“We are using analytics to help determine benefits of investing in product improvements by looking at our warranty claims,” Skullcandy’s Hopkins said. “We are analysing the text descriptions of the problems to highlight problems our customers are reporting, and determine the frequency of occurrence.
"Further, we are also mining the data in reviews to discover what our consumers like about our products, and what they want us to improve, and how we compare with our competitors."
When addressing service issues like warranty claims, be sure to consult with finance for cost-benefit analysis. Taking a short-term loss to make a customer happy may result in more orders in the future.
IT can add value to these discussions by evaluating data quality and building easy-to-use BI tools for end users, especially those that may incorporate sentiment analysis of social media trends around your brand.
6. Predict new revenue streams
Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross became a quick best-seller among those interested in technology sales. Ross focuses on what salespeople and their managers can do to improve revenue predictability.
IT can take a tip here and provide BI tools to aid in sales decisions such as which clients should be taken on.
"We developed a revenue prediction calculator for FanHero, a company that creates mobile apps for celebrities and influencers," said Humberto Farias, CEO of Concepta. "The calculator addresses one of the company’s main challenges: the ability to predict how many users and how much net worth a celebrity could bring to the company.
"No individual could process all the necessary data to have a good estimation of how much revenue each customer would produce.
"The data sources include of social media statistics (likes, followers, growth rate), vertical growth rates, fixed and variable infrastructure costs and historical data of launched apps."
The application also includes support for “what if” analysis. If a prospect achieved a higher social media following, they might be a higher priority for the company. Farias said the application is in the “alpha stage,” so it is too early to determine its impact.
7. Automate budgeting and forecasting
In financial management, moving away from spreadsheets to specialised tools can make a major difference.
“We were constantly using our rear-view mirror to make decisions about the future of the company,” said Christy Hrencher, director of marketing at Nextep. To solve this issue, Nextep turned to Adaptive Insights, a planning and budgeting tool.
“Adaptive gave us the ability to involve the entire leadership team in the budgeting process. We now had a tool that gave everyone the ability to see where they stand against goals in real time.
"We’re no longer using spreadsheets, we’ve been able to automate our budgeting and forecasting process, and the data is available at any time."
8. Embed BI into other platforms
Historically, BI tools required specialised expertise and applications. As a result, IT departments have traditionally owned responsibility for BI.
That may be starting to change not only with self-service BI, but with the ability to embed BI directly into other platforms, as Clearlink’s use of Sisense shows.
"Because it is embeddable, we can build any number of web applications, and we can use this BI framework and speed of report development to plug widgets into any of our home-grown applications,” Starr said.
With more BI work offloaded to lines of business, IT can add value by focusing on predictive analytics, which currently has few proven applications outside of sales and marketing.
Alternatively, IT units may seek an internal consulting role where they help other business units find opportunities to use BI or embed BI capabilities more widely.
9. Shift the emphasis to analysis
In 2018, many professionals still have to spend a great deal of time on collecting data.
For every hour spent on data collection, professionals have less capacity to extract insights. In the finance department, this data collection vs. analysis problem is particularly acute since finance must work under tight deadlines.
To address this issue, Rackspace management decided to help its finance team with better business intelligence.
“BI has created an environment that contains the data that a finance team needs with all of the necessary rules and calculations; it would tie back to any operational reports that generated out of general ledger," explained Murphy.
"This has enabled finance users to spend more than 90 percent of the time on analyzing data versus collecting it."
[Reporting by Bruce Harpham, CIO]