Are Historical Reports Becoming Obsolete?

Monday, 17 December 2012

Posted by: Dunc Smith, BI Administrator, Stellar Europe

Traditionally, in a contact centre customer management environment, we display reports which look back in time at events which have already passed. To some degree, this behaviour is habitual and serves to provide reassurance that “we have the numbers”.

The reports give us that warm feeling that we “know where we stand” in the grand scheme of things. Nevertheless, what do they tell us about what is really happening?

Are we looking backwards to confirm what we already know, or are we trying to imagine what might happen in the future?

Of course, historical information can assist with strategic planning, but what does it tell us about the “here and now”?

Presentism declares that only events and entities that occur in the present actually exist. Eternalism, on the contrary, asserts that historical events tangibly exist. Of course, time travel aside, we cannot change the present by altering the past.

Future history, ironically, is the accumulation of present events, and in grabbing these we establish a firm grip on future outcomes. It can be argued that what is vitally important for a business is precisely what is occurring at this very instant in time.

What if we could act on purpose-built real-time alerts without having to trawl through screeds of analysis?

Business Intelligence*, in its purest sense, enters the fray at this point. The latest incarnation of Stellar’s Business Intelligence system - iQ, soubriquet E.Qu.i.P, tackles information in a new way by firstly presenting both time perspectives, past and present, within the same “frame of reference”.

Crucially, the significance of each alert is measured using statistical calculations in applying probability theory. In the same way as we can predict the result of a coin toss or a dice roll, we can apply these principles to customer contact Key Performance Indicators. In this way we are, in a sense, predicting the future and impeding it before it’s too late to do so. From a contact centre customer management point of view, we are reacting to the current trends as they unfold to improve today’s outcomes: sales results, quality, customer satisfaction, handling times, wait times, call dispositioning etc

People are always saying “live for the present!” or “don’t look back!” or “don’t dwell on what may happen!” This life philosophy, Stellar argues, is precisely what we should embrace in business, and by inference, business intelligence.

The subject matter of business intelligence is reminiscent of the Mission Impossible film catchphrase “This message will self-destruct in five seconds”. The present passes in the blink of an eye. Our past is behind us already. The seeds of the future are here now. Think about it. Pay close attention. Let us harness the knowledge we can glean from the present as rapidly as we can and take the proper actions. May we utilise the technology at our disposal to react swiftly and decisively. Who knows, we might just have some fun in the process.

In the same way that a satellite navigation uses up to the minute data on current locations, future route, likely speeds etc to estimate an arrival time at your destination, business intelligence can be used to predict sales results, quality scores, customer satisfaction etc. By representing these predictions of future outcomes for the day, week, month in real time, we give our contact centre staff the opportunity to adjust their behaviours and tactics to attain better outcomes. After all, who doesn’t try to beat the Sat Nav projected arrival time?

* Intelligence: “The capacity to acquire and apply knowledge. The capacity for understanding and the ability to perceive and comprehend meaning



Tags: Business