InetSoft Podcast: Using Business Intelligence and Data Warehouses

This is the continuation of the transcript of a podcast hosted by InetSoft on the topic of "How Successful Companies Leverage Business Intelligence." The speaker is Mark Flaherty, CMO at InetSoft.

I start to make completely different decisions using business intelligence and data warehouses to determining how I am going to market, how I am going to communicate, how I am going to collect information or even money from the. In transportation industries we all know many of the airlines are in trouble. In fact, some have gone bankrupt in the past five or six years even before the downturn and recession. Some have been caused to merge.

They are looking at scheduling, flight control, crew control, food and beverages. They are trying to figure out how to take care of their best passengers and most frequent travelers, not just with upgrades, but with better treatment.

Flight interruption is a big deal. With real time data processing, they are handling the customer before the customer even gets to the gate agent to say their flight has been canceled. They know it already.

They have transferred the bags. They have the new flight. They put him in a better seat. They get him on the next available flight. This kind of customer satisfaction is changing the whole world of economics and using data to drive customer loyalty.

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The railroads are running BI applications in order to try to figure out how to configure trains differently so they don’t waste petrol with too many engines, too many cars, too many empty cars, even configuring a train in a railroad yard. Tens of millions of dollars in a quarter have been saved in petrol costs. Now let’s talk about the 4 C’s.

Companies that are really smart in recessionary times, whether they are retail, banking, insurance, every body has been losing revenue and trying to figure out how to solve it, they really have to focus on the customer. We’re back to customer loyalty concept. We’re back to customer satisfaction. We’re back to handling the customer which drives us very far into the customer experience. Using data warehouse and good BI tools has become a very good way to augment all of the activities that they do in the culture, the marketing, the advertising, and the training they do in customer service by giving people effective information. The first C is customer management.

The second one is consolidation. Consolidation for doing integration of information systems, reduction of costs of IT, of managing data, handling processes, managing decisions, managing contracts, sales, distributors, whatever it is. So these areas offer opportunities for saving money. The third one is starting to think about customers and cost when we come to channels. Channels are clearly multi-channel. Understanding customer touches, understanding customer experiences, customer requests, customer views even on the Internet. Web analytics is becoming very fast area of growth, and the new business intelligence applications are being applied there.

The new extended channels, now combining channels, where you are using not just the direct channels of humans selling a product or even distributorships, the indirect channel, at the same time using the Internet, using the telephone, the iPhone, things like that, to inform customers. Lastly there is a cumulative effect, the cumulative opportunity of thinking of finance, marketing, and sales. In other word synchronize your operations into a cohesive set of behaviors among the people.

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How many decisions in your company are repetitive ones? The same you made last month or last year? You have only changed either the product, the customer, the price, the color, whatever it is. Ninety percent or more of those decisions could be made by machines. We have already made these decisions before. So not only should we leave the remainder of decisions for people to make, but set a new criteria for those people to change and improve, learn new process, create new process.

These are the ideas that are important for business management around the world to think about. If you look at the new wave of business analytics, you analyze what you have in order to make better decisions faster. But if you could just capture that and not have to make that same decision over and over again, that’s progress. So it’s not just a consolidation of the data, or improved data management, but it’s evaluating new business intelligence applications, particularly data mashup tools.

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