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Few would argue that the customer is king. However, these kings are even more powerful as providers focus on market share to ride out the recession, then ARPU gains to achieve better-than-average market growth in the recovery period.

Throughout this transition, providers are making strategic investments to improve the customer experience and therefore better position themselves to achieve short-term and long-term market and financial performance gains. These gains include reducing operational costs and adding customers in near-saturated markets, avoiding churn (particularly for high customer lifetime value customers), accelerating penetration across product lines, driving increased revenue per customer and customer lifetime value.

In an attempt to support these goals, providers have focused on two areas of investment: business intelligence software to provide stakeholders and executives analyses, dashboards, and reports that show the baseline realities and subsequent progress on customer KPIs, and predictive analytics that use complex algorithms to predict customer behavior to help guide marketing and other programs. Both of these investments have proven their value over time and can provide a meaningful analytic backbone.

However, these capabilities miss a critical factor in what truly shapes the customer experience and actions in the first place. Organizations must first understand how customers transact and traverse across the large, complex order-to-cash process, from marketing programs through to billing, customer care and field service. This is where the customer lives, and where the strength -- or lack of strength -- of the provider's entire order-to-cash process can either enhance or erode the customer experience.

Process analytics, in this case customer-based process analytics, deliver transaction-by-transaction, root-cause based analytics to determine if the sub-processes and systems that comprise the order-to-cash process are operating optimally and whether they are supporting or inhibiting the overarching customer experience goals. They can also provide a more complete view of the implications and value of upstream marketing programs.

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