Tag Archives: User Generated Content

Know what you want before embarking on BI projects

Businesses are facing more sophisticated competition in the market every day and the race is on to constantly deliver higher levels of customer service. Delivering better customer service first requires a greater insight into customers’ preferences and behaviours. Social media is a good source of additional behavioural data. This is a sound basis to develop a strategy for retaining those customers who are best suited to the organisation, while “incentivising” those customers not suited to the business, to switch to the competition.

While many organisations do not know where to start gathering information about their customers, others know exactly where this information resides- hidden in the company’s data and call centre stores and locked in sales and marketing databases, on social media sites and in back-end financial systems.

The irony is that while many organisations possess this information, it is often not usable. Companies that attempt to use this information in its ‘tangled’ format soon give up, pleading ‘data-overload’. Business intelligence (BI) gives organisations the ability to unravel the hidden knowledge in this knotted data and deliver actionable insights to the decision makers.

But implementing a strategy is not a simple task of acquiring some software, pointing it at the relevant stores of data and expecting answers to begin rolling out. In order to achieve success with a BI project a company needs to consider its key business goals and the actions that it needs to take to deliver on these objectives efficiently and effectively. BI provides the bridge between the goals and the performance. For example it delivers the insights required to enhance customer relationships through effective interactions with customers in terms of both content and medium, it streamlines the distribution of goods and services through demand forecasting, or it can reduce risk by predicting fraud or identifying consumer attacks on your brand.

With a clear understanding of how BI will underpin the business’ delivery goals over the long-term, an organisation must ensure that the supporting data has a high level of relevance and integrity and that it is intimately understood. This will ensure that it will be effectively and efficiently interrogated so as to deliver meaningful insights that can be actioned across the organisation, with the resultant outcomes being tracked and measured over time.

Best practise dictates that the company’s customer data is centralized into a single, accessible and useable repository and then analyse it. Sales data should be linked to marketing data and combined with all other data related to customer interaction, including data from back-end financial systems so that a customer centric-view of the customer can be created. This in itself is a huge advantage for the organisation, since it will identify the same customer in all his guises across the organisation’s data stores and present a consolidated view of the company’s transactions and interactions with each unique customer. To further enhance this data as a platform for analysis, it should also be enriched with relevant external market data, including key demographic variables and the like.

Having built the necessary data repository and ascertained the required insights from the analysis function to support the strategy of the business, the analysis should commence with five simple objectives in mind: who; what; why; when and where.

The ‘question’ or ‘end-goal’ could be, for example, to identify: who the ideal customers are after incorporating any hidden costs associated with servicing them. Then one can plan on incentivising or engaging with customers with these same characteristics to begin doing business with the company and encourage the non-ideal customers to move to competitors.

A good first step to this process is to analyse the company’s revenue streams and build an ideal client portfolio around each of those revenue streams, taking into consideration the fixed, variable and hidden costs associated with these revenue streams. It is imperative that the entire organisation is involved in this process.

Sales, social media behavioural data, marketing, manufacturing, procurement, delivery and management input is key to the successful implementation of a BI project and ensures that the results gained from a BI initiative are actionable across the organisation.

It is imperative that the company has the appetite to act on findings. It is pointless embarking on a fact finding mission, like that involved in a BI process, if the business is not prepared to respond to those findings by investing in or re-engineering business processes.

When it comes down to it, BI only presents real value to an organisation if the integrity of the underlying data is sound, the data is intimately understood and the organisation is prepared to action the findings. It is only after “actioning” these findings that the organisation will begin maximising the benefit from attracting and retaining ideal customers, reducing costs and ultimately becoming more profitable.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication and manage brand conversations with consumers.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za

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Filed under Business, Digital Communities, eMarketing, Enterprise 2.0, Facebook, Google, Internet, Web 2.0

Employee Engagement using the Interactive Intranet

The Interactive Intranet is an Intranet that has been enabled with web 2.0 tools in order to facilitate interactions between the organisation and its employees and communication and collaboration between the employees themselves.

It is important, as an organisation, to use the Interactive Intranet to engage with your employees rather than merely using it as a tool to communicate at them. By engaging with your employees, you enter into a meaningful conversation with them that is based on a deep understanding of their needs, interests and behaviours. This improves morale, motivation, productivity and loyalty.

The Interactive Intranet is a complex and fragmented environment that offers you multiple channels to create relationships with employees, for example in their communities of interest, forums, eNewsletters, blogs, on Twitter, Linked-in and more.

One of the ways that an Interactive Intranet facilitates this engagement is through the use of profiling. Employees throughout the organisation from the CEO, communication managers, personal assistants debtors clerks etc. should have profiles on the Intranet which they create with their photographs, contact details, qualifications, skills and experience.

These profiles should be, in some part visible to the entire organisation, in other parts visible only to those people who need to see it. For example, leave management on the profile needs only to be visible between the employee, her boss and the payroll team, whereas, when the employee is on leave, everyone needs to be able to see it so that they don’t make assumptions about what is getting done.

As employees work on specific projects, their profiles could be linked to these projects. Awards and commendations could also be featured on their profiles.

Employees should also be given the facility to blog and comment on other people’s blogs. These profiles are an important way for employees to build up their personal brands within the organisation, and for the organisation to understand the skill-sets and experience they have within the employee base.

Employees also need to be enabled to create or join communities of interest, for example a CRM forum, or an employment equity forum. Here they can share ideas and knowledge which improves their ability to do their job more effectively.

When communicating with employees you can segment your communication into groups such as “Frontline Staff”, “The Executive Team”, “Marketing” “The HR Payroll Team” etc. However with your employees’ profiles you can also use these to see the way they conduct their profiles, the projects they are involved in and the communities of interest they join. This makes the Interactive Intranet an extremely powerful tool for understanding your employees’ behaviour. This will give you a better idea of where to engage with them and what they’ll respond to.

Initially you will need to focus a lot of your energy on experimenting to understand exactly what works for your organisation and its employees. The important point to remember is that every interaction with your employees is an opportunity to learn more about them, to strengthen their relationship with the organisation make the most of each interaction.

You’ll need track the success of your campaigns and conversations to see which message employees are responding to. You also need to be tracking the employees’ routes through the Intranet once they’ve logged in so that you can understand their on-line behaviour, where do they go first, what is popular, where do they stop using the functions available to them, do they create communities of interest, collaborate on projects, search for skills, share documents, instant message etc. The use of business intelligence tools and analytics could surface some important employee behaviour patterns. You could develop a mood indicator to measure the state of your organisational culture

What is the content of employees’ public communication with the organisation? One of the most important words in on-line employee engagement is ‘relevancy.’ You need to understand their needs and interests so that you can target them with messages that are relevant to them in the work context within the time frames that they are thinking about what they are doing.

Armed with this information, you are able to filter employees through a conversion funnel that begins with communicating meaningfully with them and ends with a loyal, productive workforce aligned behind your brand.

Interactive Intranets give you the tools you need to understand your employees better so that you can constantly tweak your engagement process and address them with the right messages at the right time to deliver on your strategic mandate.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges is technology agnostic and partners with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

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Filed under Enterprise 2.0, HR Intranet, Interactive Intranets, Web 2.0