In 5 steps for transforming your business using data, we have identified real-time business intelligence as one of the first steps toward the digitalization of business. But once insight is obtained in real-time, it must be used to actually drive the actual business processes. Otherwise, all you will have gained is faster and fancier dashboards.
Driving business processes with the outcome of business intelligence is nothing new. This is what operational business intelligence is about: integrate insight and informed decision making into backend and frontend processes.
A primary characteristic of digitalization is real timeliness: you want to use insights to impact processes that are happening right now. For example, your (potential) customer is browsing your eCommerce site, and insight from business intelligence puts them at risk of abandoning their shopping cart, or is identifying a back and forth between two items. The time to provide a special incentive (such as a discount coupon, or free upgraded shipping) to complete the purchase is right now. Not tomorrow, not even in five minutes.
In a digitalized enterprise, the job of business intelligence is to provide insights in real time. The job of business processes is to consume this insight similarly -- in real time. These insights have a very short shelf life, and if they are not consumed immediately, they go bad.
Digital enterprises do not content themselves with applying the same rules to all users. Ideally they aspire to creating the segment of one: the ultimate degree of know your customer. In this approach, a retailer (it mostly applies to retail) does not content itself with placing each client in a predefined bucket, no matter how precise its boundaries are, but builds a complete profile for the client and targets individualized offers and promotions at this client.
Gone are the days of indiscriminately sending email coupons or promotions to the entire database. Instead, the segment of one receives the exact information they need, at the right time. When examining a product in the store after researching it online. When approaching the checkout desk. When entering a geofenced area around a restaurant at dinner time.
Targeting many platforms
There was a time when the only consumer of real-time insight was the call center agent. Provided you did a decent enough job of getting the proper insight or targeted offer on their screen while they had a customer on the phone, you had a winner. Not that it was always easy, and many contact call agents had to switch between too many applications to be really efficient.
However, self-service and always-on are now the names of the game. You can’t expect the consumer to go and fetch the information you have prepared for them. You need to make sure you are providing it to them when the window of opportunity is wide open. But there is a fine (and very blurry) line between being viewed as pertinent and being viewed as intrusive. Send too many alerts to a customer’s phone and it only takes 2 taps to disable (usually forever) notifications for your apps.
Nevertheless, customized offers, coupons, incentives, need to be served via an ever-broadening variety of platforms: web, mobile apps, smartphone notifications, soon probably even smartwatches. And if you have mobile employees (truck drivers, fields engineers, etc.) you must be able to provide them instructions too (except they won’t turn off notifications, or so should you hope).
This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?