Ventana Research was the first analyst firm to cover operational intelligence, and a while back I wrote how the products of Vitria support proactive customer service by using event data to anticipate likely impacts of operation issues on customer service. Our research into the use of analytics shows that while more mature companies have begun to adopt OI, they are mainly early adopters. In an effort to speed up adoption, Vitria has developed what it calls operational intelligence apps and it has opened up a trial program for companies to explore how they can help improve their operations using these new applications.
The tools to build the apps and share the outcomes are designed for business users. The first step, which probably will require support from IT, is to register the targeted data sources, which can be anything from structured sources such as CRM to unstructured sources such as social media or events from, let’s say, a network management system. This procedure allows business users to see the structure and content of the data sources and then, using collaborative tools, to drop and drag these into a template that defines the key performance indicators (KPI) they want to monitor. The tools allow users to pull in and aggregate data from multiple sources as input for calculating a KPI. Once set up the system continuously monitors the data sources, captures changes and produces near-real-time analysis of the KPIs. These results can be visualized in a form of the user’s choosing such as charts, line graphs or heat maps, and they can be shared with other users on their desktops, tablets or other devices. The displays can be current values, trends or predictions, and users can point and click anywhere on the display to see the underlying data. These capabilities allow users to spot hot issues or trends outside the norm, drill down into causes and take immediate action. For example, in one instance of an app, users can pull data from social media sites, analyze customer comments and identify early product or service issues to act on before they escalate.
Vitria also announced new developments to support big data. This is one of today’s hot topics, as one of our recent blogs discusses. Big data is not new to contact centers, which are used to dealing with large volumes of data – millions of call records, hundreds of thousands of call recordings, emails, letters and now millions of social media interactions. To support customer-facing activities the most important thing is speed and currency of information, because the quicker companies can determine current and likely customer behaviors, the quicker they can address potential issues before customers defect or go viral with their views. To meet this demand, Vitria has developed a two-way interface with Hadoop, the big-data technology, that can pass event or other data into Hadoop for faster analysis and then include the outputs within the applications. The event data is one of the top five big data types according to our benchmark research. In a similar way, the interface allows the two-way flow of Vitria-generated queries into Hadoop for processing, with the results flowing back for further processing. This speeds up the analysis of large volumes of data, which Vitria calls “big data in motion,” and provides user with up-to-the minute analysis of customer KPIs.
I see operational intelligence as a key component of customer-focused analytics. We are benchmarking the importance of events and operational intelligence if you want to participate or learn more, I have written several times about companies needing a complete, 360-degree view of the customer, and they must include event and operational information to reach this goal.
Richard J. Snow
VP & Research Director