Information management - driving better business decisions
Recent times have seen a sharp rise in business intelligence and analytics and the power of data has come to the fore. However, merely factoring intelligence and analytics into your strategy is not enough. How do you extract the data and learn from it, and more importantly how do you use that information to drive better business decisions?
Marco Rapetti, Director of Commercial Sales for Europe at Tableau Software, said: “In today’s world, the ability to collect, interpret and use data is becoming increasingly important to people in all industries and roles of the business. In fact, it’s becoming so important that it can’t be left, in the same way it was 20 years ago, to a single data analyst or IT team crunching numbers and delving into databases.
“Today, data analytics has grown up and become infinitely more accessible. With the emergence of new tools, visualising data in a real time dashboard setting gives vastly improved data digestibility for the mind. Anyone with the right analytical skills can be a data scientist. However, that’s not to say that those at the top shouldn’t have a vested interest in interpreting data.
“It’s important that business decision makers, be it the MD, CIO or CEO are able to control the data, manipulate it and make decisions using it. By taking the responsibility for managing the data flow, decision makers can empower the new wave of ‘data enthusiasts’ – those who recognise the importance of data but might not have the education or experience of a traditional analyst.”
For many SMEs and organisations dealing with information management for the first time – quick wins and having the right framework are imperative to the process. David Parcell, Verint Corporate Officer and Managing Director, Verint, comments: “Quick-wins can certainly jumpstart your enterprise information management strategy. Having the right framework in place to capitalise on the pool of information available to the business is a must, but the question for management is often simply where to start – ie. where are the quick wins to be found? With technology now available to consolidate and analyse large and disparate datasets, as an example the contact centre can become the organisation’s front line in the fight to turn data into actionable insight.”
“Between call recordings, customer emails, chat, agents’ notes and customers’ social media input - the information available in the contact centre is potentially invaluable. When captured and analysed collectively, this data can tell companies exactly what their customers think and how they really behave.
“This analysis can also inform processes of continuous improvement and incremental change that can have a real impact on a company’s bottom line. For example, O2 Ireland executives looking to drive opt-ins to a particular mobile top up plan used analysis of unstructured customer contact information (focussing on references to the plan) to show that customers were actually very keen to take up the deal on offer, but were simply forgetting to top up their balance by the required deadline.
“A regular SMS reminder was sent out to all customers, and this resulted in a significant growth in revenues. This is a very simple illustration of how the analysis of unstructured customer contact information can provide a clear boost to the business - and an unintimidating introduction to big data opportunities.”
One of the main stumbling blocks people experience with information management is defining precisely what information they want to extract from the data and having the right tools to do so. It is all too easy to be data rich and information poor especially when dealing with multichannel. A tiered approach needs to be embedded with the use of analytics and an emphasis on getting the basics right.
Richard Eynon, senior manager, Kurt Salmon, agrees: “Information is hitting consumer companies at a faster rate than ever and in a variety of forms, from transactional data to user-generated content. This information then needs to be integrated so that businesses have a complete and well-rounded picture about the behaviours and preferences of their target customers, and how they should respond from both a marketing and operational standpoint.
“Given that information is becoming more voluminous, more varied, and more complex, companies that want to be best in class at exploiting it will need to invest in people and tools, such as advanced data analytics, web analytics, and social analytics, to make sense of it all. Inevitably, different companies will have different circumstances in terms of how much they are willing and able to invest. However, it is imperative that if a company is to use information well in the multichannel paradigm it must distinguish between what information is valuable and relevant and what isn’t. This means knowing what aspects of the business it is going to measure, how it will measure them, and how that information will be used to steer business activity.”
In the future, the structure of information management will evolve in an organisation along with its outsourcing practices. Subhash Gaitonde, Programme Director from MindTree’s Data & Analytics Solutions (DAS) practice, believes that “going forward business units will control major portion of the Intelligence and analytics budgets and hence decision/business value offerings approaches will become necessary and decision making will be more business-centric rather than tool-centric.”