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Market Trends - Business Intelligence:  Three Trends for 2004

Inexpensive storage, the increasingly digital capture of all corporate data, and an emphasis on actionable insight are combining to create three trends in the Business Intelligence sector:

From Snapshots to Streams

In the past, companies got their information from surveys or other one-off types of data collection. However, as the economy becomes more digital, these paper-based, episodic forms of information are giving way to vast streams of continuous data. Clickstream data from Web sites helps companies figure out what their customers are looking for at that moment in time; point-of-sale data helps them figure out what they’re buying. Compared to surveys, there’s less bias in the data, because it portrays real action rather than stated intent, and it’s up-to-date, not dated.

From Spare Counts to Rich Profiles

The second trend is the shift from Spare Counts to Rich Profiles. In the past, companies spent a lot of time worrying about which customer data to capture, and which to ignore. Ten years ago, there were intense debates about how long an address line to store. Today, due to cheap disk and businesses wanting to know much more about their customers, the general attitude is one of "add it on."

Think of how much information Amazon.com is storing about you — not only billing address and postal code, but what you’ve bought, your interests, what to recommend to you in the future. This kind of customer intimacy — desired as companies push for a single view of the customer — can only be achieved with Rich Profiles.

From Data Warehouse to Edge Action

Finally, there is a shift in the center of gravity from Data Warehouse to Edge Action. Instead of generating a report telling management about suggested upsell offers, companies want to push that insight to the front lines, so that the telesales rep’s operational system automatically tells the rep exactly what to say when talking to the customer. Don’t bury the insight in the data warehouse or back office of the company; move it to front office, where employees dealing directly with customers can take meaningful action in a unified fashion.

May 2004

© 2004, Ballardvale Research. All rights reserved. Reproduction without the express written consent of Ballardvale Research is strictly prohibited. Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect the analystís judgment at the time and are subject to change.


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