March 8, 2016

What data trends do you predict? No reacting now.

By Paul Laughlin

data trendsWhat data trends are you seeing in customer data, information & insight?

Guest blogger, Simon Norie from Custerian, returns to Customer Insight Leader to share his thoughts on such data trends:

Moving from Management Information to Customer Behaviour

We used to simply report what had happened against a target/benchmark. There is still a role for this type of passive, historical measurement as they play a part in ensuring you remain efficient as an organisation – although we find many measure too much and for the wrong reasons. This can be summed up as “because we always have” & “to enable us to lob bricks into another function/silo”.

We are however on a relentless march in data trends, towards being able to predict Customer behaviour:
data trends

Store Once – You need to be able to use your insight operationally

This is all about having one version of the truth so that you can act on the insight as quickly as possible. There are a number of technologies that are allowing this such as HTAP (Hybrid Transaction/Analytical Processing) which basically means you can do online transactional & analytical processing at the same time. What this means is if your insight picks up a problem – delayed orders – you can act on it very quickly.

Limitless Capacity – You no longer have to trade-off speed for capacity

If anyone tells you, you can’t hold more data, then just point them to things like OneDrive, or GoogleDrive, never mind all the iCloud type personal storage systems. This is happening in the world of business too with massive leaps in storage capability, driven by the need to feed & fuel the web. Add the exponential increase in processing speed and you really can do large-scale & complex analysis at the same time. This means less modelled scenarios using aggregated data. More real-time outcomes using actual data at an individual level.

Distributed Intelligence – Serving your insight to those who can take action

Here I like to use Google maps as an example, which by the way is part of another subconscious trend – The increasing use of technology that fits seamlessly into our lives. They mapped the world which enables us to get around. But then they use information from our smartphones to do things like warn us we are going to be late for meetings, or highlight how busy shopping centres are. All sent back to our smartphones so we can decide what we are going to do about it. Think about this the next time your request to add a field to a CRM screen gets refused.

Reactive To Proactive – React across your supply chain to improve Customer Outcomes

Amazon are world-class at this – they also do a lot of the other things on this list. They double up orders if they notice a parcel is going to be late, and pull the original at the courier hub. This requires a mindset change for most business leaders who still view Customer Service as the cause of their problems, not the end result of something that started far earlier along the supply chain.

Proactive To Predictive – Anticipate the needs of your customers & act on them

I increasingly come across companies & people who are trying to replicate that ‘Local Shop’ approach. Understanding your needs and then offering you something that meets them. Cambridge Psychometrics Centre do some really smart work on behaviour prediction based on Social/Web activity and companies like Stitch Fix are intent on developing a remote, but personal service offer.

And of course Amazon are in this space. They will start to distribute an item you are looking at based on how likely they predict you are to order it. This done right reduces customer effort and improves engagement. Done wrong of course, it feels creepy.

AI & Interactivity – Allowing Customers to interact directly with your business

This is the ultimate cutting out of the middle man. For those that don’t think the day will come, we’ve already seen an explosive growth in self-serve technologies. Who now prefers to get a delivery from DPD because you can alter it down to the last 20 minutes for example. But artificially intelligence pushes this to a new level. Combining all of the trends to allow things like the Henn na Hotel to open, in Japan of course. The world first fully robotic hotel.

Think Global – Act Local – Be Personal

Perhaps my last example has it right. The Henn na Hotel talk about a Commitment for evolution and that is what we are seeing. Yet within this evolution there is still the sense for me that what we are trying to do is at the same time get back to a simpler place.

One where a sense of closeness and community meant that our needs were much more intuitively understood and met by those we dealt with, so we felt we belonged more.

So are we seeing the start of this need being met on a global level, via the data, technical and insight capabilities the world of the web is driving.

As sort of Globally personalised service, delivered to me, where ever I am?

What do you see as data trends? Do you agree with Simon’s perspective or identify your own themes? Do share with us & we’ll publish in later updates.