Our customers are responding to us in real time as they always have been. Our decision engines are now able to react to the customer in real time. And our business teams are now responding with updates to marketing strategies in real time.
Well, that last point may still be a bit away, but getting closer to real time is something we can definitely strive for with today’s technologies. The days of deferring business strategy updates to IT, with deployments happening over a period of weeks and months, are coming to an end. With the emergence of decision-strategy tooling, business users are able to make adjustments to strategies directly, with deployment times reduced to hours.
This is the new Business As Usual (BAU). But what does it really mean to have the business respond in real time?
Business Facing Tooling
Business teams need to be enabled to make strategy updates either directly in the strategy tooling or through business interfaces where they can manipulate key data elements that should cover 90% of their daily BAU tasks. The key to this type of tooling is how the technical solutions are constructed, ensuring the system is designed and built using a data-driven approach that exposes key data elements to business users for manual updating. This includes common tasks such as adding and updating offers, editing eligibility rules, and activating the various levers that impact business goals.
Allowing business users to make strategic updates themselves is crucial, but just as important is to empower the business teams with the capability to deploy those changes to production with minimal or no IT involvement.
Traditionally, IT has been involved in all or most deployments—and for good reason. Deployments typically have been a complex technical process, with a well-founded fear on both sides—IT and business teams—of inadvertently breaking the system.
But if the business and IT teams can work together up front, they can design an automated process that can be built and certified by IT to allow business users to push changes directly to production. As the business-facing tool will have been built on top of a data-driven solution, there is no longer any concern that business users will “break any code” as they are only manipulating data. As business teams now have ownership of what and when to deploy to production, they will have to take complete ownership of any issues that result from these deployments. A clear preproduction test strategy will need to be defined and executed on the business side before any changes can be deployed.
On-Demand and Alert-Based Reporting
While enabling business users to directly make their BAU changes themselves and to deploy them to production will revolutionize the BAU process, unless we also build in the ability to notify business stakeholders of changes in market trends in a timely manner, it will be difficult to respond to them. Business teams need to have access to on-demand reporting dashboards where they can slice and dice real-time data to identify and drill down into the appropriate cohorts and segments. As sifting through mountains of reporting data can be a time-consuming process, this brings up the need for alert-based reporting. Alert-based reporting is an automated process of constantly polling data in the system in real time to identify when particular thresholds have been met. These thresholds are set and managed by the business teams and will trigger an instant notification, such as an email or a text message, alerting any key stakeholders of negative trends needing immediate attention.
The new Business As Usual is here, and its goal is to get business teams as close to real time as possible. This means not only enabling business users with the appropriate tooling to manipulate strategies, but the ability to deploy changes when they want, removing or at least minimizing IT as the middleman in the process. However, even the most responsive tooling in the world is limited if business stakeholders are not notified in a timely manner of shifts and changes in market trends, making on-demand and alert-based reporting an essential ingredient in getting to real time. Empowered with the right tooling, a business-controlled deployment process, and real-time reporting, business teams can respond to market conditions quicker than ever before.
Director of Decisioning at Comet Global Consulting
David provides best practices on decisioning and centralized customer interaction strategies for large-scale organizations around the world.With an equal balance of business and technical skills, David drives solutions that result in a single, unified, omni-channel strategy, while moving organizations towards a real-time, personalized, customer-centric view of the world that transforms how businesses interact with their customers.