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How data and analytics extends a customer’s ERP solution

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Using Big Data and Analytics

This episode of the Sage Thought Leadership Podcast features Trey Johnson. Johnson is the chief evangelist and America’s business leader for ZAP. ZAP is delivering additional data and analytics for the Sage 100, Sage 300, and Sage X3 customer base. ERP has never been a bigger passion for Trey. When not talking about data and analytics, you can often find him turning a wrench on a classic Porsche automobile restoration.

Below is an edited version of our conversation.

Why do you do what you do?

Trey Johnson: I discovered relatively early on in my career my passion for data and my desire to explore information. To turn that information into insights. That continued into the analytic spectrum as well.

How does data and analytics extend a customers’ ERP system?

Trey Johnson: It’s very interesting because oftentimes organizations are looking at maybe reports simplistically. They might be looking at certain nuances that affect one part of the organization, like finance or supply chain. But more so than not, they don’t quite have the capability to look analytically- meaning a higher-level view that is looking at it more from a dashboard’s perspective around some key indicators. And beyond that, the data that feeds the analytics that they look at.

So, most people think that a data and analytics product is solely focused on the ERP data. However, the better products or the best opportunity to provide the answer is oftentimes other complimentary data. That might be CRM based data or other data applications that exist within that organization.

How does data and analytics potentially help customers do a better job at getting insights for the future?

Trey Johnson: There’s definitely a foundation there that you need some semblance of historical data to be able to kind of project or see what is potentially going to happen. In the day and age that we’re in right now, there’s such rapid shifts in the way things happen. From a market perspective, the business customers that we serve oftentimes don’t have that ability to feed in on some data that is current along with the historical patterns. And certainly, our experience has been that the more of those types of data that you can feed in to forecast the outcome, the better of a position that you’re in.

What did a data and analytics tool do to help organizations make a faster adjustment to COVID-19?

Trey Johnson: We were very fortunate that we instituted a program with Sage called Do Good with Data. We were very proud of what we achieved over the COVID-19 timeframe, working with organizations. But those customers that were already invested around data and analytics is either a product or is as a paradigm within their business. They were in a better position to respond to the scenarios where there was significant disruption in the supply chain, and where they could understand what vendor performance looks like now versus what it was historically. So, there’s just better insights into the relationships we have with our customers, and we have several examples in that regard.

Could you give us an example of those kind of customer relationships?

Trey Johnson: A perfect example is when organization’s take on data and analytics, and really embrace more than just the ERP data, but other external sources of data that allows them to educate a different audience in their organization. As an example, a sales team that’s out interacting with customers is making sales to a customer they think is great, because they’re continuously buying. However, those folks behind the delivery side of things, both in finance and operations, they know that customer is slow to pay the bills. Maybe he has an inordinate number of returns, or just simply is just not the best of customers to have a relationship with.

What’s great is you can take those salient data points from the ERP side and promote those so that they’re very visible to the salesperson. So, the salesperson has a bit of a relationship owner with that customer and can really start to change the way they work with the organization from the sale onward.

Who is your hero and why?

Trey Johnson: I’ve been asked this a few times in my life and it’s been consistently the same person. It’s very much my father. Unfortunately, he passed away last year. He has instilled a lot of hard work, particularly in the face of adversity. He was always a very measured person in terms of taking on the information first before he reacted, which is just kind of a wonderful characteristic, whether you’re talking about a person or talking about an organization. The heroic aspects are he faced just an ordinate amount of adversity in his life. He was a military veteran, and, frankly, was somebody I could look up to in every way.

Lastly, how can somebody contact you?

Trey Johnson: If folks want to reach me personally, the best email address is through ZAP Data. That’s [email protected] If folks want to learn a little bit more about ZAP Data or Sage data and analytics, particularly from a sales perspective, I would highly encourage them to reach out to their Sage business partner.

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