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BI for ordinary folk - it's another piece of the jigsaw, that's all

11th Aug 2009
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I don't know about you but seems to me that BI, like CRM is yet another technology dump on the innocent, what I would call normal people i.e. non techies.

Is this another band-aid to apply to the enterprise?

Long ago when CRM principles were first espoused - ably by Peppers & Rogers, Profs Francis Buttle , Adrian Payne and others, there was this mythical beast called the 360 degree view of the customer. The simple idea was that having this view would enable firms to adapt their offerings and provide targeted customers with a unique and superior experience, turning them into advocates and generating more business down the line.

Well wasn't CRM supposed to do this?

Well it's been compartmentalised by the software companies so we have CRM systems which don't deliver the mythical 360 degree view, and we have that great oxymoron 'Business Intelligence'.

What is a normal human to do?

My view is its pretty simple really. Don't get hung up on techno-definitions, don't think in a compartmentalised way but apply common sense. Holistically.
What's the common challenge? Well it might be avoiding credit crunches, optimising resources and increasing productivity during tough times. It'll need the ability to sense, predict (gulp!) respond and adapt. Its a Darwinian necessity we all share.

Here is what I think most large businesses will need:
1 a decent CRM system integrated into back-office systems to capture customer conversations and episodes
2. the ability to sense and respond to customers - real-time voice of the customer capture at all key touch-points and some good analytics to identify weaknesses and areas for imrpovement
3. good BI tools to slice and dice data and turn it into something actionable and useful - preferably without the need for an army of Tefal heads
4. good dashboard mechanisms to track and be alert to key performance indicators - like the dashboard on a plane only simpler and appropriate to the individual users remit and needs.
5. some longer term rune reading capability to sniff out future signals and apply scenario planning to ensure that whatever reality eventually transpires - you are up for it and not blind-sided or panicked into selling off the crown jewels.

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