CRM and Business Intelligence: A strategic approach using analytics

business intelligence: the steps from collecting customer data to win-win solutions for the business
Business Intelligence: the steps from collecting customer data to win-win solutions for the business

For some decisions trusting your gut intuition is sufficient, but the majority of business decisions need to be backed up by real data. Customer relationship management (CRM) and business intelligence (BI) are two tools that deliver the same benefits: Understanding and analyzing data to make better business decisions, improve customer relationships, forecast and impact business performance and grow revenue.

However, integrating these tools for the best outcome for your organization can be a challenge without the right approach. Gartner said it best with the following assessment:

“If you don’t design your analytics correctly, it will tell you stuff you already know and may not be very helpful to your business.”

Lack of a CRM and BI strategy hurts business

Management needs access to the right data to consistently make timely decisions at the operational level. These decisions will determine whether your organization is on top or will be surpassed by competitors. Business intelligence can transform raw data from a variety of sources to order to improve upon timely and accurate decision making. It’s important that these data sources are integrated into a cohesive strategy that aligns business objectives with IT requirements. Eliminating siloed data is a priority because only when data is consolidated can you identify the relationships and patterns for meaningful insights.

Gartner reports that organizations which have the greatest success with BI travel an evolutionary path, starting with basic data and analytical tools and transitioning to increasingly more sophisticated capabilities until BI becomes an intrinsic part of their business culture.

Steps to integrate CRM and BI for the best results

Know your customers

Understand your customers to determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) that are most closely aligned with the business’s goals and objectives. Continually reassess your KPIs to watch for changing business conditions, opportunities and competitive threats that will affect your data outcome. The millennial demographic, for example, is particularly active on social media and provides a wealth of structured and unstructured data through their social media postings, but the millennial focus will change over time. A social CRM strategy would capture this relationship to uncover trends and insights today and into the future.

Identify data sources

Create an inventory of data sources that will provide the best intelligence. Data sources can be derived from shadow systems, enterprise resource planning applications, accounting software systems, and content management software. Additional repositories, such as email inquiries and social media are another source of unstructured data that should not be overlooked.

Test and clean data

Your intelligence is only as good as the data used to get you there — or as they say, “garbage in equals garbage out.” An estimated 63% of companies do not have an organized approach for minimizing dirty data. Structured and unstructured data contain a wealth of information but only when you have a plan for how to combine it intelligently. Test your data sources for data quality and select a tool that will help you clean and maintain your data on an ongoing basis. Make the big data smaller by exporting a small number of metrics at a time to the system’s data visualization and charting features.

Measure and refine

Keep track of staff activity on the BI tool as user adoption grows by measuring your volume of users and usage of reports to understand if your intelligence is helpful. Metrics will need to be refined as your big data and adoption rate grows. Periodically add new dashboards, KPI’s and reports that are useful, and cull or change those that aren’t.

To make more intelligent business decisions that will propel your organization to be more competitive and achieve a higher ROI you need a clear plan. NexTec is an IT solutions provider that offers the guidance you need to develop a BI, CRM, and cloud strategy. We work closely with you to provide solutions that meet your unique business requirements and maximize your ROI. Use the form on the right to contact us today and learn more.

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