The proportion of BI users that slice and dice masses of data to work out the top selling BBQ sauce in El Paso or whether umbrella sales are influenced by rain is reducing. Instead two new dominant classes of users are emerging:
- those that are fed a constant feed of up-to-the-second corporate data via their WindowsMobile/Blackberry/web browsers – perhaps with pretty dashboards, colour coded exception reporting and the ability to be “guided” to the problem (and it solution) by some form of management wizard
- and those that don’t even know they have BI.
The BI used by this second group is tightly embedded in the custom applications they use for their jobs and directly influences their actions. An example would be for a cell phone company’s call centre. Some classes of customer are far more profitable than others; having on screen metrics that guide agents to the most suitable deals to offer to retain customers that are worth keeping is a very compelling way to realise the investment in BI. Targeted cross-selling is another area where BI helps by categorising customers into aspirational groups.