Business Reliability

What is Business Reliability ?

Cliff.ai  is the world's first Business Reliability Platform. Let's take a look at what that means.


What is reliability?

You might have heard about ‘Reliability’ in the context of Engineering & Data. ‘System Reliability’ and ‘Data Reliability’ are the kind of concepts that have been present in the tech world for quite some time now.

This begs the question - ‘What Is Reliability’?

In the simplest form, it can be explained as ‘The ability to achieve goals without any failure’.

The same is applicable to a concept that remains untouched, but has a greater significance in the success of a business. ‘Business Reliability’.

So, let us dive deeper into the concept of ‘Business Reliability’.

What is Business Reliability?

It can be defined as -

“The ability to carry out different processes without any failure or disruptions throughout the business life cycle is Business Reliability.” Why? Because your environment is always changing.

As a business, you want to run in a reliable manner to achieve certain specific goals. But honestly, it would be a utopian concept to assume that you will not face failure or unexpected situations on the way.

Why? Because your environment is always changing.

‘External’ or ‘Internal’, your business environment always tends to affect the functioning of your business processes. This leads to things not going according to plan.

More so, as your business grows, your processes become more complex. This creates 3 problems:

There's a lot more scope for things to go wrong i.e. not going according to plan
It becomes almost impossible to identify such deviations
Even minor faults can lead to really large repercussions

Now these environmental changes could lead to positive outcomes (higher web traffic, more orders, new business opportunities) or negative outcomes (product malfunction, shipping delays, server outage, loss of revenue).

It's safe to conclude that businesses need to create an active monitoring system that identifies changes, opportunities and problems, guiding you towards corrective action. This way you will truly create a reliable business.

Why is Business Reliability 'Important'?

You might be wondering why having a reliable business process is important.

Let's take a look at the things that get affected because of a disruption or a glitch in your business process.

Trust

Gaining someone's trust is like climbing a mountain - it takes time and cautious effort to attain, but one slip and you fall to the bottom and have to start again.

You need to ensure that your business is considered trustworthy by your customers, employees, investors, advisors, and yourself.

Disruptions, especially if they happen often, will give you a bad reputation. Customers will churn, investors will lose confidence, employees will leave.

Efficiency

Having a reliable business process in place can do wonders to increase your organisational efficiency.

Imagine something goes wrong - revenue numbers are off, application is down, supply chain is delayed etc. And in a matter of seconds you are notified about the issue. able to understand the root cause behind it, and take corrective action asap. You don't have to wait days or weeks for a report that tells you what went wrong. How efficient is that!

Think!! About the time saved by your team in analysing the issue. About the revenue loss that you were able to prevent. About the hundreds or thousands of customers that didn't have to face major disruptions in your service.

Customer Satisfaction

From ‘Awareness’ to ‘Advocacy’, a customer goes through several steps in your Marketing funnel.

There are many factors decide whether your customers will move further down in the funnel or not. They're evaluating your business at every step - your product, support time, pricing, your brand values etc. In fact, even once they have become a customer, there's no guarantee that they won't churn.

If your business processes run smoothly end-to-end, your leads will convert to customers, and will stay with you for long. Also, the chances of you getting good word-of-mouth publicity from your customers will be really high.

How can you achieve Business Reliability ?

Making your business process more reliable can be achieved by implementing the following:

Collection - Tracking the right data
Detection - Monitoring your data to identify unusual behaviour/disruption
Inspection - Understanding the cause of the unexpected behaviour/disruption
Action - Remediating the disruption

Collection

You've got to start by capturing the right data. After all, you can't control what you can't measure!

Figure out all your business processes. Each will have their own unique set of metrics/KPIs. For example, for you marketing department, you would want to track metrics like visits, conversion, ad spend, CAC and hundreds more (these are just broad level metrics.

You would also want to understand the breakdown of each of your metrics by geography, demography, device, source etc.)

Detection

Once you have all your data collection processes setup, you'll want to keep an eye out for unusual behaviour. A sudden spike in API errors, shipments taking too long, conversions plummeting, orders not being captured, customer queries rising sharply etc.

To be able to detect such events effectively, you'll need to understand what the normal behaviour of each of your processes looks like.

Here are some common examples:

Seasonality: maybe web high traffic on weekdays, low on weekends. Or a spike in orders during the holiday season every year. This seasonal pattern could be as large as annual, or as small as mere minutes or seconds

Trends: if things go well, you will have your metrics like revenue, orders and product usage metrics constantly on the rise. This is an example of an upward trend

Change in baseline: If you have recently increased your marketing budget, you will see a bump up in your traffic as well as ad spends. What was usually 1,000 visits a day is now 10,000.

As you can guess, there are many nuances involved here!

Inspection

You've identified some unexpected behaviour in one of your business process. Great! The very next step for you would be to understand what caused it. The underlying reason might be more important than you think!

If you're an e-commerce company, and you notice a dip in orders, it might be because there has been an issue in your online store's payment gateway (PS: we've seen this happen before!).

Just as the previous point, there are countless nuances here. Just saying 'my revenue figures look off' doesn't really help. It might be the case that this glitch is observed only in the revenue figures from the UK, that too from users on an iOS device. You need to get the absolute specific cause if you want to fix it.

Action

You know the glitch. You know why it happened. What're you waiting for...go fix it!

This entire exercise is purely academic unless you take corrective action. Fix that bug, solve that issue, attend to that customer, do whatever it takes to fix it.

One thing to note here is the time to resolution of the issue. There's always a cost involved with every glitch. It could be loss of money, wastage of time and resources, losing the trust of a customer (or many customers). If translated into monetary terms, this loss could very well get into millions of $$$. And the longer it goes unattended, the higher this loss will be.

Why should you focus on achieving Business Reliability?

Competition in every field is very high. As a result, customers have a lot of options to choose from. In such a competitive business environment, businesses need to be on their A-game if they like to retain their customers and get new ones.

That's why today's companies are optimising everything to provide the best to their customers.

With the ability to “find & fix business issues as they are happening” and that too “within seconds, not days”, you can thrive against your competitors while they still use traditional methods, taking days to analyse what is happening with their business functions.

Start Your Journey to achieve Business Reliability!!!