Before the rise in cloud computing, social media and the emphasis on a more customer-centric philosophy, businesses relied on less agile methods of discerning customer préférences.

As such, the focus was more “internal,” and how much data might be collected, and, more importantly, how to act on its findings.

The key difference now is that the customer expects almost “instant gratification” when they use the cloud to search for “products, services and prices,” according to a The Forrester Wave(™) report on ‘Agile Business Intelligence Platforms.’

Today, marketers and stakeholders are becoming more in tune with these customer demands, whereas before the main focus attempted to extract usable data kept in isolated files on multiple programs across many desktop PCs, branch offices or within the on-premise, home office server.

Indeed, and as Forrester notes, this is the ‘Age of the Customer’ and the technology must address the convergence of technology and customer demands: businesses must exhibit “information agility.”

“…workers need to be empowered with easy access to agile, flexible, and responsive enterprise business intelligence tools and applications. However, while organizations of all sizes made significant headway over the last several decades in their enterprise BI accomplishments, many organizations still struggle with making their data and information management, BI, and analytics environments agile.”

Furthermore, it’s crucial for stakeholders to understand just how they will go about assigning meaningful metrics to business processes and customer analytics. For example, for an office supply retailer to conclude success from a given promotion because its low-priced items flew out the door is not using BI to its fullest: customers may not have purchased other high-profit margin products; consequently, when ALL of the expenses were analyzed (signage, advertising and direct marketing), the results were far from profitable.

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