Pervasive Business Intelligence Enhances Customer Service
In the past two years business intelligence (BI) solutions have evolved from strategic tools for decision support in the executive suite to tactical tools providing actionable information at every level of an organization. Businesses that have adopted these more pervasive BI solutions have seen decisions being made regarding myriad problems closer to where the problem occurred and before the problem would even have been noticed by senior management using more traditional BI and reporting tools. This has had significant impact on CRM, because the net result can be a more integrated and efficient organization that does a better job of meeting customer needs.
Pervasive BI, or PBI, can help organizations to become more agile in a number of areas by providing near real-time operational data to line managers where it is needed to make changes happen. To illustrate PBI in action, imagine that a financial services company has launched a new product called InstantLoan. In this scenario top management sees that overall company year-to-date revenue is trending downward, but the executives are unable to pinpoint the causes and might even entertain erroneous conclusions, such as a drop in new customer generation based on the limited data in their current view.
With its PBI system each functional area throughout the financial services company sees KPIs relevant to its point of view. Middle management sees a chart enabling executives to determine that the downward trend in company revenue is probably related to defects, not lack of new customer generation. This analysis is further supported by another chart indicating a rise in customer complaint calls, presumably triggered by the defects.
The bottom-level frontline staff sees different charts enabling the employees to target the specific problem, defects in the processing of its InstantLoan financial product that has led to a drop in InstantLoan revenue and increased customer complaint calls and/or has potentially caused the drop in the company's overall revenue. Each layer of management in the company has the ability to identify and communicate these kinds of performance trends, from the bottom up or from the top down, and decisions can be made such as providing additional training for the employees handling InstantLoan.
A PBI system monitoring this kind of workflow can provide managers at every level of the organization with information they can use to enhance customer service, increase customer retention, and achieve other relevant KPIs. One way to achieve this is through a PBI system that provides two interfaces into CRM data. One interface is a dashboard that shows data in predefined charts with active drill paths allowing people at every organizational level to see CRM metrics that are relevant to them. The other interface is a tool that allows analysts and power users to explore the data to discover new patterns and the questions that no one knew needed to be asked.
By improving collaboration and decision-making in near real-time, pervasive BI can help drive increased efficiency, enhanced competitiveness, and superior customer relationship management. That's a compelling formula for any company dedicated to winning in its marketplace.
About the Author
Lawrence De Voe is vice president of business development for Citigate Hudson, a provider of pervasive BI solutions for making better decisions faster. He has designed and developed custom applications for major organizations including the National Football League, XL capital Assurance, and Societe Generale. Lawrence is a Microsoft Certified Professional, and teaches classes that focus on developing database applications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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