This is a guest blogpost by Daniel Fallmann, CEO at Mindbreeze
Irrespective of whether a company wants to boost its customer service efforts, intensify the efficiency of its marketing activities, or increase its competitive edge – in a world in which the customer and customer demands are increasingly becoming the focal point of corporate strategic thinking, the “Three Rs” of business success are crucial: the right information to the right person at the right time, as Forrester spells out in their current report, Maximize your chances of Business Intelligence success In a customer-centric world. To that end, software initiatives will have analysis and reporting tools like business intelligence (BI) right at the top of the agenda in the coming months.
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But just how prepared are the present BI solutions for the challenges outlined above? According to TDWI, the adoption rate of traditional BI tools has languished at a rate below 25% for the past decade. The clear unwillingness of companies to actually implement and use BI systems is, in part, due to the fact that
- even the specialists need several days just to generate a report
- the interfaces are too complex or technical for most end-users
- questions and queries need to follow a very specific pattern in order to deliver the desired results and answers
- there are no self-service components
The greatest challenge for traditional BI tools, though they may well be able to leverage structured information management, is the exponential growth of unstructured data – meaning all the data that is not conveniently packaged and ready for use in a data bank, but instead lies scattered and dormant in text documents, e-mails, PDFs, social media platforms, on websites, in audio or video files or one of the countless other formats which cannot easily be accessed for analysis or forecasts. This lack of access gives CEOs, sales and marketing managers an inadequate and limited view at best of markets, consumers and their needs. In other words, companies are in danger of flying blind, as it were, straight into tomorrow’s customer-centric world.
BI meets Big Data
In the field of big data analysis and its special categories such as enterprise search/big data search, technologies have been developed in recent years that are designed to
- sustainably get a handle on the exponential data growth;
- process the resulting information at high speed, as immediate as possible;
- process not only structured but also unstructured data in such a way that it is available for corporate-wide knowledge management at any time.
Clearly the strengths of both worlds – business intelligence and big data – need to be merged in order to meet the challenges and particularities of an end-customer-centric strategy. If an enterprise search/big data search system is used, this is what is referred to as “search-driven business intelligence”.
Besides the high-speed processing of unstructured data, solutions should offer corporate decision-makers and department heads the following advantages:
- Connectors that ensure the diverse data sources and file formats can be integrated into the analysis and in addition the data stays where it is generated.
- Thanks to the lightweight search approach, even non-technical end-users can perform analyses and create reports autonomously and without relying on the help of the IT department – this is true self-service BI.
- Queries don’t have to follow a rigid format with a steep learning curve, but instead can be formulated in natural language, just like a query in a web search engine.
- Enterprise search also scores with its semantic search, which means that the context is recognized and included in the analysis and structuring of the data. The longer the system is in use, the easier correlations can be detected – it’s what the buzzwords ‘machine learning and deep learning” are all about.
This abundance of smart, highly automated and easy to use features also allows non-specialists to utilize business in order to boost their customer service efforts, intensify the efficiency of their marketing activities, or increase their competitive edge across the board; and the data flow can be configured so that employees can access exactly the information they need to support their decision-making process.
Conclusion: 21st Century BI
The search-driven business intelligence approach makes the headaches of traditional BI systems – such as the excessively large amount of time required to generate reports or the complexity of operation – a thing of the past. Business executives and department managers now have an easy-to-use technology at their fingertips, which guarantees them a clear view in a customer-centric world – true to the motto: the right information to the right person at the right time.