three items and we can get ready for B2B e-commerce. Hey, Mr. NooshCafe or whatever, show us how to watch the cash flow. Give us a form and teach us how to use it for decisions. We can get lean and mean in a hurry.