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New Frontiers in Business Intelligence

Nari Kannan

How and why your Consumer Intelligence should be Real Time?

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Recently, we have all become familiar with Store Receipts printing out an invitation to a phone or online survey regarding your store experience. They offer a chance to be included in a draw for a $25 Amazon.com Gift Certificate or a draw for a $1000 shopping spree. I am guessing that these are very effective, since many times I have filled these out, especially if my experience has been outstanding or poor!

This seems a very good way to collect Business Intelligence, especially Customer Intelligence, and their experiences at your retail outlets.

Traditionally, many retail outlets and hotels have done this kind of intelligence collection through the use of Secret Shoppers. These secret shoppers visit the retail outlets or hotels without the managers and staff knowing who they are, and do an elaborate audit of different aspects of product fulfillment or service.

Recently, I had a very illuminating conversation with Borge Hald, CEO of Medallia, a Software As a Service (SaaS) company that enables these kinds of surveys, collects the data, turns it into Consumer Intelligence and provides reports online for companies to act upon them.

Medallia is enabling this kind of data collection even through devices like iPhones! This is a very effective way of collecting customer intelligence since the experiences are fresh in your mind. You are upset or happy depending upon what you experienced and the more time it takes between the experience and the data collection, the less chances that I will take the trouble to log i online and let them know what I thought. If it is available as an iPhone app, I am very more likely to do it immediately!

This is truly a game changer in collecting and using Business Intelligence. What is most impressive about these kinds of services is that many times, Business Intelligence becomes an abstract study that people on the 95th floor at the headquarters in New York pore over and make theire decisions. What is interesting about these kinds of services is that every receipt carries a unique bar code that identifies who the customer was, the date and time of the purchase and what they bought, along with the store number and the store manager! The store manager immediately gets to know what went wrong with that one individual's end user experience, and close the feedback loop by enabling that particular store manager to call the consumer and straighten things out if they need straightening out!

The difference is like an actor doing his/her play in a theater and hearing the audience reaction right there vs acting in a movie and hearing aboutit much later!

This is a new frontier in Business Intelligence where it is directed at where it can make the most difference - the last mile interface between the company and the customer!

An amazing thing, the human brain. Capable of understanding incredibly complex and intricate concepts. Yet at times unable to recognize the obvious and simple.
Jay Abraham



Nari Kannan's blog explores how new approaches to business intelligence can help organizations improve the performance of business processes--whether these processes are creative or operational, internally-focused or customer-facing, intra-departmental or across functions.

Nari Kannan

Nari Kannan started and serves as the CEO of appsparq, a Mobile Applications development company based in Louisville, KY with offices in Singapore and India. Nari has over two decades of experience in computer systems development, translating product and service strategy into meaningful technology solutions, and both people and product development. Prior to this, he has served as both Chief Technology Officer and Vice President- Engineering in six successful startups, two of which he co-founded. He has proven experience in building companies, engineering teams, and software solutions from scratch in the United States and India. Prior to this, Nari started Ajira Technologies, Inc., in Pleasanton, CA, where he served as Chief Executive Officer for more than six years. While at Ajira, Nari was instrumental in developing service process management solutions that modeled, monitored, and analyzed business processes, initially targeting the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Telecom, and Banking verticals in India, and Finance, Insurance, and Healthcare verticals in the United States. Prior to this, he served as VP-Engineering at Ensenda, an ASP for local delivery services. He also served variously as Chief Technology Officer or VP-Engineering at other Bay-Area venture funded startups such as Kadiri and Ensera. He began his career at Digital Equipment Corporation as a Senior Software Engineer. Nari has a long involvement with Customer Support and other customer facing processes. At Digital Equipment Corporation he was involved with their 1800 person customer support center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was tasked with coming up with innovative tools to help customer support people do their jobs better. He holds a U.S patent for a software invention that automatically redirected email requests for customer support to the right group by digesting the contents of the request and guessing at which software or hardware support group is best equipped to handle it. At Ensera, he led a 45 person team in developing an internet based ASP service for handling auto insurance claims, coordinating information flow between end-customers, Insurance companies, Repair shops and Parts suppliers. Ensera was acquired by Mitchell Corporation in San Diego. Nari holds a B.S. degree in Physics from Loyola College, and an M.B.A degree from the University of Madras in Madras, India. He graduated with a M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1985. Contact Information: Nari Kannan. Email: nari@appsparq.com Mobile: 925 353 0197. Website: www.appsparq.com View more .


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