Business analytics is all about listening to your data. The data is an organisation's key asset, and analytics is the very tool that can unlock the hidden insights from this asset, said Sunny Chu, Asia Pacific Leader for Analytics at Ernst and Young.
"It is fundamental to leverage analytics to drive strategic and operational decisions as well as gain a competitive advantage; and all businesses should strive to be data-driven. This means using data in an effective manner to drive business decisions that align to business strategies and plans," he explained.
Delving deeper into the business values it delivers, Chu said that analytics can help to improve the business processes, as well as help understand the customer better in order to boost their experience and engagement with the company. The latter is also dubbed as the "customer lifetime value" (CLV), which looks at the customer profile and buying patterns to drive future conversations.
For instance, leveraging a company's internal data (such as a customer's transaction history or basic information) and external data (such as social media activity) can help to enrich the agent-customer conversation by providing them with a clearer insight.
Despite these benefits, Chu said that there are still a number of companies who are not keen on jumping on the analytics bandwagon; and regulation concerns is one key factor that is holding them back. With the data privacy law in place, most companies think they are not allowed to use the data at all. This is a clear misconception, said Chu, adding that companies need to learn to identify which piece of data is personally identifiable information (PII) and from there, prioritise its security.
"There are some data that you cannot touch and share, and some you can. Companies need to have a better understanding of the policies so that this does not become a roadblock to them. With the law in mind, companies need to use the data at a different level to gain benefits while ensuring the protection of their customer's confidential data," said Chu. "When a customer opts in to share their information with your company, you need to know that it is okay to use that data - but not everything. Once you violate their trust and confidence, they won't share anymore data with you."
Translating insights into actions
"You can have all the perfect insights in the world; but if you cannot act on it, that data will not be very helpful," said Chu. As such, it is critical for businesses to filter the "noise" (or bad, irrelevant data) to use it effectively to our advantage.
According to Chu, finding relevant insights can only be done once you have defined a clear business strategy. There are three key elements to consider when crafting this strategy - grow, protect and optimise - and its order is dependent on the type of projects and organisations, he added.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.