The customer is king – still. This often-tried sentence has not lost its meaning even in this day and age. Only the methods have become more complex to meet the needs of his customers. It is no longer sufficient just to react to customer expectations, rather the customer wants to be satisfied proactively and in the best case before his expectations are consciously materialized. By Beryl8 CRM Consultants.
Customer information is one of the pivotal points for operational core processes across industries and structures. Customer care and customer relationship management have become essential tasks in all companies. CRM systems already take over the central administration and processing of customer data of all kinds in many companies. Because the danger is too great to lose track of existing or emerging customer processes due to an inconsistent and therefore difficult to understand methodology via Excel, manual notes and/or personal customer meetings. Here, IT has already helped to structure processes in a systematic and strategic way and to prepare information comprehensively for further processing.
The pure administration and processing of customer information, however, is only the first step for a successful customer relationship management. Rather, it is important to place the information gained in a direct relationship with other decision-relevant company key figures. At this point, “business intelligence” solutions help to generate considerable added value in the analysis and planning of customer relationship processes.
BI and CRM – two sides of the same coin
The marketing and sales departments have a special relationship to CRM and BI. Through detailed analyses, for example of purchasing behavior in comparison with the marketing measures carried out, conclusions can be drawn about customer satisfaction and the effects of the marketing mix on purchasing frequency. Other possible analyses include the fields of long-term customer loyalty, exploiting customer potential through up-selling and cross-selling, increasing response and delivery times, and early recognition of market opportunities and risks.
Mobile end devices combined with the knowledge gained from CRM systems using BI approaches are extraordinarily well suited to complete the method portfolio.
Due to the triumph of mobile devices, a new information behavior and the associated growing demands, the guiding principle “everywhere, anytime and for everyone” has also prevailed in the working world – especially with regard to software solutions. The consumerization trend is directed primarily at BI software and services, which by definition are intended to provide decision-critical information and assistance.
This is because constant availability and secure access to adequate information are becoming more and more indispensable – for the customer advisor in daily conversations, the sales representative in the field, the consultant in on-site consulting, the CEO in contract negotiations. The security and flexibility offered by mobile access to relevant key figures are of great importance for companies across hierarchies. However, as with all trends, the great promise of benefit is no less a challenge.
A holistic approach
Many companies are already using BI solutions and CRM systems. Therefore, the requirement when introducing Mobile BI must be to choose a solution from a single source: because the infrastructure is a conglomerate of PCs, tablets and smartphones as well as stationary, web-based and mobile applications. Only a complete BI approach for all existing requirements, as well as the ability to adapt to possible future requirements, is capable of successfully delivering on the value proposition.
A mobile BI application should therefore be platform-independent and interoperable and provide all functions of the stationary BI application such as analysis, planning, forecasting, reporting or dashboarding seamlessly on different mobile devices. The aim is to make full use of the native operating paradigms and known functionalities of the various output devices in order to ensure intuitive navigation. In addition to the automated availability of reports and dashboards in one-to-one format, it should be possible to create separate individual graphics, analyze current figures dynamically using filters, send them by e-mail and print them out.
Mobile applications also open up new possibilities for visualization and presentation. These should be supported by predefined interactive elements (e.g. highlighter function). The integration of cloud services such as Dropbox or Sky Drive should also be considered. These services greatly facilitate the storage and synchronization of data. Role-based user rights can also be used to ensure that information is available to the individual specialist departments in a precisely tailored manner.
The most important feature, however, is the ability to write back to all types of OLAP databases – including the relational world. Only the possibility of actively and mobilely entering new findings and information into the database ensures that all employees are always up to date and can draw conclusions. Splashing functions, which distribute the data according to predefined planning algorithms, support this process.
Further attention should be paid to collaboration features, since the mutual exchange of BI users is an essential fact – also with a view to future desktop and web solutions.