When the business intelligence (BI) hype started in the mid-1990s, the idea was that everyone would have access to all of the data and would be able to create whatever reports or perform whatever analysis they would like. Reporting and analysis would become completely self-service, empowering users and freeing IT.
As BI emerged, we found that the requirements were much more complicated. Today, it is very clear how different constituencies use different parts of the BI stack. Analysts create ad hoc reports, perform analysis by using iterative queries and OLAP, perform statistical analysis and create new management reports for their group. Managers want to be able to download existing reports, rerun reports and change parameters on a report such as the time frame, the geography, the salesperson or the metrics. Managers and executive management want to see graphical dashboards that instantly and, in some cases, proactively point out strengths and weaknesses in certain business processes or metrics. Once an issue is identified, management can assign an analyst to dive into more detail in order to find out the root cause.
The kicker is, while it was once thought that 80 percent of users would perform ad hoc query, the number is really more like less than 20 percent and closer to 10 percent at many organizations. Performing ad hoc query has turned out to be much more difficult than originally thought. This fact is not completely a software usability issue; it also has to do with individuals' knowledge of the intricacies of the data, their analytical training and the amount of time they can devote to analysis and reporting each day. This same division of users is now plaguing the customer intelligence area, specifically in the campaign management area.
Someone has to create the campaigns, and that role is analogous to the BI analyst. While it was once thought that marketing managers would be able to whip out a campaign as well as their direct reports, the reality is that only a few people at an organization actually create campaigns. Campaign analysts need to be intimately knowledgeable with the data (often more than the BI analyst), and the complexities of campaigns with multiple segments, treatments and response algorithms require an in-depth knowledge of the tool. Campaign analysts are usually very familiar with BI tools, as they typically create response reports and other analysis for management.
Marketing management requires a portal to view campaigns, their marketing resources and their marketing department in various ways:
Operations. Managers need to understand what campaigns and marketing stimuli are in the marketplace currently, what stage of the processes they are in and how these marketing programs role up to specific strategies.
Resources. Managers need to understand where their financial, human and technical resources are being spent.
Analytics. Managers need to know the performance, ROI and other strengths and weaknesses of their marketing programs during program rollout as well as after the program is finished. This type of analysis coupled with their operational and resource views gives managers the ability to manage marketing as a profit center.
Marketing resource management was aimed at solving some of these concepts, but because it was also billed as a planning tool, a process management tool and a marketing portal, the vision was sometimes lost.
As marketing departments have expanded, the segregation between strategy and execution has become more apparent. Many organizations develop overall programs at a corporate level, such as materials, campaigns, analysis, segmentation models, communication strategies and quotas, and privacy policies. However, these programs are not always universally implemented. Many times, regional, segment, product or channel marketers need to implement the strategy within their own constraints and environment.
The environment is even more complex in today's connected world where partners, independent contractors, brokers or agents may be trying to market and sell products. Insurance agents, mortgage brokers, retailers and dealers who resell products want to leverage their supplier's marketing strategy and tactics.
These users need to be able to customize content, campaign lists, segmentation schemes and response models in order to create a local version of the marketing program. However, organizations complain that products that are run on a changing and limited set of parameters are too dumbed down or not dumbed down enough - difficult requirements for software companies to respond to.
One campaign management tool will not be able to satisfy all of the requirements for the heterogeneous needs of a marketing department. All of these end-user requirements need to be satisfied by the customer intelligence system. Organizations may not choose to buy every module from a marketing software suite, but they do need to plan on how to satisfy these requirements in the short term. Creative organizations may combine their marketing technology with their intranet or their BI technology. Satisfying customer intelligence users up and down the hierarchy has become a reality much sooner than it did in the BI world.
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