Profit Parasite #2: Lack of Systems Training

Written by

Malachi Bazar

Published on


Technology doesn’t always act as it should. Often, issues with technology result in immediate headaches requiring quick resolutions. Think of dashboards failing to display the correct information, resulting in decreased efficiency. 

However, there are times when mishaps and failures go unnoticed, resulting in profit and time loss. In our real-life example for profit parasite #2, the business failed to notice ambiguities in its employee time-tracking tool. As a result, they were left scrambling to explain why some employees had been under (and over) paid for their time. 

For continued privacy, let’s call today’s business Cosmic Confluence Ltd (no ChatGPT this time, just simple, random word choice to make up a business). As labor is the biggest cost factor for most companies, incorrectly paying employees can be a considerable profit drain, and that is exactly where Cosmic Confluence Ltd (CCL) ended up. Additionally, they had to address concerns from employees reporting incorrect and inconsistent pay and had to rebuild trust within those relationships. 

Before they knew the exact cause, CCL partnered with Resplendent to work through the symptoms they were experiencing. By visualizing their operational and payroll data, they identified the issue at hand: a lack of training in company systems. And while it’s a bit ironic that the issue actually had nothing to do with data, this is the power of business intelligence data visualization in action.

Similar to physical injuries (e.g. a pulled muscle or broken bone), technology issues (e.g. payroll inconsistencies, missed SLA response times) can present themselves in many ways but usually point to a greater issue—in this case, a lack of proper training on how to use company equipment or technology.

Symptoms of the Parasite 

Technology fails, and humans make mistakes every day. Proper training on using tools is the best way to help limit mistakes and identify when technology isn’t doing what it needs to. Simply put, technology only does what it’s told, even if that command is wrong. 

While some technology is relatively intuitive to use, that doesn’t mean everyone knows how to use it properly. The best way to minimize errors is to ensure proper training over the entire system.

Let’s keep with the physical injury reference to take this further. Most people know that when lifting something heavy (whether for exercise or out of necessity), you lift with your legs, not your back. Those who aren’t properly trained risk serious injury to their back, and those with minimal training might only be able to lift something relatively heavy. While those who are professionally trained can lift three or four times their bodyweight. 

Each person still faces injury during the lifting process, but the more trained someone is, the less likely they are to be the cause. AND the more likely they can identify issues with the equipment they are lifting if something does fail. 

So, how does that relate to our example of payroll issues and identifying a profit parasite? 

Knowing the symptoms of an issue (e.g., lower back pain or payroll ambiguity) can lead you back to the original issue – improper training. 

Here are a few of the symptoms CCL faced and how your business might experience something similar.

  • Unexpected Payroll Fluctuations
    • For CCL: inconsistent costs for labor, either abnormally high or low with no clear explanation.
    • How this could be you: unexpected results and changes in finances or vital operational data points for your company. 
  • Employee Complaints:
    • For CCL: employees expressing concerns about discrepancies in their paychecks – either not receiving expected amounts for worked hours or receiving more than expected.
    • How this could be you: employees voicing concerns surrounding operations, inefficiencies, and discrepancies. 
  • Budget Deviations:
    • For CCL: difficulty aligning labor budgets with actual spending. Projects or departments exceeding budgeted labor costs without understanding the root cause.
    • How this could be you: unexpected costs or abnormal cost deviations in typically consistent areas. 
  • Decreased Morale:
    • For CCL: potential for mistrust between employees and management due to payroll issues, leading to lowered motivation.
    • How this could be you: employees feeling unheard or concerned with results.
  • Compliance Risks:
    • This presents less as a symptom and more as a result of other symptoms. 
    • For CCL: inaccuracies in time tracking may pose legal complications and risks related to overtime or wage law compliance.
    • How this could be you: no longer meeting industry compliances or compliances with partner companies. 

Identifying and Resolving the Parasite

Knowing what symptoms could exist is vital in ensuring that the profit parasite is eliminated, but it’s not the whole picture. Understanding the process for identifying and removing the parasite from your business will ultimately drive it forward and free it from profit loss. 

Here’s how we helped CCL illuminate its processes, bring the profit parasite to the forefront, and set up preventative measures to keep the issue from repeating itself. 

Pinpoint the ambiguities

For CCL: We built dashboards that visualized hours worked versus pay received, aggregated by employee, project, or task type. Creating these visualizations helped identify patterns (e.g., specific tasks causing confusion) or outliers (employees frequently experiencing discrepancies).

What this means for you: Customizable dashboards can help illuminate the efficiency and effectiveness of your processes. With visual applications, patterns and mistakes become easier to identify.

Track down the source of errors

For CCL: We helped them create dashboards that broke down time-tracking entries by category, project, and task. These dashboards visualized the data to find patterns where errors were more prevalent, such as:

  • overtime entries 
  • particular project types 
  • specific time entry methods (such as manual vs. automated)

What this means for you: Custom dashboards and reports can deliver specific information to target specific areas of your business, leading to exposed inefficiencies and discrepancies. 

Measure impact

For CCL: We created dashboards to show the amount of overpayment or underpayment compared to budgeted labor costs to help quantify the financial impact. Additionally, the dashboards visualized this trend over time and used the data to communicate the issue’s severity and impact on profitability.

What this means for you: A customizable dashboard can measure the impact on areas of your business that were previously going unmeasured. This helps lower costs and eliminate inefficiencies. 

Proactive correction

For CCL: We designed dashboards specifically focused on flagging any new potential instances of incorrect time entry, enabling fast resolution. The dashboards used data to proactively identify projects or tasks that tend to be hotspots for time-tracking issues and implement preemptive clarification or training.

What this means for you: Customizable dashboards can help locate issues, monitor them proactively, and prevent them.

Transparency and trust 

For CCL: Relevant dashboards were shared with employees to empower them to spot and correct their tracking errors. This demonstrated a dedication to addressing payroll concerns and rebuilding trust with the workforce.

What this means for you: Creating custom dashboards provides ultimate transparency to your employees, helping them trust the data they see. With visual processes, employees are able to have ownership over every step and report any issues they find. 

Moving Forward

Implementing these tailored solutions did more than rectify the payroll discrepancies; it also transformed the time-tracking process into a robust tool for ongoing compliance and efficiency. CCL is now better equipped to accurately manage labor costs, uphold compliance with wage laws, and foster a more trusting and motivated workforce.At Resplendent Data, our goal is to turn your data into actionable insights that address immediate issues and prevent future ones, ensuring that your business operates at peak profitability and efficiency. If you’re ready to see how magical data can be, schedule a demo with us today and take the first step towards eradicating profit parasites from your business.