Business Intelligence and Analytics
by Felicity Bamber, sourcingfocus.com
In recent years the importance of streamlining businesses, uncovering hidden revenue and growing a company has become ever more apparent. The ways in which businesses tackle these issues has therefore evolved and adapted to what is needed from the data available; which could crudely be summarised as ‘minimum input, maximum output’.
EXISTING BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE AND ANALYTICS
Business intelligence and analytics play a huge role today in many business, be it retail, corporate or even the NHS. An infinite amount is available, yet remains wholly redundant until sense can be made of it and information extracted using business intelligence and analytics. As David Parcell of Verint highlights: “with technology now available to consolidate and analyse large disparate datasets, the contact centre can become the organisation’s front line in the fight to turn data into actionable insight.”
Gary Angel, President of Semphonic, points out that the issue experienced by many using early business intelligence and analytics that use only a small set of key metrics (such as Site Conversion Rate, Total Visits Trend etc.) is that the reports deliver neither understanding nor actionability. The data set of the report spans the entire site and is essentially useful for looking at the population of the site at any given time, as opposed to specific parts of the site and the reasons behind how long the visitor stays, or why they leave, therefore offering very little in terms of how organisations can maximise their output.
WHY BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE AND ANALYTICS?
Convergys, a Cincinnati based organisation dealing with smart revenue solutions, use analytics extensively for customer solutions. John Georgesen, Senior Director of Analytics, Convergys Corporation highlights the need for analytics: “In today’s world of customer demands, companies are facing increasing pressure to enable more holistic yet simplified interaction channels; in this environment, business analytics really takes centre stage. By integrating and analysing all data available, businesses are better able to provide services that customer’s want, in the way they want them.”
Business intelligence and analytics play a particularly useful role for retail companies, as the well-known saying goes ‘the customer always knows best’. Information derived from data can give organisations a better understanding of how they are perceived by the end customer as well as what to do to improve performance.
Among the many retail companies already profiting from the correct use of business intelligence and analytics is JD Williams, a £719 million internet and catalogue home shopping company. In recent years they have seen internet sales grow to 46% of annual turnover, thus creating new and exciting opportunities to transform the customer experience. Neil McGowan, CIO of JD Williams, explains, “The online channel offers the chance to capture not only what the customer has purchased online, but what they have looked at, which products they have put in the basket and then failed to purchase, or items they have searched for that are out of stock. With this level of insight, JD Williams can transform the relevance of customer offer to transform the buying experience.”
JD Williams found the solution for capturing online customer level insight in 2009 with Celebrus Technologies. The software could capture clickstream information and incorporate that data within the Teradata TCRM system creating a customer data hub to support ongoing marketing campaigns. Since the pilot roll out of Celebrus Technologies, JD Williams has rolled it out across all of its online brands.
Business intelligence and analytics have also found their place throughout many trusts and projects within the NHS. Scarborough Acute NHS Trust required a tool to process data from different systems into far more manageable information for its clinicians, managers and consultants to make reports to aid day-to-day decision making, improve clinical care and ultimately lower mortality rates. They already had an established relationship with Trustmarque, who were approached to help them find solution. The answer came in Qlikview. They proved the perfect solution for the Scarborough Acute NHS Trust due to the flexible pricing options according to the budget available, the customisable demo of the software, the induction and training courses provided to ensure best practice, and the adaptability of the software with its capability to create multiple bespoke dashboards.
FUTURE OF BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE AND ANALYTICS
The need for business intelligence and analytics is evident, however, the bar is constantly being raised and the markets and spaces are ever-changing. How will business intelligence and analytics remain relevant?
Stewart Hill, Director of Product Marketing ClickSoftware predicts that business intelligence is heading towards real-time, and not just in the contact centre or dispatch centre. The use of tablet PCs and smartphones is making real-time dashboards available out in the field –thus driving immediate efficiency improvements as the data can be reacted to there and then.
Subhash Gaitonde, Programme Director from MindTree’s Data & Analytics Solutions (DAS) practice, sees the next generation of business intelligence and analytics as being as real-time as possible and as accessible as possible via mobile, whilst drawing in the new-generation channels like social media and exploring their relevance to business and spheres of influences, and incorporating new data types (such as geo-spatial, machine data, location data, RFIDs, sentiment, social, streaming etc).
With the rise of ‘big data’ organisations are striving to become far more dynamic, innovative and profitable. The marriage of big data to business intelligence and analytics will lead to a marked change in corporate culture and produce numerous next generation models to help businesses harness the power hiding within their data.