Buzzword alert! Digital transformation is without a doubt the new favorite word of business owners. It revolves around an innovative IT approach that enables inter-department collaboration, a shorter time-to-market, and higher customer intimacy. This radical change, however, only works out if you really understand what you are dealing with. We have had many internal discussions on what it takes to digitally transform your business, and we have come up with a selection of tools to get yours started. When you ask us, a digital transformation should involve DevOps, API, ESB, IoT, IAM, and analytics. In the upcoming blogs, we tell you about each of them. First up? Real-time analytics to get the most out of your big data. Based on best practices by Spotify, KLM, and B2B Jack-of-all-trades SWISSTRAFFIC.
Hold on. What are real-time analytics?
When we say “real-time analytics” (with or without the dash), we talk about the ability to gather, process, and analyze data the moment it is happening. Hence, in real time. Where normally we would store information and analyze it later on in the process, we now gain immediate insights into what was captured. Real-time analytics comes with many advantages, as it enables you to respond to changes within seconds instead of hours or even days. A quick response time comes with many advantages, for both your internal processes and your customers. Given the digitalization of both the business world and the shift to mobile, advantages are just what you need. But how do you make it work? Let us look at some real-life best practices.
Music streaming service Spotify has around 40 million users worldwide and deals with billions of messages sent every day. If the company wants to provide its customers with personal playlists and tailored advice on what to listen, they cannot afford to be anything but amazingly fast. Spotify therefore uses real-time analytical tools to process the enormous amount of data it retrieves every day. The information is used to serve customers, but also to analyze streaming behavior, which in turns leads to better customer insights and more accurate personalization. This leads to higher customer satisfaction, more users, and more turnover.
Airlines deal with information streams from many different sources on a daily basis. Take the KLM online booking website, for example. Here, they gather data on search behavior, customer preferences, and peak hours. By integrating these data with information derived from social media such as Facebook and Twitter, KLM creates an overall picture of success factors and pitfalls. But it does not stop there. KLM carefully monitors marketing campaigns per specific country and gains real-time insights into the number of people that was reached and its effect on actual revenue. This way, all activities are aligned and optimized 24/7. According to Frans Poldervaart, web analyst at KLM, internal communication is key when deploying real-time analytics. His advice? Gather your team for Digital Analytics Friday!
Wait a minute…
“Brilliant!” you must be thinking by now, “But how do these consumer-based examples relate to my B2B company?” The truth is, you probably have much more in common than you think. Despite your different customer segments, you both have customers; you both want to gain more insights into their behavior patterns; and you both want to respond to them as quickly as possible.
SWISSTRAFFIC (very business to business) does so quite successfully. They installed different technologies, such as thermal and IP cameras, Sensys (motorized traffic and cyclists, traffic signals), Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi data collection to gather Big Data and use it to predict traffic flows. As SWISSTRAFFIC is able to make traffic forecasts in real-time, they can foresee traffic jams, communicate blockages and accidents, and organize diversions. At the same time, speed analyses can be conducted, and border control can be simplified through license plate recognition and online check-in points. When you ask SWISSTRAFFIC, real-time analytics was invented to serve B2B.
Clearly, there is more to Big Data than just a lot of information. When gathered, processed, and analyzed in real-time, it is your way up. Spotify, KLM, and SWISSTRAFFIC are the living proof that anticipating customer patterns is worth the investment. It does not matter what business you are in, as there will always be customers to serve and processes to optimize. There is work to do, though, as successfully implementing real-time analytics requires a major cultural and technological switch. Your different departments must find ways to work together, by integrating their systems and aligning their strategies. This is what we call “going digital”.
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