Competing to survive, by offering the best product or service in this digital age, will soon be an understatement for companies. Businesses not harnessing intelligence will crash on the roads of the digitised highway. A lot of enterprises will fail not because they have bad products or poor services. Rather, companies falter due to their inadequate intelligence about their own performances, processes and people. Let’s look at a few business intelligence areas for a company. Financial intelligence, through financial statements, is widely available and is the most prevalent, given the scrutiny of the government regulators. Beyond financials, the next generation intelligence is a network of corporately available data that will give rise to a new class of intelligence.
Next generation intelligence can be stored in the cloud, on machines everywhere, and in every conceivable digital device, the information delivery mechanism is undisputedly vast and encompassing.
The application of enterprise intelligence is already pervasive as we speak. The application of analytics will form a new class of predictive intelligence for all. Analytics are used for predicting customer behaviour and buying patterns. Analytics are also used to predict when products will fail, therefore guiding companies to invest more in after-sales service networks for products.
In forward-looking and consumer-driven companies, the services warranties for products suddenly become profit centres when analytics are used to develop prices for extended warranty. Financial institutions use analytics to detect all sorts of fraudulent transactions, improve credit card approvals via automatic credit scoring and reduce underwriting application time. Intelligence is already ‘customer-serving’.What a company stores in data warehouses is not intelligence. Making sense out of data and translating it into meaningful insights to win more customers and gain market-share; now that’s intelligence.
You can collect as much sales data about your products as you like, but if you do not understand the correlation between product associations with other variables, such as seasonality and demographics, you are less than completely informed. You may, of course, slice and dice your information, but slicing and dicing is based on predefined canned dimensions. That’s not good either. Intelligence needs to be filtered by analytics for our simple human mind to consume.
Building intelligence data marts needs smart and forward thinking methodology. Developing intelligence data marts must bring up a burning question—is this going to serve more customers as an end objective? The challenge of the future in developing intelligence solutions is no more astronomical than combining the right strategy, tested technology and robust methodology. CIO Asia
Eric Loh is a director with Deloittes, working in the area of technology consulting.
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