Prescriptive Analytics Delivers Right-Time Information

There has been a lot of excitement in the CRM industry in the last few years about analytics and their benefits for the enterprise. By now, the concept of predictive analytics (PA), the analysis of past and present data to predict future events and behaviors, is a familiar one. The next generation of analytics technology takes us a step further, to prescriptive analytics--where software is capable of identifying problems and opportunities at their inception, and automatically prescribing resolutions. The Need for Real-Time Information--and More
We've all learned that real-time information is critical to successfully managing the ever-changing landscape of CRM. Real-time data is the best indicator of what is currently happening operationally within an organization. With PA, the idea of real-time information is superseded by what Yankee Group Vice President Kenneth McGee calls right-time information, information received in time to take considered, effective action. This is where PA advances CRM analytics, by providing right-time information along with recommendations that are in line with the company's business objectives--prescribing action. PA provides value and intelligence back to the line manager. The value of CRM can and should go beyond automating business processes to returning real value and measurable ROI. The goal of automating business processes is to make the enterprise more efficient by sharing data across the enterprise and not restricting it to a particular business. However, automating processes doesn't inherently improve anything if the data isn't analyzed and presented in a useful, timely manner, with effective recommended actions. PA provides higher-level insight and intelligence that used to be the domain of trained business users. It brings sophisticated decision making to a much broader base of users, making the process more efficient by eliminating the time and resources previously required to monitor and analyze information to make better and informed decisions Prescriptive Analytics in Action Call center consistency has always posed a challenge for companies because of the high rate of employee turnover. Even companies that put a premium on training new employees cannot ensure that the agent manning the phones at a given time has the training and information necessary to effectively manage each call. With companies facing increased competition for customers, getting the most value out of each interaction is critical. Prescriptive analytics analyzes real-time information from multiple sources to prescribe a prioritized set of actions. For example, if a customer has a low level of customer satisfaction and several previous escalations, the agent will be guided to resolve issues rather than generate an offer. By providing the right recommendation to the agent, PA can remove the guesswork, and subsequent capacity for error, by ensuring the customer receives the best interaction. Hitting one's numbers is critical in sales, and that's where PA can play a vital role as well, by guiding the sales force to optimize results. Early business indicators like past-due orders will trigger alerts regarding promise dates to customers. Armed with the information, operations personnel can expedite shipping or realign resources to meet promise dates they otherwise might miss. PA can also alert the organization to potential long-range problems. For example, there might be enough activity to make numbers for the current quarter, but insufficient leads in the pipeline to meet the following quarter's targets. In every instance, informed recommendations are made and the appropriate people notified. The business advantages of PA are straightforward: eliminate surprises, identify potential issues and opportunities, provide value and guidance to line managers, ensure consistency, and maximize operational effectiveness--by providing right-time information and the right action at the right time. About the Author Barbry McGann is vice president of product management for PeopleSoft Enterprise Customer Relationship Management. She joined PeopleSoft in 1998 and has held positions in product strategy and management. In her current position McGann is responsible for driving PeopleSoft's CRM product strategy with the integration of PeopleSoft's other product lines for the enterprise software industry. McGann is an industry veteran who helps companies leverage technology to optimize their business processes for the front and back office. Her focus at PeopleSoft is on designing and delivering product offerings to extend the enterprise to customers, prospects, partners, and employees through all interaction media. Prior to joining PeopleSoft, McGann had more than eight years of experience in systems implementation consulting at Accenture, and Deloitte, and Touche. McGann received B.A. in economics at UCLA and an M.A. from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.
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