Complementing Business Intelligence for Data-Driven CRM

Report analytics allows business users the get the data they need to react quickly to changing customer needs.

Many companies are unknowingly leaving money on the table simply because they put their effort into generating new business instead of growing existing customers. With estimates claiming that it can cost six times more to attract a new customer than to maintain and expand a relationship with an existing one, this is just bad business-especially given the incredible insight that already exists within your organization.

The underlying issue is that while business users often have all the information they need, that information resides in existing reports and business documents scattered throughout the organization. Since they have no easy way to dynamically organize, integrate, and analyze the customer intelligence trapped in these static documents, they are often left with less than ideal options when trying to make the data actionable.

As a result, companies of all sizes continue to grapple with capturing and presenting the information they need in an engaging, understandable, and usable format. In an effort to make more informed business decisions, many departments and line-of-business users have turned to business intelligence (BI) solutions as a way to mine data for both reporting and forecasting purposes and to address increasing business issues.

BI alone is not always the answer. Although BI software can provide advanced reporting and predictive analysis, for many day-to-day reporting tasks its sophisticated functionality is overly complex. For tasks like these, business users and self-service "CRM data consumers" may find the technical challenges of BI a deterrent, forcing them to rely on IT to generate custom reports.

A new category of solutions within the BI market called report analytics is aimed at those data consumers. Report analytics software leverages an organization's existing reports and reporting processes, and delivers data within a self-service environment. This allows these data consumers to extract the relevant intelligence from any combination of existing documents and transform that information into dynamic, interactive reports for easy analysis and visualization. Whether the reports or business documents originate inside an enterprise or from external sources like customers or suppliers, report analytics is designed to allow business users to create, distribute, and publish these reports without time delays or involving IT.

Additionally, while IT is off programming custom reports, the business requirements for data consumers who need to react quickly to shifts in external customers' needs and expectations frequently change-meaning the data business users receive in their custom report may not help them solve their particular business problem.

Businesses today may be awash in valuable data, yet their teams are unable to use it to better manage customer relationships and increase business performance. So, while your sales and service teams may be serving customers effectively, are they actually spending the bulk of their time serving the most important ones-and are they using all available information to engage with them better? Report analytics is a smart approach in today's economy. It enables business users and CRM data consumers to get the data they need out of existing reports and access all available data assets and, more important, use it to grow the value of their customers.