Insights Services Leaders Deliver True Decision Support

Jennifer Belissent

The explosive growth of the data economy is being fueled by the rise of insights services. Companies have been selling and sharing data for years. Axciom and Experian made their name by providing access to rich troves of consumer data. Thompson Reuters, Dun and Bradstreet and Bloomberg distributed financial and corporate data. Data brokers of various kinds connected buyers and sellers across a rich data market landscape. Customers, however, needed to be able to manage and manipulate the data to derive value from it. That required a requisite set of tools and technologies and a high degree of data expertise. Without that data savvy, insights could be elusive.

The new data market is different with insights services providers doing the heavy lifting, delivering relevant and actionable insights directly into decision-making processes. These insights services providers come in a number of flavors.  Some provide insights relevant to a particular vertical; others focus on a particular domain such as risk mitigation or function within an organizations such as sales, marketing, or operations.  

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Only The Brave Need Peek Beyond The Veil Of Digital Disruption

James McCormick

The discussions at eCommerce MoneyAfrica Confex last week definitely sharpen my African perspective on digital commerce. While behind in some ways the continent is miles ahead in others.

I was specifically impressed with some of the informal discussions on the rise of peer-to-peer commerce and engagement.  Its potential impact on collapsing the value chain between supplier and consumer made me sit-up and listen as the resultant disruption –should p2p deliver even an iota of its promise- is staggering.

What is to become of large financial services enterprises and centralized trading organizations when the majority of services are provided by crowds and peers coordinated by software? Same for wholesalers and retailers? Consider a scenario where we order shopping lists via the future incarnations of Alexa and Siri.  These agents then negotiate (on our behalf) for products directly from mulitple primary suppliers before “Uber-like” services collect from multiple locations; and deliver the requested product list at the exact time and location of convenience. How relevant will the supermarket be then?

It feels like a P2P wave is not too far off – and the vast majority of enterprise are blindly staring into a tsunami of disruption the likes of which they can't even imagine never mind prepare for.

The Data Economy Is Going To Be Huge. Believe Me.

Jennifer Belissent

Are they serious? I've just finished reading the recent Communication on Building a European Data Economy  published by the European Commission. And, it’s a good thing they're seeking advice. The timing is perfect. I’m in the thick of my research for a new report on data commercialization. When I first published It’s Time To Take Your Data To Market the idea was merely a twinkle in people’s eye. Today that twinkle is much

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You Need a Customer Insights Center of Excellence – Get Started With What You Have Now

Cinny Little

There’s a big insights gap out there. Not enough insights are turning into actions that matter, despite continued investment in data, people, and technology.  For example, in 2016, data and analytics pros reported that firms base only 49% of business decisions on quantitative information and analysis as opposed to opinion.  That’s up from 2015, but only by 3 percentage points – out of alignment with the investment in insights capabilities.  You feel the pressure, I know.  So, it's action time - to drive more value from insights.

For sure, firms today have bright spots of insights value –  for example, in digital channels, where A/B and other testing approaches enable continuous optimization of customer interactions that matter most to business outcomes.  But disparate bright spots are not enough, and businesses must move from insights-spotty to insights-driven.  Research by Forrester colleagues Brian Hopkins, James McCormick, and Ted Schadler paints the picture of what great looks like in insights-driven business.  Such firms organize and operate differently to take advantage of data and analytics in every aspect of their products and operations, and that closed-loop approach is embedded everywhere in the organization.  That's the end goal.  Customer insights teams must up their game now, and a center of excellence (CoE) is a first step.

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The Beginning Of A New Age For AI

Brandon Purcell

These days it seems like you can't open a newspaper (ok, web browser) without coming across an article on artificial intelligence. Well publicized breakthroughs like Google AlphaGo's unprecedented victories over human Go champions have heralded the promise of a new golden age for AI. Add to that the personification of personal assistants in Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa coupled with Salesforce's “resurrection” of Albert Einstein and the rampant proliferation of AI-related startups - and the AI buzz becomes more of a cacophonous clamor.

To put it mildly, this is confusing for businesses, who are trying to determine what is real and what is mere snake oil. Will AI achieve its transformational promise, or will it join the trash heap of over-hyped technologies?

Forrester believes AI will significantly disrupt the way organizations win, serve, and retain customers... eventually. To do this, it will take massive amounts of data to train artificially intelligent systems to perform their jobs well enough to replace their human counterparts.

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Context Matters: Functional Or Domain Challenges Cross Industries

Jennifer Belissent

In a previous blog, I outlined how context matters, and specifically how the industry context in which you are doing business matters to the strategic decisions you make. But there are also commonalities across industries. Some business challenges plague multiple industries such as how to improve customer experience, retain loyal customers, and improve sales whether in the retail or hospitality sector, or how to get the inputs you need to make your products and to get your products to market in a timely manner in  the manufacturing or pharmaceutical sectors. And, everyone these days is increasingly concerned about fraud, risk and security.

 

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Uber's Movement In The Right Direction

Jennifer Belissent

Uber’s new initiative, Movement, is a step in the right direction. Facing criticism, the company decided to open its treasure trove of data to the cities in which it operates. Hidden in the anonymized ridership data are potential insights about the impact of major events, rush hour, lane closures or other factors on traffic flow and congestion.While the details remain to be seen, the website shows dashboards and data visualizations. Uber plans to build out the Movement platform, and will roll it out across cities and eventually to the public.

 

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Missed Some Of Our Business Insights Research In 2016?

Context Matters, And That Means Your Industry

Jennifer Belissent

It’s likely not news to you that your business context matters.  Your vendors and services providers must understand the reality you’re doing business in.  They’ve got to have the experience and knowledge to intelligently "speak the language" of your internal stakeholders, identify relevant insights, and recommend appropriate actions. And that means knowing the industry in which you operate.  And, that’s even more so for someone providing you with the insights you need to improve your business. 

Some of these industry differences include:

  • Top priorities. Although business priorities are often similar, each industry pursues them with varying levels of urgency. Decision-makers in retail see improving customer experience as a do-or-die requirement, with 80% reporting that it's a high priority over the next 12 months; in oil and gas, only 49% report that it's a key area of focus. Under intense competitive pressure, telecoms look to reinvent themselves: Over two-thirds of decision-makers report that improving innovation is a high priority, while only 47% in healthcare say it's a top initiative.
  • Strategic objectives. Strategies for growing revenue, a unanimous priority, vary greatly by industry. Decision-makers in the consumer goods industry emphasize acquiring new customers as well as launching and selling new products over retaining, upselling, and cross-selling to current customers. In contrast, decision-makers at financial services firms see enriching current customer relationships as key to growing revenues. Other verticals, like utilities and primary production, have a greater appetite for pursuing new opportunities in emerging markets. Yet only a quarter of decision-makers in retail responded that this initiative was on their firms' agenda. It is clear that one approach doesn't fit all industries.
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Context Matters, And That Means Your Industry

Jennifer Belissent

It’s likely not news to you that your business context matters.  Your vendors and services providers must understand the reality you’re doing business in.  They’ve got to have the experience and knowledge to intelligently "speak the language" of your internal stakeholders, identify relevant insights, and recommend appropriate actions. And that means knowing the industry in which you operate.  And, that’s even more so for someone providing you with the insights you need to improve your business. 

Some of these industry differences include:

  • Top priorities. Although business priorities are often similar, each industry pursues them with varying levels of urgency. Decision-makers in retail see improving customer experience as a do-or-die requirement, with 80% reporting that it's a high priority over the next 12 months; in oil and gas, only 49% report that it's a key area of focus. Under intense competitive pressure, telecoms look to reinvent themselves: Over two-thirds of decision-makers report that improving innovation is a high priority, while only 47% in healthcare say it's a top initiative.
  • Strategic objectives. Strategies for growing revenue, a unanimous priority, vary greatly by industry. Decision-makers in the consumer goods industry emphasize acquiring new customers as well as launching and selling new products over retaining, upselling, and cross-selling to current customers. In contrast, decision-makers at financial services firms see enriching current customer relationships as key to growing revenues. Other verticals, like utilities and primary production, have a greater appetite for pursuing new opportunities in emerging markets. Yet only a quarter of decision-makers in retail responded that this initiative was on their firms' agenda. It is clear that one approach doesn't fit all industries.
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