The Fiberlink acquisition is a key part of IBM's strategy to provide clients with management and security capabilities across every aspect of the mobile enterprise - devices, applications, data, transactions, and the networks they run on. Here is a selection of today's tweets, blog posts, photos, news and more summarized with Storify.
Mobile discussions were ubiquitous in yesterday's IBM Information on Demand General Session--often focusing on the future of big data in the context of unstructured and mobile data combined with smarter analytics. The second half of the session focused on the "art of the possible" where big data and mobile meet in the context of a customer service scenario for a telecommunications company. I encourage you to check it out in the video below. Start around the 54 minute marker. It really inspires business and technology leaders to consider ways of improving value through customer-centric experiences. And it provides an example dashboard for a "Smart Call Center." See photo further below.
Also, I want to thank everyone who attended the Big data meets Mobile meetup yesterday in the IOD Connect Lounge. We discussed where the group was at in their big data and mobile strategies, biggest challenges, and most important priorities. Most of the discussion focused on:
The art of the possible when intersecting big data and mobile and existing client case studies
Developing a business case for how big data and mobile strategies can provide ROI for companies
Identifying the best opportunities for a big data and mobile strategy that makes sense for where their companies are at and want to be
Intersections between big data, mobile, and social media and how to convert this information into value for our customers
How to use big data and mobile in B2B contexts to bring value in a partner ecosystem model
We also discussed how we'd like to see even more and better focus on Mobile at IOD 2013. The group expressed the desire for more:
Sessions on developing business cases for big data and mobile strategies
Sessions for using mobile and big data in multi-channel delivery contexts where we can write once and deploy on Web, desktops, mobile, and beyond
Hands on labs for using features and functions available in analytics tools in mobile contexts
Sessions for best practices in managing client experiences across Mobile using analytics and insights
This feedback was great for making IOD even bigger and better next year! Look for exciting things to come! For now, if you're looking for more information on Big data and Mobile, try these sites:
You may have noticed by now that the very point of IBM InterConnect 2012 is to CONNECT. This is no secret. The conference title itself may have given it away. While it's always great to watch an event broadcasted through video. This is no match for actually attending the event in person and making old-fashioned face-to-face connections.
At InterConnect 2012, networking is built right into the conference through the exchange sessions, 1 on 1 meet ups with IBM executives, meet the experts in the Solution Center, and SmartSite peer connections.
While at the conference, I also highly encourage you to visit the Social Media Lounge. Below are the top 10 ways to make the most out of networking at IBM InterConnect while in the Solution Center.
I'm excited to announce that IBM's Mobile Enterprise Social Media Residency is now open. The goal of the residency is to demonstrate the thought leadership of IBMers and IBM Business Partners in the area of Mobile Enterprise, primarily through blogging. The residents will also be introduced to social media channels such as Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube.
Chosen candidates will spend a week in Raleigh, North Carolina for a week of collaborating with IBM executives and senior technologists to gain a deeper understanding about IBM Mobile Enterprise technologies and strategy. They will then convey their thought leadership through blogs and the use of social media tools. They will learn tips and best practices from IBM social media experts, expand their knowledge on using the social media tools, and establish their presence in the social media community as Redbooks thought leaders for IBM Mobile Enterprise.
Join IBM Vice President Sandy Carter, industry leaders, and senior technologists at the IBM InterConnect Twitter Chat on Thursday, Sept 27 from 9-10 am Singapore time (9-10 pm Eastern US time) to discuss with experts what�s coming up at the IBM Interconnect 2012 Conference in Singapore!
IBM InterConnect 2012 is a new and unique event that helps business and IT leaders address the new kind of leadership required to turn opportunity into business outcomes. The conference explores topics and key business imperatives, including unleashing innovations, managing the velocity of change and reinventing relationships and uncovering new markets. Hot topics include speeding innovation through mobile, social, cloud computing, smarter analytics, big data, smarter commerce, expert integrated systems, security intelligence, smarter storage and more.
Details on the Twitter Chat
What: A twitter chat is an online conversation held at a pre-arranged time following a specific hashtag. This chat will use #IBMInterConnect. You will need a Twitter ID to take part.
When: Thursday, September 27, 2012 from 9 pm � 10 pm Eastern Time
Where: The chat can be followed on Twitter using the hashtag #IBMInterConnect. Alternatively, log on and access the chat on http://tweetchat.com/room/ibminterconnect
Who: Anyone and everyone is welcome to join and tweet-along! Please remember to include #IBMInterConnect. IBM Vice President Sandy Carter, industry leaders, and senior technologists will be there to answer your questions.
2. Sign into your Twitter account
3. Choose Settings
4. Click on Design
5. Scroll to Customize your own
6. In the Background section, click on Choose file
7. Navigate to where you saved the InterConnect Twitter background, select the image and click ok
8. Click on Save changes
You can also get involved with some of the IBM InterConnect social networks:
There is a German proverb that says, �The eyes believe themselves. The ears believe other people.�
Londoners are taking this proverb very serious. The London Eye (Ferris wheel), which is one of the most visited attractions of London and the spot where the New Year�s fireworks are sparked off each year, is transforming into a sentiment monitor.
With every Olympics, we get to see the splendor of each host nation. In 2008, China confirmed that it had an ability to stop rain, and now London is turning its busiest tourist attraction into a social media �mood ring,� a partnership between EDF Energy and a group of graduates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
They developed an intuitive algorithm that linguistically analyses tweets related to the Games. Tweets will be scanned for Olympic-relevant terms such as "Olympics," "Torch Relay," "London 2012," and EDF's own hashtag, "#energy2012."
This initiative rides on the social media wave that the Olympics might be star bursting. This is really cool, but having lived in London for almost a decade, and being involved in social media, I see large loop holes. Just a bit of a pessimistic, "init."
The Olympics represent an incredibly diverse environment � from races to languages to communities. So what are the details behind the analytics on the �Eye�? Is this algorithm going to track sentiment in languages other than English? Moreover, what are the details behind neutral or ambivalent sentiment?
Let�s look at a beautiful example of some noise: On Twitter, Mr. Hancox said that for Londoners, "It's as if someone else is throwing a party in our house, with a huge entry fee, and we're all locked in the basement."
How will the eye in the sky pick up that statement and how will fellow Londoners and the rest of the United Kingdom react?
I would have thought that Boris Johnson, London�s mayor, would have done this in a better way.
Well it comes down to basics, we all learn from our mistakes. So rather than just monitoring the buzz and view how we faired, we need to analyze this social data and take corrective measures to ensure that negative sentiment is minimal, keeping in in mind we can�t please everyone!
Take for example, RTL Nederland, a Dutch entertainment company that produces the �X Factor.� It analyzed the sentiment of more than 71,000 online conversations about the show to understand audience needs and preferences and, based on the online feedback, altered the show for the final episodes to increase viewer satisfaction.
In today�s business environment, no business can survive without analyzing all available data, including social media. A mega event like the Olympics is no different. Social analytics is therefore an understatement.
In the case of the London Eye and the Olympic organizers, I hope their ears are open and are really listening to the feedback so they can take appropriate actions to improve these games, or 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
For now, let's watch the sentiment on the wheel and then decide.
Guest post from Burke Powers, Managing Predictive Analytics Consultant, IBM Business Analytics
Today, every company of appreciable size has some social media presence. Most companies I speak with are either just monitoring social media or are engaged in �spray-and-pray� tactics that are only loosely tied to corporate goals.
To realize the value in social media it is important to integrate social media into broader customer analytics programs and business decision making.
Too often, companies ask, �What are customers saying about us?�
An objective like this is too vague to direct an analysis and identify actions. What we really need to be able to ask is, �Product XYZ will launch in two weeks. We have done A, B, and C campaigns to create awareness and to position the product.
�What kind of buzz (as measured by D, E, and F KPI�s) has this created around each of our message points?
�Are there other topics that we did not anticipate?
�Can we setup real-time reporting of the topics so that we can monitor the customer reaction to the product once they begin using it?
�Can we monitor any emerging, unanticipated topics after the launch?�
The objective should focus on an area of the business where you are confident additional insight can lead to quick improvements. The best opportunity might be related to a product, the service level of a critical customer touch point, competitor actions, a specific brand attribute, or a customer behavior.
The sheer volume of social data requires some planning. There are a limited number of data aggregators (major aggregators include BoardReader, Gnip, & DataSift) and each comes with its own benefits and trade-offs.
To choose an aggregator that best fits your needs, decide how important data history is, the cost of hosting the data, and the importance of access to all social media data (full fire-hose) versus sampling.
Secondly, decide whether to integrate additional data sources. Using the same filtering and reporting for social media and survey verbatims makes them more comparable for analysis and reporting. Also, determining whether to include internal social network data from Yammer or Lotus Connections may be a factor.
3) Plan and Execute the Analytics
By its nature, social media data is going to be different from what most business analysts are used to analyzing. It is unsolicited and unstructured and tends to be rich in attitudinal and usage information. It is frequently strongly positive or strongly negative.
But, it provides tremendous value because it has rich customer narratives of every product feature and customer touch-point that no other data source can offer. It brings traditionally dry analysis to life for business decision makers.
Most existing social media analytics tools offer only a limited ability to search and trend terms as well as view some sort of sentiment. Some allow filtering by the source metadata as well. These are necessary elements of any serious analysis, but stop short of offering the tools needed to take the data to an actionable level.
To be truly useful across many parts of the business, the free-text data needs to be understood in context and translated into an accessible format for reporting and analysis. This capability is one of the strongest differentiators for IBM Cognos Consumer Insight.
4) Motivate Actions
Once the analysis is ready, it is time to deliver the information to the decision maker at the right time, in the appropriate context to make a decision, and in a persuasive manner.
Finally, be sure to include a rich narrative quote that illustrate the argument and provides an additional persuasive hook that augments the analysis and builds buy-in from the �gut� of business leaders.
For example, let�s say your company recently launched the �Wonder Widget.� You are preparing the first report on how the product has been received by customers. Include a positive customer quote to support the data and drive the point home.
Ideally, the quote says exactly what your analysis leads to, �I love your new �Wonder Widget,� it is already making a difference. Except for one thing, the XYZ dial has got to be moved closer to the display so that I don�t have to look away. Fix this and I can easily justify ordering more units.�
There are many social metrics that could be used, from numbers of followers or tweets generated, to the ratio of issues resolved, and to issues raised via social channels.
Additionally, you could track the results via click-throughs usingIBM Coremetricsor email campaign response using IBM Unica.
You also might choose to experiment through customer support channels and monitor perceptions via both social media and surveys.
Finally, the metrics and actions need to be tied back to financial metrics either as revenue-generating or cost-reducing. This may require knowing the cost of resolving an issue via a social channel versus contact center or perhaps the cost of a response via one promotional channel versus another.
Identify a New Objective and Repeat
Now that we�ve gone through the process from beginning to end, it can now be repeated again with a new objective. A disciplined approach using these best practices will generate rapid returns on virtually any social media analytics endeavor.
For more information:
Read the whitepaperon techniques for gaining valuable customer insight with social media analytics
Guest post fromHaytham Yassine, Software Engineer, IBM Social Media Analytics
I�m back with the redesign of the call center complaint process. Click herefor part 1.
Before I share, here are some key areas such a process should focus on regardless of implementation:
�Customer� Today�s customers find value in sharing experiences and advice amongst themselves via social media. Companies should accommodate our preference for these channels and come to us as opposed to us going to them.
�Customer value� Customer value and loyalty is attained by resolving requests in a short encounter with high quality and minimal effort.
�Inputs and outputs� Inputs to the process should simply be the complaint/question, a relevant profile summary of the customer and any CRM data to assist the agent in providing assistance. The output should be quality service along with reference points for future engagements.
�Performance measures� Key measures are customer effort, customer satisfaction, quality of engagement, number and ratio of successful engagements, capacity of the system, channel flexibility and obviously cost.
You will see from the diagram below how most of the issues mentioned earlier can be resolved via a social media solution.
So what are the key improvements to take away from this redesign?
�Reduction of customer effort to a single activity
�Perception of shorter service encounters by pushing most aspects of the process into the pre-encounter phase
�Elimination of duplication by utilizing customer�s social media profile as input, as well as CRM data when available
�Educated (and empowered) agents provide more sophisticated responses by utilizing analytics and suggestions offline
�Proactive quality control integrated into process workflow by incorporating a review activity
�A multiple workstation approach is still employed, where customer requests are distributed across agents
Here�s an end-to-end scenario:
If I have a complaint or question about your product, I�d share my thoughts through a social media channel; let�s say Twitter for simplicity�s sake, but it could be via a blog (similar to the one I�m writing now), board, forum, etc.
Using a social media analytics solution, such as IBM Cognos Consumer Insight, a scheduled hourly query would pick up the post (and many others) and run it through its analytics dictionary and the XYZ-defined model.
Based on geography, demography and other user attributes, the analyzed post is pushed to the designated agent�s backlog.
The agent accesses the backlog from within a reliable social media management dashboard such as HootSuite. The workflow can define the priority in which complaints should be answered, be it the influencer score of the customer, time of request or a combination of both.
The agent sees my post dissected to portray opinion, product mentions and other analytics:
The agent then assesses whether this post is worthy of a response. Maybe it should be addressed by the developer of the EFG application or better yet, maybe it has already been answered by other users in the same social network.
User specific analytics (preferences, prior engagements, etc.) would be brought up to assist the agent in providing the appropriate response. If my profile can be mapped to the company�s CRM, internal data would be loaded as well. The agent would then formulate the response, get it reviewed by their social media manager and then share it.
So how does this implementation fair compared to the current one?
I can�t claim to have done an assessment so I�ll leave it to your company to implement a pilot project and test it out. However, I�ve already proven that quality, effort, capacity, and flexibility are far more superior in the proposed design.
Please ensure you measure successful engagements in absolute and relative terms across the two processes. A reliable social media analytics solution would measure the impact of your engagement efforts over time.
There are also numerous considerations to keep in mind prior to migrating to this process design, most notably, your customers� demographics and their presence on social media.
I do realize that it won�t be easy to get over your call center�s sunk costs. Don�t worry; I�m advising a gradual transition. Pilot this system in parallel.
The cost of a social media analytics solution is mere change compared to the millions and millions you�ve already spent on that call center.
Please let me know if you have any feedback or comments. I would love your input.
Larry P. Ritzman, Lee J. Krajewski, Manoj K. Malhotra & Robert D. Klassen. Foundations of Operations Management (third Canadian edition). Toronto: Pearson
This semester I have a new challenge. In my Operations Management class (MBA5280B), I was tasked with an assignment to analyze a process and improve it.
I�m not a big fan of call centers and I firmly believe businesses should stop imposing their traditional models of service and start utilizing market-driven media of conversation for their business processes.
Just last month, I read arhetorical blog posted by Brian Solisfrom Altimeter Group. It really intrigued me, particularly because theExtreme Blue(IBM's internship program for students pursuing software development and MBA degrees) project we planned out for the summer heavily addresses this space.
Solis� blog helps highlight, in an exaggerated fashion, the frustrating traditional process of reporting a product or service complaint. I highly recommend reading this post as it provides a great introduction to the process reinvention I�m putting forth.
Not only that, the format I�m adopting in my blog takes the shape of a response to the original �Dear customer� tagline.
Although I would love to explore numerous processes that could be improved by using social media analytics, I will limit this article to the following: analyzing the call center process for reporting a product complaint and improving it by transposing it onto a �smarter� social media engagement workflow.
Here we go�
Dear customer relations manager at (fictional company) XYZ,
I am writing to express my dissatisfaction, not with your products and services, but with the process you employ for people like me to voice their concerns about these very products and services. You emailed me recently asking that I go through the standard call center process for reporting a complaint or asking a how-to, and here I am instead going through the �very standard� social media channels.
Why, you ask?
It�s because I�m one of the millions of consumers out there who have grown fond of using social media for gathering buying decision information and venting experiences and reviews in return. It�s a vicious cycle, you know. Oh, and by the way, I hope you have a reliable social media analytics solution in place to pick up this blog; I won�t be picking up the phone and calling your hot line.
Your process is not only inefficient and painful, but it�s also missing on countless opportunities in the social media space. I�ll start off by analyzing the current process. Below is a simplified chart that highlights the various activities involved.
The process can be categorized as a service shop, where high customer involvement meets moderate-length service encounters and immediate delivery is expected at the end of the process.
I�ve highlighted in red the most problematic activities in the process chart and, as you can see, most of the complexity lies in the customer space. You�ll notice I�ve excluded transfer activities from the chart to make things simple; in reality, these do exist and they add to the encounter�s length and the customer�s frustration.
Here is a list, by no means exhaustive, of the issues I see with the current process:
� Increased customer effort in various activities, complicating the interaction
� Customers have to actively wait in queues for service, extending the service encounter
� Duplication and inefficiency � same inputs being requested/processed at multiple phases
� Multiple transfers may be required
� Potential peak capacity concerns
� Under utilization during low periods
� Agents pressured to provide quality output based on unknown inputs on the spot
� Lack of proactive quality control on process output
� Lost opportunities in customers hanging up
Of course, like a traditional call center, I�m not here to just offer my complaints. I do have a solution.
Please stay tuned for part 2 of my article when I describe the suggested process redesign.
Just over 15 years ago, authors of a book entitled, �The Discipline of Market Leaders,� asserted there were three (and only three) ways for a company to lead their market(s).
Their thesis is not complicated: invest in unmatched value (best product, best total solution, or best total cost) in the core marketplace, while meeting minimum standards across other measures of value. Focusing the entire enterprise on improvement in the chosen value to customers will result in growth in shareholder value over time.
We're seeing that increasingly "best total solution" is the value proposition of choice because of global changes over the past 15 years. Competing on "best product" is very difficult today as the horizon on an innovation-led technology advantage is shortening all the time. The market penetration for televisions 60 years ago to reach 50M users took 12 years. The internet took four. Tablet computers took just two years.
Competing on "best total cost" is a global undertaking where massive scale is frequently the core economic requirement. By its very nature, this strategy limits the field of competitors to a select few who drive globally integrated supply chains as a core competency.
So, in today's environment "best total solution" is where so many enterprises are focused.
But, it requires an intimate understanding of the customer, the customer's customer (sometimes) and the context in which they make their purchase decisions.
With the advent of social networks, we can define the "best total solution" by thinking of the social web as a massive focus group. Enterprises who lead in "best total solution" today are Social Businesses who mine insights and analyze them to precisely understand how customers feel.
Today's leading enterprises apply scientific methods to their social business activities � continuously harvesting the data associated with the process of establishing & maintaining relationships across the customer-set.
This data is priceless to compete effectively today because customers are expressing their needs in the context of their ongoing social network activities. All enterprises need to do is listen � scientifically � to separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff and uncover the core insights that lead to happier customers.
IBM has been working on applying scientific analysis to the petabytes of social network data. We are focused on enabling businesses to become more socially skilled as they engage the "massive focus group" that is the social web.
The "data exhaust" from social business engagement is the input to sophisticated Social Analytics which interpret customer sentiment, evolving topics of discussion and unmet needs.
We are working closely to help our customers improve their capabilities in Social Analytics. Many feel less well-prepared for these challenges than they would like.
Consider recent results from the IBM Global Study Chief Marketing Officer study of what CMOs feel unprepared for. Notice that the top four areas involve social analytics because it's about huge data-sets, social web content, new social channel options and a diversity of ages & geographies to consider.
I will be doing a webinar tomorrow, March 22, 2012, entitled, �Social Analytics is Key to being a Social Business,� and will be discussing how enterprises can get started on the topics above and it touches on all four areas of unpreparedness. You can register here.
One theme you'll see me strike is how our clients are focused on adding their social analytics insights to the larger corpus of datasets that they use to run their business today.
Consider this view of the typical "360 Degree Customer View." We have tried-and-true behavioral and descriptive data, and a lot of interaction data. But, the attitudes our customers have are more elusive.
We have to conduct costly, time-consuming surveys to capture their sentiment � the "Why" behind the "How, Who and What."
So, as our clients serve the needs of their clients better, it's largely through the predictive lens which comes from blending two key things:
�Scientific interpretation of social business interactions (The "Why")
�Modeling of traditional datasets, including the attitudinal data from social media and surveys
For more information:
�Listento the webinar I recently did with BrainYard and InformationWeek, "Social Analytics - Putting the Science into Social Business." A replay is available here and the presentation is available on SlideShare here.
�Watchthe video below for a strategic viewpoint from Deepak Advani, vice president of products and solutions at IBM, on social analytics and why it�s so important today
IBM has beenpreachingthat customer intimacy is the new intellectual property. The more insight an organization has on its customers, the better opportunities it will have to sell them more stuff, retain the best ones, mitigate risk or even identify possible cases of fraudulent activity.
Essentially, it�s a better way to create an ongoing and meaningful dialogue with customers. This is especially important as the power has shifted from the organization to the customer.
And, those organizations that are serious about delivering a better overall customer experience should seriously consider hiring someone who speaks the customer�s language, is concerned about their well-being, can drive profitable interactions through all channels, and can accomplish that elusive task of bringing all customer focused functional departments together with a common goal. This new strategic asset is otherwise known as the Chief Customer Officer (CCO).
To help in your quest to deliver a better customer experience, we have created a job description for a CCO to streamline your efforts.
If you see anything that you might change or add to the description, please let us know. We would love your feedback.
The ACME Corporationis seekinga highly experienced customer experience professional to fill a newly created Chief Customer Officer (CCO) position. This executive will provide a comprehensive and authoritative view of the customer and create corporate and customer strategy at the highest levels of the company to maximize customer acquisition, retention, and profitability.
Key responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
� Provide managerial oversight while implementing strategic focus and tactical direction to the sales, marketing, strategic alliances, market development, and customer support business units
� Drive profitable customer behavior through the creation of initiatives such as profitability segmentation, customer retention, loyalty, satisfaction, and improving the overall customer experience
� Design, orchestrate and improve customer experiences by ensuring consistency across all channels of customer interaction
� Identify customer pain points, define and monitor service standards, enable easy customer navigation across the organization and create new ways to enrich the buying experience
� Foster direct and meaningful relationships with customers, acting as a mediator between the customer and the corporation, especially when service shortfalls or special needs have surfaced
� Develop an overarching customer-centric corporate strategy with the ability to iteratively execute on smaller, manageable goals
� Serve as a liaison between the IT organization and the business units to ensure that systems and business processes are aligned on the customer experience
� Institute a formal process for capturing, analyzing and acting on customer feedback, including leveraging social media channels to better respond to customer needs/requests
� Create cross-functional customer service processes, resulting in a seamless hand-off from marketing to sales to service and support
� Educate, instill, and motivate a broader cultural desire across the corporation to focus on the customer, with the objective of consistently improving customer experience metrics
� Balances the C-suite and Board of Directors with their traditional focus on cost cutting and revenue-growth
� Cultivate meaningful mutually beneficial relationships with corporate partners / associations to deliver enhanced benefits to ACME customers, thus extending ACME�s own value proposition
� Ensure the company's PR and marketing message reflects the company's service delivery capabilities
Ideal criteria for selection includes, but is not limited to:
� Possess strong operational, marketing and financial background as well as political savvy to bear on critical customer-related issues
� Prior executive or VP level experience leading highly successful marketing, sales and customer service business units
� Proven ability to break down corporate and departmental barriers in order to pave new paths, which may often be in direct conflict with existing corporate culture
� Previous boardroom / shareholder experience with the ability to demonstrate tangible value to all stakeholders
� Highly skilled in building cohesive cross-functional teams
� Highly skilled in a variety of enterprise software tools including CRM, ERP, and POS systems, as well asBusiness Analyticssoftware (business intelligence and predictive analytics)
We've all turned into spooked ostriches with our heads stuck in the ground.
As Matthew Broderick eloquently re-stated in a Super Bowl commercial reprising his famous Ferris Bueller role, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile you could miss it."
In the world of social media, it seems everyone is buried in their mobile devices these days reporting on the minutiaof their lives. In fact, it was reported that tweeting records were set during Super Bowl XLVI with 13.7 million total tweets sent during the game and 12,233 tweets per second by the end of the game.
I wonder if anyone really watched the game?
Unknowingly, Twitter has turned us into play-by-play announcers, bad stand-up comedians, "Negative Nancy's,� and critics. We share everything. Is it really necessary to tell everyone what you had for breakfast, what you liked most (or for Boston fans, least) about Tom Brady's performance, the coffee shop you just checked into on Foursquare, your opinion of that Matthew Broderick commercial, or what movies and actors you predict will be Academy Award winners?
If Twitter is a never-ending barrage of babble and nonsense, does it really matter?
You�re damn right it does.
Consumers have become a force de nature in the Twitterverse. Their opinions are unfiltered and unadulterated, yet unfortunately, still quite underrated when it comes to using the data to enhance customer experience. As MTV�s �Real World� once promoted, �It�s time to stop being polite, and start getting real.�
Twitter is raw, real and in your face. Businesses have it easy these days. No longer do they have to go through the formal process of focus groups and lengthy analysis. Want to know what someone is thinking, log onto Twitter.
No dodging the mighty consumer these days.They have become increasingly influential, especially as their opinions travel faster and to a wider group of consumers.
Accountability and honesty reign supreme. If consumers don�t like an organization�s strategic business decision (e.g. Susan G. Komen), new product (Netflix/Qwikster), or advertisement (Groupon/Tibet), there�s no dodging the verbal arrows.
The organizations, however, that decide to take action and analyze the millions and millions and millions of data points created in the socialsphere will own the competitive edge and be able to respond that much quicker. It�s just a matter of separating the noise from what really matters, the consumer�s thoughts, opinions, sentiment and behaviors.
Enter social analytics, the latest in noise-cancelling devices that deliver insights into what people are thinking, why they are thinking it, and most importantly, what organizations can do about it. By eliminating the minutia, social analytics helps businesses understand positive and negative sentiment,pinpoint top influencers, measure the volume of commentary and identify the geographic origin of comments across multiple channels.
Getting back to the Super Bowl�think about the value buried inside of those 13 million tweets � for advertisers, for psychologists, for the city of Indianapolis, for the NFL, etc.
And as the Twitter feed flies off the charts with major sporting events, one can only predict the same activity for the upcoming Academy Awards, especially with the commercials, the fashion faux pas, the glitz and glamour, the acceptance speeches and most importantly, the winners and losers.
Speaking of which, IBM, The Los Angeles Times and the University of Southern California Annenberg Innovation Lab have created the Oscars Senti-Meterto establish a model for measuring the volume and tone of worldwide Twitter sentiment to better understand moviegoers' opinions and customer trends.
So yeah, I guess Twitter matters. It might be noisy, but it�s chocked full of yummy goodness.
If businesses don�t check into Twitter and look around once in awhile, there�s a lot they could miss (and a lot of customers they could lose).
It has almost become a daily occurrence when I arrive home from work and go through the mail to find yet another credit card offer from my bank, even though I already have a credit card with that very same bank.
Shouldn't they already know I have one of their credit cards? Do they even know me? Or, care to?
That�s the problem.
And according to Mark Smith, CEO and Chief Research Officer, atVentana Research, it�s imperative that banks and insurance providers anticipate and align their business around the customer.
�This is whybusiness analyticshas become a required must-have,� said Smith. �Business analytics is a significant set of technologies that is going through a huge transformation. It now plays a key role in everyday business processes, drives improvement and helps meet customer expectations and satisfaction.�
This is especially true for today�s customers who are savvier and price sensitive, and far less loyal. Customer experience now goes a long way.
Whether its banks or insurance providers (or any industry), business analytics is forcing disparate parts of those businesses to speak to each other, share data and create a personal experience for the customer.
However, according to research from Ventana, the problem is that only 1 in 5 banks and insurance companies are using business analytics at an innovative level of performance.
Smith said that these firms either have great people with skills, but struggle with technology, or have the technology but aren�t using it to drive improvements.
�Firms need a balanced approached across these elements in order to improve their analytics maturity,� said Smith.
What is holding these organizations back from taking the next step?
According to Ventana�s banking and insurance benchmarks, only 42 percent of banks and 37 percent of insurance providers are satisfied with their current analytic process.
Smith points to three main barriers that halt analytic success:
� Wasted time due to data related activities (preparation, fixing errors)
� Lack of intersection between the business and IT (read a recent blog post on this rivalry)
� Continued use of spreadsheets that increase risk factors and contribute to poor decisions
What can banks and insurance providers do to generate better value from their analytics?
According to Smith, 68 percent of companies surveyed said the most popular use of business analytics today is in customer service. What is most interesting, however, are the least popular uses which include customer profitability, voice of the customer, marketing campaigns, communications channel usage and social media (at a lowly 4 percent).
These are the areas where the use of customer analytics can have exponential effects, and according to Smith, become a true measure of innovative maturity.
This is when the analytic process gets deeply integrated into every business process and customer touch point to make every interaction personalized.
In the simplest of definitions, analytics is all about maximizing probability.
In other words, how do you use the information around you to gain a better advantage?
For marketers, business analytics has become an easy way to measure and prove success, but also to support the decisions that drive campaigns, help anticipate customer actions and even guide the selection of messaging and content.
Yes, a scientific approach has become an absolute necessity for modern marketing.
Lest not scoff at the idea of cold, clinical data driving marketing decisions. Heck, it�s been proven that spending $1 on business analytics technology will yield almost $11 in return.
Using analytics to drive better customer experience unshackles the organization from ignorance and maximizes the probabilities for increased customer loyalty, better up/cross-sell and sales conversion.
These organizations focus their analytics capability to gain insight on cost reduction and not at consumer personalization.
Most marketing efforts focus on segmentation efficiency, such as increasing the conversion of a selected group of customers by reduction and removal of messages (for instance, avoiding delivery of identical catalogs to multiple household members), thus lowering the cost of communication.
These firms can increase customer retention by up to 9 percent, capture 2 percent more wallet share and convert an extra 3 percent of inbound contacts into a cross-sell event.
Stage Two � Sharing the Goods
To keep pace with the mobile generation, organizations within this second stage must have a clear customer analytics strategy that enables information sharing across any digital device and channel.
In fact, research shows that tri-channel buyers spent an average of two and a half times more than single-channel buyers.
The most sophisticated marketing organizations in this stage apply analytics for marketing event optimization, an approach that leverages analytics as a �horizontal control tower� to optimize the organization�s various direct marketing events over a given time period over multiple channels.
This better aligns marketing with customers� needs � and varying personas � related to those devices/channels.
Stage Three � From Reaction to Action
This stage focused on information responsiveness.
These organizations are leveraging �raw� data as it streams customers� social commentary and changing moods.
To avoid a veritable data deluge, these organizations focus on identifying the questions that � if answered � will impact their business the most.
This acts as a filter on data collection and helps an organization avoid the task of collecting all available information and then deciding what to do with it after the interminable wait to standardize and analyze it.
Companies able to perform real-time external data analysis combined with rules-based actions have experienced average conversion rates of 16.9 to 38.2 percent.
Stage Four � Next Best Action
This stage focuses on executing a strategy that enables information on demand.
This approach combines all the skills developed in earlier stages with in-depth segmentation approaches and leading-edge work in multichannel customer monitoring and real-time action recommendation (read: Decision Management).
Using predictive analytics (combined with business rules), organizations are able to engage with the customer throughout the buying cycle � from the point of needs identification through the exploration and discovery phase to the purchasing cycle.
Those companies able to apply real-time predictive analytics while executing a multichannel next-best action strategy had an average converted response rate of 24.1 to 64.3 percent.
� Understand the different stages and get a better handle of your organization�s analytics maturity by downloading the full "Customer Analytics Pays Off" white paper.
� Also, read the "Five Steps to Improving Business Performance through Customer Intimacy� white paper.
�Registerfor the �Customer Analytics Pays Off� webcast (Feb. 15 at 1:00 pm ET).