Based on experience working with innovative companies using customer analytics to gain a competitive advantage, We have developed the following list of five (5) questions you should ask yourself when evaluating a customer analytics platform for your organization. An effective, comprehensive customer analytics platform will meet each of these five criteria.

The key to unlocking the value of your customer data is analytics—and choosing the right analytics platform is critical to your business’ success. This buyer’s guide will help you understand what to look for in a customer analytics platform so you can leverage the value hidden in your customer data and create stronger, long-lasting relationships with your customers.

Question #1: Can you incorporate all types of data you collect about your customers, regardless of where the data is stored or located?

When evaluating customer analytics platforms, ensure that the solution enables you to:

  • Access all the types of data sources relevant to the business problem, from Big Data and cloud data to local data, corporate data warehouses and social media streams;
  • Include and process data of different types, including unstructured, semi-structured, structured and spatial; and
  • Integrate, cleanse, and prepare the data for analysis.

Question #2: Do you have access to the right third-party data to segment your customers and find new prospects?

When evaluating customer analytics platforms, ensure that the solution enables you to:

  • Enrich your existing internal data with high-quality, third-party demographic, firmographic, segmentation, and geo-location data;
  • Incorporate this third-party data as seamlessly as your internal data within a single analytic workflow; and
  • Reduce costs with bundled, integrated data rather than adding on separate third-party data packages.

Question #3: Can you get the customer insight you need within a single analytics platform?

When evaluating customer analytics platforms, look for a solution that drives the entire analytical process in a single tool, so you can:

  • Unify analytic workflows—from data integration to analytics to sharing of analytic applications—dramatically reducing not only the time to create analytics but also the time to iterate or improve them; and
  • Reach a specific answer quickly, before the customer behavior or the market as a whole changes.

Question #4: Do you have access to the right types of analytics that help you make the right decisions?

When evaluating customer analytics platforms, you should look for a solution that enables you to:

  • Access a wide range of statistical, predictive, spatial and other advanced analytics tools;
  • Make these tools accessible to a wide range of decision-makers within your enterprise, without steep learning curves or complicated code writing;
  • Allow users to leverage the vast amount of open source predictive models that exist using the R statistics and predictive language; and
  • Embed these analytics into analytic applications quickly and easily, delivering their power to users while hiding their complexity.

Question #5: Are the analytics tools easy enough to use so you don’t have to rely on IT resources?

When evaluating customer analytics platforms, you should look for a solution that enables you to:

  • Give data analysts in the line-of-business access to sophisticated, predictive customer analytics without relying on scarce IT specialists or expensive data scientists;
  • Allow more casual, less frequent consumers of analytics to easily incorporate data and selections relative to their needs and get results quickly, without requiring knowledge of the underlying analytical workflows; and
  • Support the IT department’s need to control access to data but allow them to offload development of analytics to the individual departments that are most familiar with the data and business problem at hand.

Your relationship with your customers is more important today than ever before, and every interaction provides deep insight into their behavior, attitudes, and opinions—insight that you can leverage to improve customer relationships—and your competitive edge. Using customer analytics, you can leverage and unlock the value in the increasing volume of customer data, but you need the right customer analytics platform to help your organization succeed.

To transform your organization from one that merely possesses customer data to one that extracts real value from it, analytic capabilities must be placed into the hands of business analysts and business decision-makers. These people may not have PhDs in data science and statistics, but they know your business, understand what data is relevant to it, and are smart about what they need to get done. With Advanced Analytics, you can make data more accessible, more usable, and more experiential, thereby empowering your employees to make better, more informed, impactful strategic business decisions.