Banking and Financial Services, Insurance, Telecom, Retail, Aviation etc. are some of the industries that thrive on huge volume of customers. Customer interaction channels – ERP/CRM Systems, Social Media and Online Systems etc. – provide ample data to understand various facets of customer behaviour. Vast data is analysed for personalized engagement with individual customers. Each customer interaction provides an opportunity to influence buying behaviour, churn and decisions that affect profitability. One who takes the lead is the organisation that can extract data driven insights faster, react faster than its competition while providing its customers with personalized experiences.
If market share or leadership position has any values for a company, can business wait for a report from the IT team? In case a critical report is delayed, can a blame-game between business and IT be avoided? Should the insight driven tactical decisions remain only in the hands of few – the senior management? Can analytics accelerate the operational processes? Is technical knowledge a mandate for career growth in this tech-savvy era? Accept it or not, these are some the questions people and companies are discussing today.
Unlike traditional BI in which the focus primarily used to be on ‘What happened?’, analytics is now focusing on ‘What will happen?’ and ‘What needs to be done to make it happen?’. The other fundamental shift is how the decision making insights are being perceived. BI used to facilitate senior management to make strategic or tactical decisions. Analytics is helping more into operational activities, empowering executives and mid management to take decisions. Also, it smoothens and speeds up the operational activities.
Analytics empowers business users to directly interact with data as they follow their instincts in uncovering customer behaviour embedded in transactions. Operational insights related to customer profiling, segmentation, predictive modelling, campaign management and ad-hoc analysis can be retrieved on the fly, in minutes or seconds, without any need of sophisticated programming, technical or SQL related knowledge. Users can assess selection and segmentation strategies by creating actual counts using easily manageable wide range of customized and complex marketing selection criteria rather than estimates. Insights are supported by charts, grids, Venn diagrams and variety of other data visualization tools with formatting & drill-down options. The results of analyses can be integrated directly into business processes like campaign management. Cause and effect of business activities can be understood to improve the planning and execution of marketing programs.
As users or marketers do right customer profiling and segmentation, they shift from mass marketing to more engaging conversations with individual customers. Customer Centric marketing leads to determining the right campaign per customer instead of the right customer per campaign. Speed and flexibility enable ad hoc, ‘train of thought’ analysis of anything against anything. Users learn more about their business on their terms and in their time frame, reducing the overall cost of analysis. This ultimately results in increased sales; both up-sale and cross-sale, through the ability to run campaigns more frequently and with a higher degree of precision.
Paradigm is shifting. Technology is getting more business centric. Users, having business understanding and little common sense but no programming skills, are now able to use technology with ease. Dependence on IT is reducing. Can we do away with IT? Certainly not!!!
IT is the creator of these applications. Updates, patches, maintenance and administration etc. are some of the services we cannot do away with. For any BI or Analytical application, integration with multiple source systems, data loading, data cleansing, master data management and reporting through one or more applications are always going to be handled by IT teams.It’s the fine balance between IT and business that’s going to run a successful show. The question is, how do you define the fine balance between Business & IT?