If you have ever shopped at Amazon you may have noticed a “Featured Recommendations” section that appears after your initial visit. These recommendations get automatically updated after the system notices a change in the shopping pattern of a particular member. This is real-time analytics at work. The system is using the data at hand and coming up with suggestions in near real-time. With more companies investing into a mobile business intelligence initiative, real-time analytics is an essential requirement to ensure a good return on investment.
I think that the implementation of a solution to get real-time analytics could be a costly endeavor. This would require implementation of technologies like Master Data Management and delivery options like cloud and/or mobile BI. Cloud BI presents its own set of security concerns, which is why some of the region’s largest companies are hesitant to implement such a solution. According to one BI manager, the company’s executives do not support the notion of putting their data into the cloud without the implementation of certain security measures. Their need for a mobile BI strategy would require security that would enable the company to delete everything from a device if it is stolen or misplaced.
Insurance companies and retail stores can greatly benefit from such technology. The off-site sales reps will be able to see current information about potential customers including updated life changing events right on their mobile devices, which would increase the likelihood of either gaining a new customer or retaining an existing one*. In-store managers at grocery stores can get a real-time report about slow moving items allowing them to increase sales by changing displays. Real-time analytics can be on-demand where the system responds to a certain request by an insurance sales rep or it can be a continuous hourly report to the store manager of a grocery store**.
Overall, real-time analytics gives a company a competitive advantage over its rivals but requires heavy investment into the implementation of the technology and the guarantee of proper security measures being put in place with delivery options like the cloud. This information is helpful for quick decisions, but companies should still make all major decisions by looking at historical data and studying the trends.
*Pat Saporito, “Bring your Best”, Best’s Review, September 2011
**Jen Cohen Crompton, “Real-Time Data Analytics: On Demand and Continuous”.