Customer Engagement Decisions, decisions, decisions

Mar132006

Phillip Britt over at Destination CRM wrote a nice little piece today about Gareth Herschel's presentation at the Gartner BI show - Decisions, Not Data, Drive CRM Improvements. I was at the Gartner BI show (see these blog entries, using the new Google search button on the blog) but I missed Gareth's presentation. This was a pity as he is a great speaker and very energized around CRM and how to make it effective. From Phillip's article Gareth was clearly focused on the importance of decision-making in CRM - if you cannot improve a decision that why are you collecting all that data? I have blogged more than a few times on similar topics so I won't repeat myself but suggest you take a look at the CRM Section of the blog. The best summary comes with this phrase:According to Herschel, there are gaps between data collection, analytics, and the technologies that aid execution based on analytics results. Closing these gaps will help enterprises gain more from their CRM investmentsIndeed this was the basis of the piece I wrote for Montgomery Research - Automating Customer...

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Analytics & Optimization Excellence in Insurance

Mar102006

Michael Voelker  wrote on Targeting Excellence in National Underwriter. He discusses how a number of companies have used BPM and rules to achieve process excellent. He identifies five key points for success that are well worth reading. Two of them seem worth highlighting especially: Target High Value Processes.This is key to showing a decent ROI but it occurs to me that sometimes people misjudge this becuase they are looking for processes each instance of which has a high value. If you are using business rules and/or BPM then you should really be considering the total value of all instances of a process. Automation often has its best return when you make a small improvement in how a high volume process executes rather than a large improvement in how a low volume one does. The Work is Never Done.Plan for change, plan for maintenance, plan for evolution. And pick technology that let's you manage this "change time" effectively.  Over and over again we see customers get the real value of business rules implementations not from the intial system...

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Analytics & Optimization Rule Taxonomy and rules engines

Mar102006

Francis Ip on the ITRedux blog posted on Taxonomy of Rule. A nice summary in many ways, though we are a long way from managing ontologies in business rules management systems - think that really comes under business modeling. Business modeling and standards like SBVR are important, as are ontologies. They are not, however, the same as process and business rule implementation. Technologies that allow business rules to be implemented and integrated with Business Process Management systems remain the best way to bring agility to process automation and thus to businesses. Having watched the CASE tool business boom and bust as too many people became interested in modeling for its own sake rather than as a way to develop better systems, I have to hope that attempts to extend the SBVR/BPMI work will not more the focus too far from rule execution in processes to rule modeling in process models. Businesses need models to develop good systems but it is still their systems that run the business and that must be improved to show an ROI. Thanks to Gene for pointing this out...

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Customer Engagement “gethuman” or not but fix decisioning

Mar092006

The Customer Relationship Blog on gartner.com had a post by Esteban Kolsky about www.gethuman.com that made me think more about the posting I made earlier today on self-service in banking.  I think Esteban is completely correct in asserting that the IVR v person debate is not the right one. The right issue is "what can I get done quickly, easily and effectively for myself" not "am I speaking to a person or a machine". If the person I speak to always has to refer me to someone else or say someone will call be back then speaking to a person does not help. If the IVR system gives me a different answer to the one I get when I do web research or talk to the branch, then its no good either. The common thread here is what have I automated to the point where a front-line employee or an IVR system can help a customer complete it. So if I have automated the process of deciding about a credit line increase then I can probably have either a person or an IVR system interact with the customer and make the decision. If I have automated the cross-sell...

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Analytics & Optimization Self-Service in Banking

Mar092006

Jerry Silva of Tower Group recently published a report on "Customer Self-Service and Retail Banking in the US: Rising Expectations, Challenges, Opportunities". Jerry does a nice job of describing the various options banks are using to deliver self-service to their customers and of showing how this is likely to grow and become more sophisticated over time. Jerry identified three main channels for self-service - call centers with IVR (Interactive Voice Response), Web and ATM. It seems to me that all these channels have their own challenges but they also have a need for a strong decisioning backbone. Let's take them one at a time but breaking the first one down a little. Call CentersIn a call center you have issues around routing, script generation issues, escalation, staff training and more. However you still need to make sure that the folks in the call center are making good decisions - how much credit to offer, which customers to offer payment holidays to etc. IVR and voice recognitionThere are many challenges in getting computers to be able to parse...

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Analytics & Optimization Live from Gartner BI (not really): Business Activity Monitoring and EDM

Mar092006

My flight was delayed yesterday and as a result I was able to hear Bill Gassman present on Business Activity Monitoring. Now clearly a business rules approach has a place in a BAM solution but Bill made a good point that the current wave of BAM projects are fairly small and most rules technology is therefore overkill. I think two things will change this and make a proper rules technology platform (or should I say decisioning platform) essential to BAM: As companies implement more and more BAM projects they will discover that they have lots of rules to manage and that will lead them to a rules management technology, as it did Sun Microsystems for instance. Companies already implementing business rules for decisioning will not want to repeat these rules in a BAM solution. If I already segment customers based on their value to me using a rules engine, I will want to re-use those rules and that approach when deciding how important an event is that relates to a customer. I also think that a proper decisioning platform should and will incorporate BAM-like problems...

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Analytics & Optimization Live from Gartner BI: Closing Thoughts

Mar082006

I just attended the last session I am going to make at this year's conference and now I have to pack up and leave. I will post some overall conclusions later but I wanted to thank a Blaze Advisor customer, Jason from First Data, for giving a great perspective on how you can use business rules to bring your analytic strategy to life - not just figuring out what the right thing to do would be but actually making sure your systems do the right thing.

Bye.

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Analytics & Optimization Live from Gartner BI: Future Trends in Business Intelligence

Mar082006

Interesting session today with Betsy Burton and Mark Beyer on future trends in Business Intelligence. Lots of good stuff on how visualization, SOA and composite applications etc will impact what we traditionally regard as the BI market. Although they touched again on the need to bring the business intelligence platform and the business process platform together, this was not the focus. Instead they stayed pretty tightly on the future of how people will gain intelligence about their business, especially on the implications for BI of the likely skills and behavior of the worker of the future. If you read this blog regularly you will know that I think this is only part of the problem. How do you free up the workers of the future so that they have time to use this information? How do you make sure that the insights you gain from your data can be applied not just by people but also in the transactions you have automated? When you bring business intelligence into the business process platform, does that just mean helping people involved in the process get access to...

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