Integrating business intelligence (BI) and consumer analytics is a powerful catalyst for any business to succeed. It turns data into smart decisions that can boost sales, reduce risk, and generate greater efficiencies. As such, it should be an integral part of any business’s sales, marketing, and operational strategy. However, even with appropriate investment, it’s often underutilized, misunderstood, and siloed within specific departments or missing completely. This is compounded with the fact that it is estimated that poor data quality within these solutions costs the US economy around $3.1 trillion annually, according to IBM.
BI has long been hailed as one of the great ‘must haves’ to get ahead in an increasingly competitive global marketplace, no matter what the sector, or industry. Certainly this is no less true in the payments space. However, it appears that some enterprises are making a dangerous oversimplification or miscalculation. Improvements in marketing of the overall consumer experience is now clearly understood to make consumers more loyal to those brands, but in maximizing these benefits, the supplier needs to define and arrive at the optimal data collection strategy, before or indeed instead of a simple data useage strategy. They need to integrate their whole customer service and payment experience which will ultimately lead to cost savings and a reduction in the complexities of a too disparate supplier network.
But why is this? In recent times it has been exacerbated by the lack of face to face customer interaction as a result of the already naturally growing trend towards online retailing being super-accelerated by the ongoing pandemic. This means that the retailer, restaurateur, hotelier, or whatever has a less thorough and constrained knowledge of what their customers want and expect in today’s world.
BI projects have also been put on hold due to the insufficient talent to make them succeed and a corelated inefficient deployment of the data garnered in the normal scheme of business. Facing these twin challenges, historically such projects have often been over complicated and over ambitious. However it is my belief that there is now both the technical capability and know how, with an adequate talent pool to ensure the delivery and results businesses have long aspired to achieve.
So what are these challenges for 2021 and how will businesses be able to overcome them?
- An understanding of and rapid acceptance and adoption of the latest systems and technology
- Addressing and overcoming the historic problems brought about by an inadequate and outdated data collection strategy
- Ensuring that your enterprise hires the necessary expertise and talent required to deliver on the project objectives. Make sure that you have a diverse pool of talent that can work collectively, cohesively and collegiately to deliver on every element of the project. One “jack of all trades” is not sufficient
- Adherence to and factoring in of all potential legislative and / or regulatory change. Make your strategy “future-proof”. Do not cut corners or you will be back behind the competitive curve before you have even caught up with your more visionary competitors
- Mine that talent pool. There are now far more specialists able and willing to make your project a success
Soon, merchants will no longer be able to compete effectively unless they can use data to look to the past, learn from the present, and anticipate the future. The pressure to deliver faster, more sustainable, resource-efficient services will continue to push BI up the business agenda and lead many to seek more effective data-led solutions to help optimize both operational performance and customer experience. In fact, BI, big data, and analytics are among the top disruptive technologies that global organizations are employing to drive success.