Customers expect a powerful, personalized experience. Amazon has created an entire eCommerce ecosystem built around personalization and the constant drive to amaze customers, no matter the cost. Sure, Amazon has yet to sustain a few profitable quarters, but their user and revenue growth is awe-inspiring.
And it all comes down to data. Gaining users, tracking their interactions with your brand and then leveraging your Business Intelligence (BI) to amaze them – delivering to your customer experiences they didn’t even know they wanted in the first place.
So, how do you get there? How can you transform customers into brand evangelists?
1. Shift to Cloud-Based Data Storage
How many files do you have squirreled away on various external hard drives, computers, thumb drives, and file sharing platforms? It’s time to migrate all of your customer data – including interactions and core customer data – to a single cloud data system.
Cloud security is evolving. In many ways, encrypted cloud servers are more secure than personal devices. They offer geographic redundancy, and user-level access can be tightly controlled in real-time.
Storage on personal, in-office devices can cause bottlenecks – especially when data analysis platforms and data scientists need to access information. Having information spread across multiple locations can cause major headaches during retrieval.
Invest time in organizing, compiling and storing your data in a secure, cloud environment for on-demand access to help drive your business intelligence efforts. OneDrive and Google Drive are some of the leading contenders.
2. Digitize Paper Records and Filing Systems
If you take a stroll through any law firm or doctor’s office, you’ll find filing cabinet after filing cabinet. Many of these files are hard copy duplicates of digital files. But, in the medical industry, the transition from paper to digital has been challenging. Part of this is due to the heavy burden of outdated regulation. Thankfully, most of these have been appealed. Both Presidents Bush and Obama provided incentives to the medical industry in return for digitizing records.
Electronic medical records (EMRs) are a key ingredient to BI in the medical space.By digitizing patient data, physicians can gain access to critical information about patients. They can identify trending medical conditions throughout their practice, and provide more accessible care to their patients.
Business Intelligence, for any industry, is about gathering real information about clients. That data is used to create improvements in the way customers, or patients access your services. If you’ve locked up all of your data in a filing cabinet, there’s no efficient way to turn that information into improvements in your business.
3. Break BI Out of the IT Departments
One of the biggest challenges that companies face when rolling out new data-driven initiatives is gaining employee buy-in. It’s easy to hold a meeting or send a memo. But employees need to feel inspired by and invested in the information that’s gained through BI initiatives.
Work with your leadership team to develop a thorough BI strategy. Be myopic. Find ways to break down the process of analyzing and benefiting from data in each department. BI platforms make the process of pulling insights from your data much easier. The real struggle begins when it becomes time for employees to take action and change the way the company operates.
BI helps companies grow the bottom line when it guides efforts to improve efficiency. Without employee buy-in, real gains will be hard to achieve.
Give 1 Employee In Each Department the Responsibility of Holding Their Department Accountable
No, the goal here is not to turn an employee into the least popular person on the team. The goal is to ensure that someone is keeping their eye on the ball. BI strategies impact each division of your company differently.
Sales staff can benefit from better analysis of leads, resulting in more closed sales with less wasted time selling to low-level gatekeepers. But these efforts won’t help your IT department. Instead, they’ll probably benefit from insights into how they’re handling trouble tickets, calls and emailed requests for support. BI might guide their department to change the workflow for creating and fulfilling Work Orders.
The point is that each department needs to have specific, actionable strategies and insights provided to them. Providing the same list of improvements to the entire organization is inefficient – your entire team’s eyes will glaze over by the time relevant information for them is communicated.
So, make one individual responsible for communicating and following-up on Business Intelligence initiatives in their department. If done properly, instead of a nag, they’ll be seen as a huge asset to the team that helps things run more efficiently.
Staples commissioned a study that discovered 75% of employees feel that they lack access to productivity-boosting tools. By giving them access to new technology and insights into how work is being done, team members will be thankful, instead of aggravated. That is, as long as the insights and strategies they’re being offered are genuinely impactful. The accountable team member helps ensure BI insights are fully executed, with hands-on verification.
4. Avoid Binging Out on Business Intelligence
Just because your BI platform can spit out a cool looking report with the click of a mouse, doesn’t mean that you should distribute it. Every communication with your team represents a chunk of mental bandwidth that’s being consumed. And if you drown your organization in an avalanche of reports, no matter how relevant, your message will be lost in the noise.
How should you decide what’s relevant to your team?
1. Challenge the validity of the data. Ask your data scientist to present how the information was gathered, filtered and curated for their algorithms to dissect. Try and identify weaknesses in their approach. Discovery of better, or more complete data is the best way to improve your BI.
2. Consult the teams that you want to implement these changes. Ask them for input. Hear out every objection. If you can’t reasonably overcome every objection – except for “Well, this is the way it’s always been done.” – then think twice before executing. You can probably amend your approach to meet the needs of the team more fully.
In conclusion, Business Intelligence is a critical aspect of improving your organization’s efficiency, as well as the overall experience of the customer. By constantly collecting and assessing data, challenging assertions and creating value for the customer, you’ll be better equipped to stay ahead of the competition.