I’d like to start this blog post by quoting Geoffrey Moore from his paper A sea of change in Enterprise IT, “Systems of Record are no longer a source of competitive differentiation, but a necessary condition of doing business. The next stage enterprise IT will be enabled by Systems of Engagement that overlay and complement our deep investments in Systems of Record”. While Moore was referring to the business impact of third generation communications complemented by new collaboration capabilities, I believe his sentiment applies directly to the future of analytics.
In the past companies have spent huge time, effort, and investment in optimizing their business around transactions (systems of record), with relational databases and BI & Reporting tools being the big winners. In the future we are going to see the focus shifting to the optimization of the business around people and their interactions (systems of engagement); customers, partners, or employees. The future of business analytics will be all about overlaying systems of engagement on top of the systems of record to generate a more complete, holistic, and real-time actionable view of the business.
Today’s business analytics is all about analyzing transactions so we can quantify what’s happened; taking sales as an example, analytics can tell you the average close rate, time to close, deal size, across product, industry, territory, or sales rep, and how these numbers are trending.
Tomorrow’s business analytics will be about analyzing interactions so we can truly understand how & why something happened; it will know how deals are being closed, who’s involved, what they are doing, how they are interacting, what content & data they are using, and will be able to recognize the interactions that characterize successful deals — the people, skills, relationships, activities, content, data, strategies, etc. This will inform real-time business decisions, allow us to structure the business around successful work practices, combine the right mix of skills to maximize optimal business outcomes, and recognize the valuable data, knowledge, and networks as they directly relate to business results.
However this type of analytics-optimized business can only be realized by the socially-enabled enterprise that can generate and capture interactional data and integrate it into their business analytics. To finish up with another quote from Moore “You have to grab onto the new communication and collaboration systems or you will simply end up as roadkill”.
So this is the future of business analytics, and its all about interactions! :-)