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Your business is dynamic. Your data should be too.


The speed of business is increasing. Executives are working to respond quickly to new buyer behaviors, new market opportunities, new types of competitors threatening to disrupt existing business models, and to harness digital technologies that are evolving rapidly.

As a result, business agility is becoming a core requirement for businesses. Not having the right data, platforms, and processes to enable business agility can be the difference between market leadership and market irrelevance.

What is business agility?

The characteristics of business agility can be simply defined as:

  1. Faster, better decision-making based on real-time data,
  2. Flexible production, staffing, and operational models that can respond to and predict changing conditions quickly,
  3. More fluid ways of working within the enterprise and with external agents such as customers, suppliers, as well as distributed people and resources.

A critical foundation underlying these agile business definitions is the access to real-time and dynamic data that enables these better insights and decisions and improves speed to market. It makes sense that if your business is dynamic, your data should be too.

Making Agile Business intelligence a core component of your BI and Advanced Analytics strategy will allow you to build a foundation with your data. Agile BI enables your analysts and executives to access reporting based on data that is real-time. Your analysts and executives can then continuously apply new business rules and explore what-if scenarios.

How do you create your Agile BI strategy?

It starts with understanding the business strategy and the business leaders’ use cases for the data. Typically, business outcomes that drive financial, operational, or sales improvements are the first areas that enterprises seek to improve through improved business intelligence. Do you have a shared vision for the business outcomes you are trying to achieve? As an example, are you working to create a more dynamic pricing model based on responding to and predicting competitors’ pricing? If the use cases are not initially clear, our team at Nihilent can help you explore the possibilities. First, we’ll look for patterns in your existing data and help you identify gaps in the process, data, and consumption of data that can drive real cross functional value from customer service/CRM to HR to Operations, as an example.

Once the initial use cases are clear, and you have an understanding of the business outcomes the business leader is expected to drive; then, you review the data. Do you have the data? Where are the gaps in data and how do you fill those gaps? It’s also important to know what business rules are in place or need to be created that will drive the decisions taken from the data.

With an Agile BI approach, you do these first steps quickly knowing that the value of Agile BI is based on a process of continuous feedback and rapid iteration.

If you have historical data to leverage, you also don’t need to wait until later phases of your BI project to take advantage of Advanced Analytics and Machine Learning capabilities. They can be part of your BI solution from the beginning enabling you to accelerate the value and ROI that you will achieve from your BI investments.

Ready to get started on your Agile BI initiative? Bring together your team of business sponsors, analysts, IT and a trusted BI partner. Then, accelerate ROI on your BI investments by creating a plan for agile, rapid, iterative BI that adjusts quickly as your business needs change.

Contact us to learn more about our Agile BI Quick Start Program. You may qualify for two free days of BI advisory services.

With Agile BI, you can more easily take advantage of your data assets to monetize your data. Download our Insider’s Guide on Monetizing your Company’s Data to learn how to generate revenue from one of your most important assets.

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Data Science – Harnessing Advanced Analytics for your Business Intelligence Digital Transformation


BLOG BY: Susan Van Riper, GNet Group

No matter what business you are in, Data Science will be a fundamental component in your digital transformation efforts. By looking at patterns in data and implementing workflows, processes, and software that can automatically and reliably turn that data into actionable insight. Data Science can give your business an advantage that is difficult or even impossible for competitors to match.

No matter which path you choose to get started with Data Science, the important point is to get started!

Here are some steps to get you started toward a data-driven culture:

  1. Find a Data Scientist. But, who is the ideal Data Scientist? The ideal Data Scientist has a diverse set of traits and skills:
    1. Statistical analysis and machine learning
    2. Statistical and mathematical tools
    3. Programming and database
    4. Data modeling, warehouse, and unstructured data
    5. Solution deployment architecture
    6. Business domain knowledge
    7. Visualization
    8. Storytelling

Where do you find this Data Scientist? The truth is that finding one person that possesses all these skills is very rare – and if you do find that unicorn – you probably will be outbid for their services. Instead, engaging with or developing a team that possesses these traits and skills is much more attainable. But, building a Data Science team is expensive. An alternative is to hire an external Data Science service; a team of experts that you can call on when you need to.

  • Assess your data’s suitability for Data Science model development. Once you have a Data Scientist on board or Data Science team engaged, you will need to determine whether you have enough data, the right type of data, or access to appropriate 3rd party data that can provide actionable insights. If you don’t have the data, develop a road map to acquire the data.
  • Prioritize Data Science activity. In the beginning, you can start with the low hanging fruit that will give you the biggest bang for the buck, so to speak. Then move on to more complex analyses and models.
  • Deploy and automate agile Data Science solutions. Operationalize your data science models to a production environment to produce actionable insights in an automated way. Add value to your Business Intelligence by incorporating predictive analyses into existing reports and dashboards.
  • Celebrate your success and iterate. Once you have a successful Data Science solution, you will need to update your models with new data continually to ensure the model continues to remain reliable and valid. And, don’t rest on your laurels. Continuously challenge the status quo. Make your data a key asset and strive to move towards a data-driven culture in all aspects of your business.
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How Businesses can Harness Intelligent CRM to Optimize Marketing and Sales Efforts


Are you looking for a new way to breathe new life into marketing and sales activities? Provide your marketing and sales teams with the rich, reliable data they need to attract new prospects and engage customers. An integrated customer relationship management (CRM) solution offers an easier way to enter, access, and use the data your team needs to improve marketing efforts, identify leads, and close more sales.

The key to improving marketing and sales results is in your data, IF you can access it. Modern CRM solutions can get you closer to the data needed so you can fine-tune marketing campaigns and learn what is really driving your customers. Download this infographic, “7 Ways to Grow Sales with Intelligent CRM,” to learn how you can optimize marketing and sales with a powerful, Intelligent CRM solution.

  1. Get to know prospects: Analyze customer responses to marketing and track buying behaviors within your CRM solution to better predict which prospects are most likely to be interested in your products or services.
  2. Encourage teamwork: Coordinating information between marketing, sales, customer service, and other departments can uncover new information to improve cross-sales and up-sales.
  3. Prioritize leads: Not all leads will turn into a sale. Score leads and prioritize prospects so your sales teams are focused on the opportunities most likely produce results.
  4. Identify buying behaviors: Business intelligence features in CRM can highlight sales trends within customer buying behaviors. Learn what customers are most interested in and which customer service activities initiate a purchase.
  5. Improve marketing tactics: Determine which types of marketing activities attract the attention of prospects or customers, and result in solid leads. Fine-tune other efforts to make a greater impact.
  6. Develop forecasting accuracy: Understanding how leads turn to sales, or why and where they fail, can provide greater insight and strengthen sales forecasts.
  7. Tap into social networks: Connect to popular social networking sites to deliver even more data to your sales team, engage with customers, and monitor both your customer and competitor conversations.

When you are able to access and analyze the data your business generates each day, you can use it to optimize marketing activities and increase sales. Download the infographic and contact GNet Group for more information about using intelligent CRM to drive sales and business growth.

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Connect Sales Representatives with Data to Turn More Leads into Sales


Your marketing and sales teams can respond faster and more accurately to both prospects and customers when connected to relevant data. Bridge the gap between your people and the customer data that they need with a robust customer relationship management (CRM) solution. Armed with the right data, at the right time, your team can strengthen customer relationships and boost sales.

Many sales professionals have their own methods for gathering and analyzing customer data. While they may understand many of the unique needs of their assigned customers, that data is not easily available to peers, the marketing department, or managers. As a result, it can be difficult to understand which sales tactics and marketing efforts are most effective or which services are strengthening customer relationships. Download this infographic, “7 Ways to Grow Sales with Intelligent CRM,” to learn how CRM can arm your sales and marketing teams with the right data to collaboratively increase leads and generate more sales.

Enhance Social and Mobile Opportunities with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Today’s CRM solutions connect marketing and sales processes with other core business data. A centralized solution, such as Microsoft Dynamics® CRM, offers an easy way for your sales team to enter, access, and analyze customer-centric data and for marketers to gain insight into specific marketing and advertising metrics. Microsoft Dynamics CRM can also connect to popular social networking sites, providing a new opportunity to listen in to what customers are saying about your business or products, while also providing a new platform to attract and engage new prospects or existing customers.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM also offers mobility, necessary for the sales representatives that spend more time out of the office than in it. When meeting with customers at the office or prospects at a conference, your mobile sales team can access product specifications, promotional offers and price schedules to quickly respond to inquiries and provide up-to-date information. As noted on the infographic, sales representatives can improve win rates up to 8% when armed with reliable data.

Connect your sales and marketing teams with the data they need to be successful. Download the infographic and contact GNet Group for more information about using CRM to strengthen customer relationships, engage prospects, and turn more leads into sales.

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Improve Marketing Campaigns and Sales with Intelligent CRM


Marketing and advertising is expensive, especially with so many new ways to reach out to prospects and engage customers. Control costs and get the results you expect from your marketing dollars by applying predictive analytics to the data within your customer relationship management (CRM) solution. By turning your data into actionable insight, you can improve marketing results and increase sales.

Many businesses rely on multi-channel marketing to attract new prospects and keep existing customers coming back. Taking advantage of a variety of methods to share a message or a promotion can put your business in front of a lot of people; however, it can also get expensive. Download “7 Ways to Grow Sales with Intelligent CRM,” an infographic, to learn how modern technology can pave the way for more effective marketing campaigns and save you both time and money.

Launch, Measure and Analyze your way to Marketing Success

A robust CRM solution, like Microsoft Dynamics® CRM, offers a reliable platform for launching marketing campaigns and capturing customer-specific information. As you launch a new marketing campaign, you can use Microsoft Dynamics CRM to capture information about activities and responses and automate the entire lead to opportunity process. Microsoft Dynamics CRM also provides built-in business intelligence, charts and reporting features that make it easier to tie prospect and customer responses to specific marketing efforts.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Long-Term Marketing Success

Evaluating the responses from customer and prospect interactions can highlight trends in campaigns or special promotions which you can then use to make improvements. You may find, for example, that certain demographics prefer online marketing efforts over print or that certain products benefit from special promotions launched at certain times of the year or in specific regions. Equally important for improved marketing tactics is evaluating historical wins and losses. Learning why a lead goes cold, or a sale is lost, is just as important as identifying which efforts result in strong sales.

Analyzing marketing and sales information using predictive analytics within a powerful CRM solution can improve marketing efforts, which can then lead to stronger sales. Download the infographic and contact GNet Group to learn how to use intelligent CRM to improve marketing campaigns and increase sales.

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