Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Delivering on the promise of business intelligence and operational analytics

There is a revolution taking place in the world of business intelligence and operational analytics. Status quo is no longer acceptable. Companies need greater visibility into what is actually going on in the business.

They need depth. They need flexibility. They need it quicker. And they need it to be financially possible (cost effective).

To remain competitive in today's real-time, on-demand business environment, enterprises simply must tap into the data they generate to gain more visibility into business metrics -- such as revenues, expenses, and operational efficiency -- while comparing business segments in real time to identify best practices and/or areas for improvement.

But to date, business intelligence solutions that promised this much-needed visibility just haven't delivered. Projects are measured in months and years, and require vast amounts of specialized resources and budget.

Applications that do make it to end users don't often meet their needs. Reliance on Excel is rampant. Low-level tool vendors are promising that they can deliver on the complexity and scale requirements of enterprise-scale analytics, but they can't. The result? Frustration. Lack of capability. Lost opportunity.

Data remains locked in siloed enterprise systems, and hard-charging decision makers still pine for a future when ground-level changes in the business are visible in real time so that positive trends can be leveraged, or negative trends that impact the health of the business can be quickly triaged, diagnosed, and reversed.

With all of the strides that have been made in the technology and IT arena, it is perplexing that advanced reporting, operational analytics, and business intelligence haven't reached the point where mass deployment, intuitive interfaces and features, and dynamic data access are practical and possible.

Consumers can track spending in real time via easy-to-read dashboards in personal finance programs such as Quicken or Mint, but C-suite executives can't do the same with corporate activity and spending. It's frustrating and confounding for end users, management, and executives alike. The solution to the problem requires experience, thought leadership, innovation, and an end to status quo approaches.

At HardMetrics we focus on performance management -- the measurement of what a business has done, the determination of what went well and what didn't, the identification of what happened where, and the diagnosis of what is required to extend and exploit the good and fix the bad.

The analytics we deliver are a subset of the larger business intelligence segment. We focus on assisting customers to optimize sales, customer service, and overall operations. These processes require customer interactions and are highly dependent on call centers and other multi-channel communication methods.

By focusing on call-center-driven organizations, and single-mindedly working to make our solution deep-thinking and rich-featured, yet easy to implement and use, cost-effective, and flexible, we've successfully bridged the gap between data challenges and decision making for our customers. We've enjoyed great successes and accomplishments in our space, and are fortunate to have signature clients such as Motorola, Telerx, TCIM Services, NOVO1, and AAA Auto Club South (to name a few), who rave about our solution, our team, domain expertise, and our support.

On this blog, we plan to answer many of the questions that have dogged analytics and business intelligence, and share case studies of how cutting-edge enterprises, and specifically call-center-driven businesses have deployed performance management and operational analytics solutions to enhance revenue opportunities, increase operational efficiency, leverage best practices across the organization, and identify and fix underperforming operations.

In addition, HardMetrics is the third company that I have worked to build successfully from the ground up, so I will share some of my insights as an entrepreneur on how to launch, nurture, and grow mature software companies.

HardMetrics has some of the software industry's leading experts on analytics, performance management, and business intelligence. People such as Brian Turley, Joe Przybylowski, Stan Mentzer, and Ronn Perkins. They will also contribute their expertise and know-how to the blog, and will select guest columnists from our customer base.

Why listen to us? Because we believe we are one of the few companies in the world that has cracked the code, enabling our customers to quickly, cost-effectively, and successfully deploy enterprise-scale business intelligence solutions that change the game for our clients.

Because we eat, sleep, and breathe this stuff. Because we are rooted in performance management and have extensive domain expertise in sales, service, operations, and call center processes. And also, for purely mercenary reasons: We hope to earn your trust and your business as our client.

Have a burning question about performance management, operational analytics, or business intelligence? Want to know why consolidated analytics and reporting is such a challenge? Need to understand why in this age of technology most global organizations still have vast numbers of critical resources dependent on Excel for daily decision making? Looking for ideas?

Leave your questions and feedback in a comment on this post. And watch the blog for posts that will touch on every detail of the business intelligence world.

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