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Business Intelligence for eCommerce

A Combination of Tools, Features & Reporting so you can Make Better Business Decisions
Behavioral Data Collection is Key

Business Intelligence, Reports & Comprehensive Admin

The term business intelligence is an extremely vague term. It's like saying, "Big Data." What does it really mean? And what does it mean to you and your business?  There are a number of important components of business intelligence that are key to be able to "do" anything. The purpose of business intelligence is to capture information that can aid in making smarter business decisions. That's it. It's really simple, BUT, what decisions are you trying to improve upon, and what data do you need to capture and report on to help accomplish those goals?  That's the hardest part of business intelligence. As a solutions provider, it's not enough to say, "we do business intelligence." No, you don't. You may provide a solution that helps capture data and provide it in easy-to-read reports, but it's your customers and their business goals, that have to take that data and use it to help guide them to make better and smarter decisions. 

As a solutions provider, it's not enough to say, "we do business intelligence." No, you don't.
Learnings from more than 1,000 Projects

What Best Practices to Apply

For over 13 years and 1,300 sites launched, Clarity has pretty much seen it all when it comes to the application of "BI." As many fails as wins, clients are constantly pushing the envelope of what business intelligence is, and how to apply it to their business decisions.

Here's a short list of "learnings" that we feel are important to your success with business intelligence:

 
  • There isn't one model that fits every business
  • Your IT Staff shouldn't own this project
  • Collect as much data as possible
  • Learn to analyze and iterate
Is There a Model We Can Follow?

Not One Model Fits All

Just like clothing, there isn't one size that fits all. Every business, as well as the company's stakeholders, employees, customers and business processes are unique. If you truly understand that, and that the "answers" come after months of data collection and analysis, you're well on your way to success. Many of our clients think BI is a simple module that we can turn on for them and it solves everything. We do have a module that we can turn on, but without programming it, it's just a module.

The best analogy to understanding BI, is to relate it to your Outlook Rules engine. Just because your Outlook mailbox comes with the ability to create rules, it does nothing until you start feeding it data. As your inbox starts to receive certain types of email, you start creating rules to file or archive those pieces as they come in. You never stop. You add rules very slowly over years, until it's a huge list of rules that helps you manage all of the inbound email. Imagine getting 500 emails a day and there wasn't a SPAM or JUNK folder and you didn't have the ability to create folders and rules. How on earth could you make sense of that email after a week, month or years? That is what BI is. It's learning to take these inbound pieces of data that have been collected for years and create your folders (reports), rules (BI or AI learning module), and program it so you can manage (make decisions) it all.

Stakeholders are Key to BI Success

Your IT Staff Shouldn't Own This Project

Gartner was once quoted saying, "Without business in business intelligence, BI is dead." Just like your Outlook rules, which only you can create, BI without the reason for BI is just a data collector. Stakeholders are responsible for the success of the business. Yes, they have a lot of help, but it's their job and responsibility, many having their commissions and bonuses tied directly to the success of the key performance metrics that they are directly responsible for. So to make better decisions from the data collected, those business stakeholders are the ones that have to define what data should be collected, and what insights or information that data will provide that will help them in their business decision making process.

To get started, someone should be put "in charge" of the project coordination. Someone that can go to each division stakeholder, keep the pressure on to write down the goal metrics and gather up the lists of all the data that each head needs for their KPIs. IT can then implement solutions or tools needed to collect that data. In the case of ecommerce, Clarity has numerous modules that collect data as users are on the site, including a machine learning module that can be programmed to collect unique data based on user behavior and activities visitors do on the site.

It doesn't matter what division or business unit it is, there is a set of issues that need solving or improvement, and there is a set of data, that if collected and reported, can help in the creation of the strategy to improve or fix those issues. That's the essence of the BI process. It's a top-down, business need-driven process.

No Such Thing as Too Much Data

Collect as Much Data as Possible

Over the course of more than 1,300 completed projects, we've never once heard a client say, "I wish we collected less data." That's not a thing. Among the hundreds of, "Data is king" cliches, over and over our clients have brought issues to us, and when we ask questions about quantifying those issues, commonly the data needed to get that answer doesn't exist. It's not that it doesn't exist per se. It's that it was not collected.

So what is the missing data you ask? That's unique per business and stakeholder. To help get you thinking, here are a few examples of questions that a stakeholder may want answered by data:

I wish we collected less data! Said No Client Ever
  • What products are our clients just browsing at, but not purchasing or adding to a cart?
  • How many times a week, month or year do they log in on average?
  • How long without logging in before we think they're inactive?
  • Do they ever watch the videos, download the white papers or zoom in on the images?
  • Did they open that proposal we sent last week?
  • How many tickets have they opened this year and is it trending up or down?
Make the Data Easily Accessible

Learn to Analyze and Iterate

When it comes to choosing a "BI platform," many of our clients end up thinking that they need to spend $500,000 on a monolithic, all-powerful solution. That's the second reason most companies never get started with BI. It doesn't hurt to ensure you strategically think through what you may want over time to ensure before you invest in a platform, that you've considered future expansion. The key is to just get in the game. The Clarity eCommerce machine learning module may not be "everything to everyone," but it does 95% of anything our clients have asked of us so far, especially when it comes to gathering data from a portal or eCommerce solution and integrating it into their CRM or ERP, where they can use the data to drive reports and provide the sales insight needed to make better business decisions.

What Issues Need What Data?

How to Get Started

  • Pick one issue
  • Define the data currently not collected needed to address that issue
  • Decide how to collect that data
  • Deploy the collection tool, script, snippet, etc.
  • Ensure data collection
  • Create a report to "look" at the data
  • Decide if the report allows you to analyze the data
  • Make any needed adjustments to the data collection or report
  • Implement change based on analysis
  • Hold Post-mortem, then Rinse and Repeat
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