Using Business Intelligence to gain customers is commonplace but what about using it is a differentiator in the battle between you and your competition. Even better than that what about actually providing it when you have promised a new client that intelligence is the ethos upon which you provide your services. As the costs and complexity of BI and analytics continue to come down we explore how they can differentiate your business to your customers and help you stand out in a world of hyper competitiveness.
Most organisations know the importance of using Analytics to assist in the process of sales and marketing. Even the smallest of businesses, that have a website, will probably use Google analytics to get a better idea of when someone is visiting their site and where they are from. Other businesses are far more strategic in the way they do this and use BI to look at who they target, how they target them, how they attract them to their website, how long they keep them there, what they do whilst they are there, if they make a contact request or even a purchase, why they failed to make a purchase, etc, etc.
The use of analytics in sales and marketing is one of the first areas that businesses focus on to deliver return on investment for their BI and analytics initiatives and this remains the case through to today. That and in finance where the provision of financial intelligence and the reduction of spreadsheets across the organisation has seen real tangible value added to the bottom line.
But what of winning work, what of Business Intelligence as a differentiator, this is often discussed but infrequently applied. Especially in the world of Property, Assets and Facilities. Don’t get me wrong, it has been talked about for many years and what’s even worse is it has been touted by most of the big players within the industry; ‘oh yes, analytics of course we can do that’ & ‘Yes, we have dedicated data teams that will bring you a complete single view of your entire estate’. The latest addition to this plethora of claims is the ‘Single pain of Glass’, everything relevant viewed through a single place.
The only downside to this is that customers are getting smarter and those spurious claims of yesteryear no longer hold water. Gone are the days of slide decks, presented by salesman, that explain blue sky software and the art of the possible. Customers want to see real world examples, based on actual data, that have delivered tangible savings.
The biggest example of this is Government and large corporation tenders. Several times over the last few years I have been asked by large providers to assist in preparing tender responses based upon the art of the possible with BI and Analytics. Creating Intelligence by providing context to information, every time these have been submitted and not once have they been implemented. It is always delayed by the initial mobilisation and then becomes an optional add on that was out of scope.
As clients become more insistent so the larger providers have spent millions of pounds in establishing data teams, data warehouses, security systems, database administrators, business analysts and BI developers. All of this to meet client needs and to differentiate their service offering in order to win more work. I for one am glad to see our industry taking data more seriously, we are most definitely behind the curve compared to many other industry verticals when it comes to Intelligence from Information.
Thankfully, the costs and complexities that relate to BI and analytics have also dramatically reduced and as such much smaller organisations can now offer similar services and differentiators through the use of online analytics service providers and private cloud data warehouses. All of this should start to provide the single source of truth that the industry has always sought as that wholly grail but more importantly it will allow smaller providers to offer intelligent insight that is as good or perhaps even better than some of their larger counterparts.