This is the second of a three-part column that looks back at some industry forecasts I made when I started this column back in early 2001.
If you didn’t read part one, that’s just fine with me. It was the most egregious example of my limited abilities as an industry forecaster. In this column, we’ll examine two more of my forecasts, which have had mixed levels of accuracy: how smart businesses are using client data and the adoption of cross-channel integration.
Prediction No. 2: Businesses will get smarter about how to use client data.
This has proven at least partially accurate. On one hand, there’s good news on the technology side. But the user adoption side of the equation remains to be seen.
Certainly more tools are out there for cleaning data and for analyzing client data. Many types of integration platforms are available to merge and consolidate this information.
Perhaps most significant is the entry of a new type of commercial, off-the-shelf software — “analytic applications” — offering prebuilt analytical models to perform both predictive and description data modeling. The advent of analytic applications has dramatically lowered the cost of tools to construct models and execute data mining programs to predict and describe patterns and traits of customer behaviors.
With the advent of applications based on predictive modeling mark-up language (PMML), these new techniques make possible broader, widespread use and sharing of predictive models to uncover hidden trends in demand and to forecast sales more accurately.
Are businesses making use of these important breakthroughs? The answer, largely, is no.
Today, most companies still know little more about you than your name, address, and phone number. As you’re often reminded when you pick up your mail, they often get that information wrong anyway. Given the economic downturn (I know, technically the recession is over, but I don’t believe it for a second) and, more to the point, the collapse of the enterprise software market, businesses have been extremely reluctant to buy and deploy new technology.
Prediction No. 3: Cross-channel integration will still be a good idea. But it’s still mostly an idea.
Given spending in recent years on multichannel CRM systems, you’d think this projection would be dead wrong.
However, based on some customers experiences, there’s strong anecdotal evidence even large, brand-name corporations have yet to achieve the capacity to recognize customers across different channels.
Maybe it’s the same problem that impacted the previous prediction: The tools exist, but many businesses have yet to implement them.
Agree? Don’t agree? Got an interesting insight, opinion, or real-world example to share? What are your thoughts? Write me at Arthur.firstname.lastname@example.org. And stay tuned for part three.
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