The Paradigm Shift: Real-Time Access to Intelligent InsightJune 12, 2012 No Comments
By Ed Shepherdson
It is no secret that enterprise IT organizations (at the business users’ behest) have been working to advance the ways in which information is optimized and shared to improve customer engagement and increase sales. However, workers and customers continue to suffer “insight deficit” – losing access to knowledge due to the many internal silos keeping key data locked away. In fact, many don’t even know what information they have. A recent Argyle Customer Service Executive Forum survey showed that the majority of executives believe their companies have visibility into less than a quarter of information across all interaction channels, including social streams. All of these executives clearly have CRM systems (and likely dozens of others), they’re just not enough.
That’s not to say CRM systems, and others, do not do a good job. They are absolutely necessary, but cannot provide the consolidated view of knowledge necessary to drive business results. The number and complexity of system integrations and the movement of massive amounts of data create obstacles to achieving that close to real-time, 360-degree view of all customer, product, channel, sales and social information. Moreover, information will continue to proliferate outside the system in email, desktop content, social communities, bug tracking systems, PLM systems, intranets, file shares and many more. It is a vicious cycle and IT can’t seem to get ahead while the data deluge show no signs slowing—only accelerating.
Staying ahead of the new paradigm
It’s worth taking a look at how the best companies are tackling the challenge – for this article we will look at its impact on the customer experience, though the same holds true for product engineering, sales, marketing, and all operations. Forward thinking companies such as Sungard, Tokyo Electron and CA Technologies, are using transformational alternatives to provide an interactive, real-time, one-to-one customer experience. When engaging, they do more than connect; they provide insight—which is contextually relevant to that customer and easily consumable, at that point in time. These organizations are providing their CSRs, sales teams, executives and customers with access to technology that can:
- Flatten customer service organizations by empowering first level agents to solve more complex issues because they have access to all of the information, including similar issues that have been previously solved, by a company’s agents or an outside expert.
- Move even complex challenges to online self-service by presenting customers with instantly assembled, contextually relevant information that helps them quickly solve challenges.
- Increase contact center capacity and customer satisfaction without adding resources by improving the throughput of the organization and speeding time-to-resolution.
- Increase sales by informing sales teams and customers about next best steps along the buying continuum.
- Combine real-time social media discussions with enterprise information, allowing front-line employees to be fully informed about all interactions as well as possible issue/solution discussions.
A new way to think about data management
How are enterprise organizations fixing the problems caused by data proliferation outside systems of record? They are embracing the new paradigm — rather than moving data into a single system or attempting highly complex integrations, they are creating intelligent indexes of content with advanced enterprise search-based applications. Similar to how Google can consolidate the entire web within a common index; these solutions enable powerful information mash-ups across complex and secure enterprise information, combined with social streams. With this “virtual information integration” companies simply leave the data wherever it resides and have the information consolidated and correlated within a single, intelligent index. From there, you discover what you didn’t know you knew and suddenly, insight becomes actionable.
For example, a post on Twitter with a resolution to a poor product experience may be available to a customer searching for help; but it may not be immediately available to the agent who is trying to help that customer. When the customer can find information outside the company, beyond the agent’s knowledge, the company loses credibility and trust. However, when the agent has access to the social streams as well as all information about the customer, and their interactions with the company, the company shines and builds a better relationship, increasing the likelihood of additional purchases.
The bottom line is this: A system of record can no longer solve your information management challenges. Knowledge is everywhere. Data has grown too large, too complex and is from too many places to be housed in a single system, following a set path to curation. Companies that embrace this new paradigm, accessing data in real-time, gain agility and improve innovation, customer response times and overall customer delight.
Ed Shepherdson is Senior Vice President of Enterprise Solutions for Coveo, a provider of “Insight Solutions” that facilitate customer service, sales and marketing, product engineering and IT operations.Fresh Ink