Move from business intelligence to intelligent business, Teradata User Group advised

Companies are getting very good at collecting business intelligence—but too few are using it to change the way they interact with customers.

February 13, 2013

Companies are getting very good at collecting business intelligence—but too few are using it to change the way they interact with customers. Addressing delegates at the Teradata User Group hosted by Bytes Systems Integration in Midrand recently, Teradata’s Rob Armstrong argued that companies must use data to become intelligent.

Bytes Systems Integration is part of the Bytes Technology Group, which is wholly owned by JSE-listed Altron, and is the sole local distributor of Teradata’s products.

“An intelligent business is able to adapt to change and challenges,” Mr Armstrong said. “It does so by getting the data in the moment so it can react as things happen.”

In his definition, an intelligent business is one that is relevant to the moment, understands the outcome the client desires and is responsive to that desire, and that can predict the near future.

An example would be a client visiting an ATM, to be informed, “Sorry, there is a problem, please try again later.” In Mr Armstrong’s opinion, this presents the company with an excellent opportunity to use data it already holds to deliver exceptional service.

“You might tell me when you expect the machine to be running again, or even better offer to send me an e-mail or text when it is—you know who I am,” he said. “You could also indicate where the closest other ATMs are or, even better, offer me the use of the ATM from the competing bank next door with a waiver of the fee—after all, you know I’m there because I want money, and perhaps it is urgent!

“Businesses are doing this kind of thing now—and if you’re not, you are going to lose customers when somebody else does.”

Mr Armstrong advised delegates to learn to think like customers and to try and do business with themselves. “If you don’t have ‘secret shoppers’ testing your systems and what your customers experience, then you should consider it,” he said.

Speaking at the same event, Teradata’s Industry Director for Financial Services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Andy Wolstenholm, sketched how banks could use data to meet their customers’ agenda and increasingly onerous regulatory requirements. Digital data, increasingly derived from intelligent, connected objects, was set to flood the planet.

“The question is how to understand it better and use it more effectively,” he said. In the process, the way we live and work will change radically. One example of this type of change would be a doctor “prescribing” a mobile app to help a patient manage a treatment regime. If this information is then in turn fed back onto the doctor’s own system, the regime can be monitored and further interventions undertaken.

In this world, agility and speed will be at a premium and IT organisations will need to develop new methodologies to deliver projects much more rapidly.

At the user group, Vodacom and Standard Bank also presented case studies, showing how they are using Teradata to harness the power of data to achieve competitive advantage.