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A strategic perspective on invoice-to-cash

Using self-service analytics to strengthen your teams’ customer understanding

Topics: Big Data, Reporting and Analytics, Self-Service Analytics

The saying ‘a team is only as strong as its weakest player’ couldn’t ring more true when it comes to big data analytics.  Although companies have invested a considerable amount of resources to data management, there’s still a major gap that often leaves the front-line players feeling ‘weak’ in customer understanding. Without the ability to directly access the data and insights they need, functional teams – such as sales, marketing, and product – are often faced with choosing between acting now on assumptions or acting later when they finally obtain the requested data.  It shouldn’t be a battle between acting faster or acting smarter – these teams need the ability to do both, in conjunction with each other.

Traditional BI tools and manual processes are ill-equipped to solve this problem. This has companies evaluating areas where data insights can truly make an impact – and deciding the best way to get the right team members the information they need.

A recent survey conducted by Computing, which included nearly 400 decision makers from UK organizations, highlights that a change is on the horizon.  Although traditionally, IT has owned all of the data and all of the projects attached to that data, these companies are predicting a shift in where key business stakeholders initiate and own functional-specific projects.  What’s driving and enabling this shift?  A rise in a new breed of analytics tools designed specifically for making it easier for end users to access and consume insights.

According to the survey:

  • Currently in 70% of organizations, analytics is restricted to the upper echelons of the decision-making hierarchy, but in three years’ time that figure is predicted to fall to less than 30%. At the same time, more than half predict that analytics in their organization will be democratized using self-service tools that are much more intuitive to use.
  • Turning raw data into useful information, closely followed by providing actionable insights, was noted as the biggest challenge in achieving success with big data.
  • While a few respondents said they would not make any important decision unless the data was 100 percent accurate, the consensus was that a level of accuracy between 80 and 90 percent is good enough.

Analyst Clive Longbottom of Quocirca describes this self-service approach as “proper business intelligence”, as opposed to the business reporting and business analytics that went before.  According to Longbottom, “the new, proper BI tools allow different roles to utilize the tool in different ways – but all at a self-service level.”

It’s about arming the right people with the right information – in the most efficient way possible.  And about strengthening your teams’ knowledge so they can strengthen your customer relationships.