How to exceed the high expectations of today’s customers with the next generation of business intelligence

Do you know how to profitably handle the challenges of today’s fast-changing, data-driven economy? Its ever-growing amount of data from a variety of different sources (i.e. through new digital business models, cloud computing, mobile usage or the rising Internet of Things). Or its increasing demand for true relevancy and personalization that hits the online shopping world particularly hard as it is in steady competition with empathetic salesmen in stationary retail. If you, like most providers do today, are trying to cope with these needs through classical Business Intelligence (BI)-technologies like tracking, visualization and dashboards of tracking providers such as Google Analytics, you might struggle to make your (big) data actionable and provide truly relevant services in order to maximize your conversion rate and revenues: Traditional BI enables you to either analyze your shops’ historical data and draw conclusions on it about future customer behaviour, or to even model the data in order to apply it on new users and scenarios through Machine Learning. But for the pinnacle of utilizing big data – its analysis in real-time without simplistic models for absolutely precise, accurate results and a truly personal customer approach – Business Intelligence still lacks adequate know-how, man-power and technical capabilities. This is where the next generation of BI, Operational Business Intelligence (OPBI) – also known as Real-Time Business Intelligence (RTBI) or Operational Intelligence (OI) – comes into play.

Because Operational Business Intelligence is able to automatically analyze and use big data from different sources on the fly, it is the answer to BI’s numerous problems. In a previous article, we already explained OPBI’s advantages in the light of process optimization through identifying weaknesses as well as user empowerment through dissolving silos and providing a panoramic view on businesses‘ data. But as William L. Bain states, the benefits of Operational Business Intelligence are only beginning to be realized. Thus, our understanding of Operational Business Intelligence has deepened over time and is now even more adapted on today’s new challenges that we mentioned before. In the following, we are going to share our elaborated approach of Operational Business Intelligence by pointing out four reasons why you and all other online retailers need to implement an OPBI-solution into your e-commerce store:

1. Operational Business Intelligence enables real-time analysis of (big) data

Because Operational Business Intelligence works with a combination of in-memory computing and data-parallel analyses, it allows for the continuous storing, updating and analysis of live, fast-changing data sets. They may be enriched with historical data from all possible sources (i.e. analytical raw data, CRM, stock data, returns) in real-time which enables the OPBI-system to implement results and give powerful feedback on the fly. Knowledge may be extracted from the data fast and easily per click without any overhead in time. This supports a flexible, accelerated and enjoyable data correlation analysis. Your data scientists will thank you for it by playing around and actually juggling with your data, which will eventually refine and improve your understanding of your customers’ feelings, needs and contexts.

2. Operational Business Intelligence provides truly relevant results and services

As Operational Business Intelligence is real-time capable, it is the perfect solution for you as an online retailer, to provide truly relevant, personalized services to any of your users and visitors – even anonymous ones: Instead of leaving the persona-building to the business users‘ intuition or simplifying, summarizing and limiting the data through offline modelling like Business Intelligence does, Operational Business Intelligence clusters the data for any visitor and site element individually in the moment of the page request. This real-time clustering allows for truly accurate, precise results that empower you to deliver tailor-made contents and targeted services for each individual user.

3. Operational Business Intelligence empowers automated process optimization

The combination of various analyses methods enables OPBI-systems not only to understand what is happening (descriptive analytics) or to make predictions on the future (predictive analytics), but also to define the required actions for a specified outcome and implement them automatically (prescriptive analytics). By this, the Operational Business Intelligence-system answers questions like: which contents emotionalize this visitor most? What may I do to make him stay? Which products in stock are most likely to be bought and least likely to be returned by the actual user? As a result, Operational Business Intelligence not only shows you which contents are most relevant for the current visitor, but also delivers them automatically and in real-time. Thus, you may provide an individual shop for any visitor that is perfectly tailored for him/her.

4. Operational Business Intelligence is constantly refining its results

The Operational Business Intelligence-system is self-learning, which means that it may track your users‘ reactions on the delivered contents and include them in further analyses. These closed feedback loops allow for a continuous process improvement. The system gets to know the users in all their uniqueness even better, learns how to personally advise them and anticipates their specific needs over time – possibly even before they themselves clearly identified them.

Operational Business Intelligence is a lot more effective and accurate than other analyses methods like BI, because it pursues a completely new approach: It consciously doesn’t try to copy human mind and thinking structures because those are not only biased, but also forced to simplistic modelling due to limited capacity. Instead, OPBI simply outpaces them with its cutting-edge, correlation-based real-time analyses of an unlimited amount of data, which detect statistical siblings and transform the raw data to truly actionable knowledge. Thus, using Operational Business Intelligence, you eventually neither have to compete with experienced and empathetic, but biased and fallible salesmen from stationary trade any longer – nor with classical e-commerce technologies like Machine Learning, that come up against similar limits as humans because they have copied their thinking. Today, only OPBI-solutions allow you for capturing reality, surroundings and humans in all their variety – and even for adequately reacting on them with tailor-made responses.

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