As we enter 2020 and a new decade, I’m very excited because data analytics is one of the most critical areas companies must leverage for competitive advantage. Analytics and data have made their way to the executive suite to help inform key decisions that are now being made across all business functions. With the great advancements being made in this space, I want to share my thoughts on four areas we’ll see breakthroughs in 2020 and beyond.
#1 – Predictive intelligence - Sales and marketing functions are integrating digital and in-person interactions to form greater customer understandings at an ever increasing pace. Companies are making big bets on blending this data together with fitness data (firmographics, technographics, purchase history) and intent data (3rd party digital behavior data) to better identify ideal, profitable customer profiles and tailor content toward them. In addition, predictive intelligence will play a greater role in a brand’s ability for customer retention and renewals, loyalty, ability to upsell, cross-sell, get them to advocate and generally expand their business.
Also, knowing where and when customers engage with the competition will help identify early warning signals that demonstrate a potential competitive threat. These predictive models will help align the customer’s real time business challenges with products and services that address their immediate needs.
#2 – The empowered organization - Businesses are using data and analytics to manage the business across the go-to market functions. With companies spending millions of dollars across sales and marketing to drive revenue, it’s critical that data and analytics empower timely data-based decisions that help squeeze optimal returns for every dollar spent on go-to market execution. Data and analytics go hand-in-glove with consistent global processes, measures, and a single analytics platform can help pave the way for a transparent enterprise at all levels and drive a greater empowered business environment.
#3 – Automation of data governance - Keeping data governance front and center will continue to grow in importance. Governments across the globe have data security as a key focal point and questions about how to protect personal data and track anonymous digital footprints will continue to be discussed and debated by regulators and law makers.
The challenge is that no global standard will be in place for data protection and governance. We in the analytics community need to utilize data responsibly and be in compliance so that our companies, employees, and customers are not at risk. I anticipate more technology advances in data and analytics platforms will help drive better automation on data governance, rather than leaving businesses exposed to potential human error. This will allow companies to experience the rewards of data and analytics while simultaneously being responsible and trusted data stewards.
#4 The Intelligent Sale – A complete digital customer experience from awareness to procurement may be old news in the B2C place, but in a complex B2B environment, this still remains more of a challenge. Nonetheless, I believe the same experience is within reach. The complete automation of the demand-to-procure process (The Intelligent Sale) will be a focus point for B2B organizations.
With the insights we get from predictive intelligence, companies will know what products and services customers are interested in. This data will connect to configuration, pricing, and quoting processes to automate a proposal for a customer. The customer will then have the opportunity to accept the quote or adjust it, move onto the procurement process, and then close the deal. All this can happen without any interaction from a sales rep. While there are several areas where this is taking place today, it will be taken much further. The Intelligent end-to-end sale does present some challenges, but it’s an ideal opportunity that leverages data and analytics while saving time, money and human resources.
Technology and analytics platforms will continue to advance and play a large part in the constant evolution of how we use structured and unstructured data. Ultimately, the data and analytics community must prioritize our responsibility to think ethically about the consequences of this space and leverage these breakthroughs for positive outcomes and help make our world a better place.
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