Business Intelligence: the changing face of implementation

Any Head of Marketing dealing with multiple databases in medium-sized businesses will usually be working toward having a Single Customer View and Business Intelligence Hub, or will at the very least know what they are and will see the advantages of having them.

So the issue is not one of ignorance of the benefits on the part of the marketing fraternity.  But if that’s the case why don’t more companies have them?

Well, the gap between knowing what is wanted in theory and implementing it in practice can be quite daunting.

Let’s face it pulling together disparate data and systems from all over a company is complex on a project management level.  It requires buy-in from Board Level colleagues, many of whom have other quite understandable priorities - hitting their own immediate kpi’s, protecting jobs or making an impact with their own initiatives.

And when this is coupled with a common view that marketing is a ‘financial overhead’ rather than a key competitive differentiator, and that these projects represent quite a substantial investment, you start to understand why Single Customer View projects stumble from obstacle to obstacle, late to completion, bloated from scope creep, and just in time for the Marketing Head to move on.

But this situation is changing for three reasons.

Firstly, it’s changing because Single Customer Views and Business Intelligence Hubs are no longer seen as a marketing ‘vanity project’, but rather as a business-wide capital investment that drives higher returns and more profit to the bottom line.  So it’s becoming more and more common for CEO’s and Senior Managers to initiate and sponsor the project independent of their marketing colleagues.

Secondly, the investment necessary for implementation has reduced significantly in the past twelve months.  Until fairly recently a project sponsor would have had to approach one of the ‘Big Boys’ from London or Manchester, and would have been looking at an expenditure of at least £100,000 plus.  That’s because technology providers have made a significant investment in bringing all the skills, experience and physical technology in-house, and are trying to claw back their investment.  This no longer applies either.  Today the technology can be bought by a provider ‘off-the-shelf’ and designed, built and implemented locally.  

Today that minimum cost has been reduced to around £35,000… a 65% saving.

So today the only realistic restraint is finding a Data Scientist that is good enough to understand the data thoroughly.  Now let’s not underestimate this… that’s really hard outside of London.  London pulls them into its orbit like Jupiter sucking in blazing comets.

And that’s why we’re seeing something new happening.

The third reason is that it’s easier for CEO’s in mid-market businesses to simply outsource the implementation, hosting, analysis and data modelling to an agency that can do the job and that already has Data Scientists.

This neatly side steps many of the issues of trying to bring it all in-house, whilst at the same time opening up a wealth of insights into prospects and customers, with all ensuing opportunities to increase response rates, sales and ultimately profits.

The sponsorship of Single Customer Views and Business Intelligence Hub projects has definitely changed.  It’s now seen for what it really is… a business investment that needs to be led by the CEO, and which will not only improve a company’s bottom line, but differentiate its communications from its competitors and help the company survive and thrive in an increasingly unpredictable business landscape.

For more information on Single Customer Views and Business Intelligence Hubs call us on 0191 482 8830 or email


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