This is critical to avoiding the problems of the past. However, there are limits to its ability to help optimise decisions in the present. A powerful recent focus has been on getting information and analysis to front line staff, especially those who deal with customers in real time. Why? Because optimising these interactions has the potential to make a real impact to the bottom line.
The evolution of BI tools reflects this trend, delivering information to those able to use it in the right time frame. What that should be is a matter of intense debate with proponents of ever-quicker data and information availability being accommodated by new technologies and techniques. These include developments allowing in-memory processing of latest available data enabling near instantaneous “what if ?” analysis.
Decreasing processing and storage costs can deliver the means to support sophisticated algorithms making the type of analysis which can be tackled, on the fly, significantly greater today than it has ever been.
Talking about advances in technology capability is commonplace, but understanding how they can benefit a business is where value is created by their use. What if, based on your data, you could start to predict customer behaviour? This is a powerful approach already being adopted in both the financial services sector for managing risk and telecommunications for controlling and limiting customer attrition.
Examples of matching this approach with the right technology include helping mobile operators make optimal offers to their customers based on behaviour patterns which indicate likelihood to churn. Financial services are another example, where active and pre-emptive steps to manage a customer whose behaviour suggests they could be experiencing stress may be taken. This powerful combination of a changed approach to using business data in a more predictive – rather than reactive – way, supported by an evolving technology capability, means organisations can turn their focus to the road ahead.
Richard Fayers, Senior manager, Business intelligence, Deloitte