Analytics & Optimization Segmentation, segmentation, segmentation

Apr102006

This post - Segmenting Customer Support Services Yields Higher Financial Returns, Says ServiceXRG - caught my eye over on the Tekrati weblog. "Customer service programs and practices based on customer segmentation yield higher support contract value and performance" This is not just true of customer support but of any interaction with a customer that might yield profit - check out a previous post on this topic. Any time you can use the data you have about customers, or third party data you can integrate, or predictions about their likely behavior in the future, to segment them you are likely to make better decisions about how to treat them and thus make more profit."less than one-third have formal strategies in place to segment customers based on service needs"Terrifying. What are the rest doing - guessing? I suspect that, in most companies,  some aspects of how customers are treated are segmented but that many are not. Even if they are doing segmentation, I wonder if they are applying it every time their interact with a customer - even if...

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Customer Engagement Pin All Your Romantic Hopes on Google – With Contextual Marketing and EDM, Presumably?

Apr092006

I have to admit that, when I first ran across this site (http://www.google.com/romance/) early on Saturday, April 1, I was taken in for at least 15 seconds - probably because I wanted so much for it to be true.  Not because I wanted to make use of the service myself, but rather it just seemed such an excellent opportunity to apply the principles of Enterprise Decision Management. For those of you who haven't yet clicked through, let me present Google's own summary: "When you think about it, love is just another search problem. And we’ve thought about it. A lot. Google Romance™ is our solution.  Google Romance is a place where you can post all types of romantic information and, using our Soulmate Search™, get back search results that could, in theory, include the love of your life. Then we'll send you both on a Contextual DateTM, which we'll pay for while delivering to you relevant ads that we and our advertising partners think will help produce the dating results you're looking for."  [My emphasis.] So how would a Contextual Date...

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Customer Engagement Welcome Ian Turvill as a guest author

Apr092006

Well it had to happen – another author joins the team. Ian Turvill, a colleague here at Fair Isaac, is an expert on applying EDM to solving marketing problems, among other things. He is also a regular collaborator of mine including some work we are doing to see if we can get a podcast series going. Welcome.

Analytics & Optimization Book Review: Use Cases – Requirements in Context

Apr072006

This second edition of the book is on how to gather and define requirements using a process based on use cases. The book outlines an iterative approach to using use cases and adapted and evolved based on real experience of using the approach. The book is well written, easy to read and very focused on practicality. I highly recommend the book for those interested in using use cases, in part because if focuses on business rules as atomic elements that are leveraged in use cases and reused across them. This helps keep use cases “cleaner” and more readable and identified a catalog of business rules that must be implemented. Business rules are not requirements, the authors say, and so should be managed separately. They correctly identify that “The major difference between developing systems 20 years ago and doing it today is that change is much more pervasive now. Changes to business processes and rules, user personnel, and technology make application development seem like trying to land a Frisbee on the head of a wild dog.” They are also very anti the...

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Analytics & Optimization Location, Location… Automation

Apr062006

In Location, Location, Location Joe Francica, Editor-in-Chief of Directions Media writes about how location intelligence can enhance BI scenarios. The article does a nice job of discussing how adding location information and visualizations of same can really enhance the value of data and ease decision-making. However, it is rather focused on "decision support" and misses the value of location intelligence in decision automation. So how would location intelligence be embedded in a decision automation or decision management environment? What kinds of examples might you see? Decision management is focused on operational or transactional decisions. These tend to be high volume and key to a specific transaction. Examples would be making an underwriting decision for a policy, approving or declining a loan, making a cross-sell or up-sell offer etc. Some of these could be location dependent. For example: A property underwriting decision could depend on whether a property is in a flood zone, too far from a fire hydrant or at risk from earthquakes A commercial...

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Analytics & Optimization Customer Loyalty, EDM and “the corner store”

Apr052006

Jim Berkowitz writes in Customer Loyalty and Profitability that "To grow truly loyal customers ... what's needed is the 'Mom & Pop Store' factor".  He goes on to say that while this is not possible the way it once was, given how times have changed, "it can be done with a database, some analysts, and a loyalty program". I think he is almost right - you certainly need a database, you probably need a loyalty program to incent customers to tell you thinks about themselves to ensure that this database has some useful information in it and you will need analysts both to derive insights from this data and think about how that insight will be applied. If you have a typical multi-channel, reasonably high-volume business however you will also need an Enterprise Decision Management approach and platform. Even if you know customers well enough to anticipate their needs you will want to be able to operationalize this anticipation by sending them offers, displaying targeted cross-sells on your website and so on. This means automating this...

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Analytics & Optimization Event Processing and Business Rules (and EDM)

Apr042006

Gene Weng sent me this great link on Complex Event Processing (CEP) - Workshop on Event Processing - Presentations and asked me some good questions. Some presentations mentioned rules as one way to process events - are they? This is indeed a key capability of business rules. Not only are business rules engines ideally suited to being event triggered they also allow for events to be filtered and combined to produce more complex events or to both send additional events and invoke other processes/services.  One of the attractions of using a business rules approach for this is that it would allow business users to collaborate with IT in the setting of the event policies. The IT folks could set up the events and data structures, typically a somewhat technical role, and then define templates for rules that business users could maintain. Thus an IT person might identify the various attributes of an event and how they can be compared or evaluated and set up a template. The business user would manage the specific instances - which attributes must have what...

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Analytics & Optimization More rules in more platforms

Apr042006

Interesting to see that JBoss has jumped on the rules bandwagon as reported, for instance in InfoWorld JBoss enhances middleware line.  Following on from the inclusion by Microsoft and Oracle of basic rules engines in their platform products this is part of an active trend for embedding rules. Despite working for a vendor of a business rules management system, or perhaps because I do, I see this as good news. Firstly it obviously validates the technology - major players in the platform and business process management space are investing in business rules technology as a way to deliver part of their solution (presumably the decisioning piece). Secondly this means that an ever increasing number of BPMS (Business Process Management Systems) and platforms have the infrastructure to support rules-based execution (Oracle, for instance, has defined "decision services" as part of its BPEL offering). This makes it much easier to integrate any rules technology with these platforms and this is key to leveraging rules across multiple touchpoints to get the...

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