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Four areas where business intelligence has found its feet

Posted October 31, 2018

The global BI and analytics market grows with no signs of abating. According to Gartner, by 2020, it is forecast to reach $22.8 billion — compared to $18.3 billion in 2017. With that in mind, more and more organizations are adopting business intelligence solutions and actively replacing their traditional business practices with data-driven initiatives.

The list of the early adopters of this approach includes such high-profile brands as McDonald’s and Mastercard. By analyzing mounds of data and gleaning deep insights into their business processes, they’ve been able to obtain an array of benefits. In this feature, we’ll take a dive into their success stories and explain how you can follow suit to make your customers love you.

Image credit: Rawpixel via, CC0 Public Domain

Enhancing marketing by dint of BI

With a business intelligence solution in place, you can expand the territory of marketing leads. The plan is simple enough. Use the power of data and machine learning (ML) to analyze customer behavior, their social media posts, feedback, transaction details, and locations to pinpoint relevant clusters and patterns. This will let you reveal similarities between clients, understand who’s likely to buy a certain product or service and, in turn, craft personalized marketing messages.

For example, Peter Glenn, a popular outdoor equipment provider, capitalizes on BI to  automate and personalize marketing campaigns for their clients. The company has a single customer view across online and offline channels, which allows them to better spot trends between buyer groups and refine audience segmentation. Peter Glenn’s automated marketing campaigns let them improve their store traffic and increase average order value (AOV) by 30%.

McDonald’s, another top retailer, leveraged customer intelligence to boost engagement in the Netherlands, Sweden, and Japan. The famous brand empowered their IoT-enabled mobile app with the data stored in the cloud — time of the day, weather conditions, social engagement, purchasing behavior, and ad response habits — to send more relevant and desirable promotions.

For instance, on a sunny afternoon, clients could be enticed to buy an ice-cream or a cold beverage at a nearby store. Or, on a cold morning, the promotion might include a hot coffee with a cupcake.

The results of using such a marriage of techs are impressive. McDonald’s reports an average twofold increase in store attendance and a 700% rise in offer redemptions in the Netherlands.

Using BI to improve employee performance

An indispensable part of any business process, performance review management is set to analyze your workforce’s abilities and gauge their efficiency. However, according to some stats, this procedure tends to be time-consuming and biased. To avoid falling under this tendency, rely on BI.

That will help you monitor key productivity metrics in real time, eliminating the need to prepare traditional weekly or monthly reports. In other words, you can automatically incorporate relevant data from disperse software systems your company employs and create a holistic view of what is happening across the departments.

These detailed real-time reports are a good way to show timely appreciation of  employees’ work, and here’s a case in point. Lipari Foods, a warehouse food distributor, applies BI-enabled order selector ranking reports to reward their top performers. For the assessment to be unbiased and reliable, the company analyzes real-time data from their warehouse management system and time clock.

And here’s another success story. Clearlink, a BI software provider, assisted a telecom company in refining their mentoring process. With hundreds of incoming calls during rush hours, it was difficult for the coach to define and address issues of highest priority. The delivered solution managed to automatically sort calls based on urgency, taking into account factors like the call type, the agent answering the call, and the call’s predicted value.

BI can also be used for thorough feedback analysis. Just let your staff voice their needs and bring that data on board to revamp business processes, personalize training, increase employee satisfaction, and reduce turnover.

Capitalizing on BI for better inventory management

For retailers, effective inventory management is one of the major elements to ensure a competitive edge. To keep the right balance between inventory stockout and overstock, they should clearly understand storage capacity as well as control incoming and outgoing flows.

Fortunately, BI is here to help. But for such a BI-empowered solution to bring real benefits, you might need to marry it with other innovative techs. For example, Coca-Cola Amatil pairs BI with image recognition to help their field force better audit items in the store.

The famous distributor of non-alcoholic beverages in the Asia Pacific used to rely on manual inventory management, which meant inaccurate measurements and poor visibility into the stock for field workers and sales reps. Now, the company implements Trax Retail Execution image-based technology to take pictures of in-store shelves and send them to the cloud for further analysis.

In turn, sales agents receive actionable real-time reports to promptly identify performance gaps, apply corrective action, and find new revenue opportunities. Such a shift to automated stock management allowed Coca-Cola Amatil to gain 1.3% market share in the Asia Pacific region in just five months.

Predicting payment fraud with BI

The financial world continues seeing a slew of hacker attacks, with a record 78% of companies being impacted in 2017. With this number increasing year after year, the situation seems to be a lost cause. But not for companies that use big data and sophisticated techs to shape their fraud prevention strategy.

For example, Mastercard created the Early Fraud Detection System to ward off hackers. Their ML-empowered predictive models look into an array of internal and external data sources, namely Mastercard’s network insights, transaction flows, dark websites where people might traffic in card data, accounts that had been previously hacked, and data at risk without sufficient evidence to declare a fraudulent event.

Once an account prone to breaches has been discovered, Mastercard sends the issuer an alert with a defined risk level (medium, high, or very high). The latter decides what to do next with the potentially compromised card — to monitor transactions more precisely or proactively replace it with a new one.

According to Mastercard, their innovative system — working in any sales channel — gives issuers a 6 to 18-month jump on data leakage ahead of traditional approaches. “Knowledge is power, and this service helps issuers act significantly faster and with greater precision to stop potential fraud before it occurs,” informs Ajay Bhalla, President of Global Enterprise Risk and Security at Mastercard.

In conclusion

Underpinned by ML, BI has significantly increased in capability for the last couple of years. By relying on today’s data-driven solutions, companies obtain more accurate insights into internal business processes, clients’ behavior, and market trends, which allows them to be more proactive in boosting employee productivity and customer service.

In this feature, we’ve explained  how brands are making smart investments in BI to streamline decision-making. Of course, their list is not meant to be exhaustive — across industries, you can find many other success stories of companies that are significantly benefiting from advanced intelligence.

About the author:

Yana Yelina is a Technology Writer at Oxagile, a provider of custom business intelligence solutions. You can reach Yana at [email protected] or connect via LinkedIn or Twitter.

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