Adopting right-time analytics for creating a competitive advantage

Companies that can turn data into an asset and use it to make insightdriven decisions in real-time, or more importantly at the right time, have a priceless competitive advantage

By: Michael Svilar, MD and Global Lead for Advanced Analytics at Accenture Digital and Arnab Chakraborty, MD, Advanced Analytics at Accenture Digital

Today’s global digital pulse is healthy, creating both challenges and data-driven opportunities
for businesses. Digital has enabled consumers to curate a long list of demands for companies—they must be agile, responsive, able to meet their specific wants and needs, and the list goes on. While digital has created an increasingly competitive environment for businesses, it is also producing the currency that can help a company more strategically retain and secure the demanding customers,
generate business efficiencies and uncover new opportunities: Data.

Businesses embracing the digital wave have access to an abundance of data—internal, external, big, and small—that’s growing at an impressive pace due to disruptive technologies and the Internet of Things. The company that turns this data into an asset and uses it to make insight-driven decisions is putting itself in a position to defend, differentiate, and disrupt in its market.
Being able to uncover analytics insights swiftly, in real-time, or even more importantly presenting the real-time insights to a decision-maker at the needed right time, can be a priceless competitive advantage.

MOVING FROM REAL-TIME TO A RIGHT-TIME ENTERPRISE
A real-time enterprise has a speed-oriented mindset that expedites data-driven insights—and decision-making processes and operations—across the organization to outperform its rivals. To become a true real-time enterprise, a company should look to develop an ‘always on’ mindset and transform the systems, cultures, and processes to react to business demands in real time. When a
real-time enterprise places action behind its data insights, the benefits can be spread across the organization that includes, for instance, finance, IT, marketing, and/or customer service.
Taking this a step further, when a real-time enterprise provides the right information to the right people at the right time so data-driven decision can be made more confidently, it becomes a right-time enterprise. When this occurs, the business and the customer will be able to truly feel the real-time results in tandem. Customers can, for example, receive more personalized promotions
for a product they are currently seeking or receive a better price option for a service they are presently comparison shopping. Such actions can increase consumer loyalty, helping the company’s bottom line.

ARCHITECTING THE RIGHT-TIME ENTERPRISE
To derive true business value from real-time analytics, following are the steps for an effective right-time analytics strategy:
Before diving into the ocean of data and variety of analytics technologies, a company should first align the business and set goals. To do this, a company’s business units—IT, marketing or finance, for example—should collectively decide on what decisions need to be taken in real time. This may sound like an obvious initial task, but not all business challenges would require real-time analytics and decision making. As an example, real-time insights are right-time when they can prevent customer
churn by enabling service representatives to make tailored and wanted offers to customers, but analyzing historical data to detect a past trend wouldn’t necessarily require real-time analytics and decision making.
It’s also important to discuss the desired impact the company is hoping to achieve with real-time analytics and its insights. The discussion should explore beyond selling just products to services to creating impactful value proposition for the customers—this customer-centric approach could lead to increased customer base and cascading business benefits. Once objectives are determined,
the firm should select and begin implementing the real-time analytics project that would drive the largest value for their company.
Second, a business should determine which data and technologies can help them uncover the needed insights to reach their goals. The key here is to build a modern data supply chain by combining a data service platform, enterprise data and big data technologies to quickly mobilize,
move, and manage data for consumption throughout the organization and its ecosystem of partners.
Third, to make informed and impactful decisions, the data should be easily accessible to those who need it when they need it. To support this, data visualization technologies can be used to present the data insights in a visually appealing and useful way, helping decision-makers better understand the data insight so they can make the real time decisions. Advanced analytics applications can also enable faster decision making as they place insight on users’ fingertips and can be industry-specific,
flexible, and tailored to meet the needs of the individual users across organizations.
Fourth, it is important to continually track the impact of real-time decision-making to determine if success is being achieved or if changes need to be made to the analytics strategy in place. As business goals, data types and sources, and available analytics technologies can be fluid and change, it’s likely a company will experience the need to adjust its strategy for ongoing business success.

RIGHT-TIME ANALYTICS PUT TO ACTION
Here are a few industry examples illustrating how real-time and right-time analytics can be put to use:
Retail: The retail industry is seeking and applying real-time recommendations to create a personal shopping experience for their individual customers. With added insight into individual customers’ wants and needs and channel preferences, companies can anticipate the next best action for the customer and more efficiently deliver real-time promotions and tailored offers, which can help
upsell and cross-sell products. The ability to deliver this personalized customer experience is heightened even more for e-tailers as they rely on digital consumer engagement, compared to retailers who also offer in-store shopping experiences.
Utilities: These companies are big data rich due to the data being generated by sensors and other machine-based communications. Utility companies are leveraging data and real-time analytics to improve their process automation capabilities and reduce the labor intensiveness of operations as well as enabling households with additional decision making capabilities on how to optimize
the utility consumption at the right time and enable better experience and save additional costs.
Telecommunications: Real-time campaign management can help telecommunications companies better measure and map tactics to their campaigns. For instance, services providers could learn when campaign targets are achieved in real-time; such as when a customer sent a certain number of text messages or used calling minutes. Armed with this information a service provider can offer customers on-the-spot real-time offers like upgrading data package at a discounted rate.
This can help create a bond between the customer and service provider, and at the same time, bring in extra revenues for the company. Real-time insights can also help telecommunication companies in dynamic network bandwidth management. If a service provider notices slowdown in data traffic in a particular area due to high usage, it can increase bandwidth in that area to smoothen the data traffic. This right-time action can help maintain a consistent user experience which customers value a lot.
LOOKING AHEAD
Many companies are aware of the opportunities real-time analytics can offer and the benefits it can generate for their business and consumers alike. For the companies seeking an advantage through real-time analytics, they should explore a holistic approach to transforming their systems, culture, and processes and have an outside-in perspective to determine the desired experience they intend
to deliver to customers in real-time and at the right time.
A well-designed and implemented analytics strategy can become a competitive strategy for a real-time enterprise when it enables right-time decision-making. When a company is equipped with right-time decision making capabilities, a real-time enterprise can have the tools to adapt to customer and business demands swiftly, making a direct data-driven impact and disrupting the market with innovations faster than its competition.

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