Mike Turner, director at professional information services provider Wolters Kluwer, used business intelligence software to pre-empt the impact of the recession.
Mike Turner, director at professional information services provider Wolters Kluwer, used business intelligence (BI) software to pre-empt the impact of the recession.
By feeding his BI system with data from the Office for National Statistics, along with the company’s own historical records of the behaviour patterns of customers during previous recessions, he was able to determine their reactions this time around and tailor the products offered by the company accordingly.
Turner explains: ‘It suggested that people were more likely to make enquiries about redundancies rather than disciplinaries. So our response was to put together special packages and helplines that only had a lifetime during the recession.
‘We installed the BI framework around six years ago and have since added to it. I would like to believe that it has added value to the company and that we would have been a lot slower to react to the recession without it,’ he says.
Turner says that because of the amount of data involved, the company needed a predictive analytical model. ‘There are a lot of variables, so it’s really about identifying which ones are telling us something meaningful and presenting that information in a digestible way.’
Tristan Rogers, the managing director of software company Concrete, says that BI has enabled him to closely monitor the service customers receive: ‘It’s effectively a reports engine that maintains access and response times for customers. There is no easy way to just log in and check that everything is ok.
‘It acts like a heart monitor and gives us the green light that everything is performing as it should be, or not. To have a simple traffic light system can be very useful, especially when you are busy and there’s limited time to chase everything.’
The key to the success of BI is to be crystal clear about the information you require. ‘BI enables you to produce hundreds of reports, but information is not the same as knowledge,’ says Rogers. ‘The most effective way to use it is to identify the key areas you want to address and stay focused on those.’
Without BI data, Rogers suspects that the company wouldn’t be able to keep track of the business’s shifting information. ‘We’d be in breach of customer agreements,’ he says.
For Turner, BI is less about quality control and more of a tool to identify new opportunities. ‘We often have contracts lasting up to five years. When those contracts are up for renewal, it’s important to anticipate how those customers’ businesses have changed so our sales team can be informed about the sorts of products they might need.’