Maximizing Customer Experience is the key theme at Montreal’s annual Salon BI Conference

The impact that you can have on a client cannot always be directly correlated to a sale. Leveraging analytics to help you better understand your customer’s journey, can enable you to detect important interactions, when and where you need to engage the customer and how you can meet their needs

Customer centric approach and data access at the Salon BI and Analytics 2015

To be able to understand your customers, you have to be able to ask the proper questions about them. This was the primary theme at the 10th annual Salon BI and Analytics 2015, held at the Palais des congrès de Montréal on November 17th. As organizations continue to deal with volumes of data, including structured, semi-structured and unstructured sources, managing your customer information and leveraging this information to drive actionable insights is becoming more and more challenging for organizations. So how do they approach what is often viewed as an unsurmountable undertaking?

Evolving into an Insight Driven Organization (IDO) is a way to achieve this objective. Putting the insights you have about your customer should be at the center of how you engage with them. IDO’s view analytics as not simply a project, with a start and an end date, but instead as a core capability within your organization, leveraging analytics to drive and manage the decision-making process. The journey to becoming an IDO means aligning the five core building blocks of an IDO: Strategy, People, Process, Data and Technology.

  • Asking the difficult “crunchy” questions of your data and what insights you would like to derive from your information and whether these insights align with your organizational strategy. 
  • Understanding how leveraging analytics will impact your organizational processes is also essential to making analytics stick within an organization. 
  • Having the right people in place to manage this process-including executive stakeholders and the right mix of technical (red) and business (blue) skills to build a “Purple” team is also a major consideration. 
  • And finally working with the data and technology in an effective manner is critical to driving actionable insight.

Data access

Disruptive events are now challenging organizations and markets on a regular basis. Immediate access to clean, accurate information and data is essential to drive critical decisions in a timely format.

This goal requires having strategic governance, data governance, an architecture that will support your decisions, an ESB type of tools, an integration processes, etc. The first step consists of an access information strategy. It should be managed by the executive and it must facilitate the work of front-end employees. Its implementation should ensure that IT is present for support and not for informational development products such as management reports. IT can then focus on data quality management and integration processes.

The customer experience at the center of your organizational process

It is known that it’s more profitable for a company to retain their existing customers than to obtain new ones. To retain customers, you have to know when the important engagements occur to adapt your communication style, your marketing campaigns, your programs….

To get there, you must centralize all data sources in an information system, such as a data warehouse to get the 360 degree view of your customers. Data governance will help in the interpretation of business terms across the enterprise. It is therefore necessary to graft the business component with IT to better understand data and ensure that it delivers value.

Using analytics as a way to study customer engagements, anticipate their next steps and understand how why some customers leave, and how to acquire new ones. Analytics provide a valuable capability in being able to adapt to customer behavior and manage your business.


To stay ahead of the competition, organizations must innovate and try out new products and services that meet customer needs. Globalization means new players are continually entering the market and consumers want new products that are out of the ordinary with a variety of choices. Your company must listen to its customers and put them at the center of your business model.

Innovation sometimes works by trial and error. Do not treat errors as a standard, you must make wise choices and validate projects. Despite this, if you do not test, your competitors inevitably will and you'll end up losing market share.

Leaders must be at the center of the innovation and creation processes and encourage dialogue. Too often, there are cultural barriers for providing feedback and engaging in constructive dialogue. Put processes in place and change your approach. You can also, for example, take concrete actions like giving 5% to 10% of the time worked for your employees to make a personal project. This can be a path to innovation. Start with Proofs of Concept (PoCs) and create them in iterative mode; the value will be quickly visible on projects that come out of the lot. There are other ways like making brainstorm sessions with your employees or participate in events organized by a firm like Deloitte Greenhouse sessions.

Insight Driven Organization

We are now in the era of decision making done with predictive and prescriptive analytics and with rapid data interpretation by end users. You will need to integrate multiple sources from the Web, mobile, SMS, sensors, social networks and don’t forget the traditional databases which must apply the relevant business rules to make them profitable. Remember to adjust your decision making. You must be rigorous in your work and understand how quickly to reach your goals without planning new projects that will take years to achieve.

To add complexity, the data must be available on time. The goal here is not to add tools, but to understand the business environment and the necessary response time. You'll get there by knowing your customers. You must put the effort and encourage everyone in your company to know them by heart to be able to find in advance what they want. How to collect the data and achieve that? You need to add ways to communicate with your customers. With technology, there are new channels that you should master such as mobile or Web marketing for example.

The impact that you can have on a client is not automatically related to the sale. Understanding the customer journey can help you detect where are the important interactions that you must have with them to make sure to react correctly and to meet their needs when it’s required. They will then be charmed by your approach and you will be faithful.

Key success factors

  • Strategic driven management
  • Innovation
  • « Purple person » (Business and technical knowledge)
  • Technological Agility

Feel free to ask me questions about the best way to start your organizational change



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