The term digital transformation was coined decades ago to express the use of digital technologies as a way to replace and transform older methods to promote efficiency. Throughout the years, more systems have gone through digital transformations including buying through eCommerce, ordering food through delivery apps, or using wearable activity trackers to analyze exercise results through IoT. In a company, the same kinds of transformations can be seen, like advertising through social media instead of print ads, using a chatbot for customer service instead of a person, or presenting a customer with options based on their previous behavior. It should be noted that a digital transformation is not simply the technology put in place, but the entire process that gets set up around using it.
An increasingly popular way for companies to expand their digital transformation efforts revolves around the use of self-service analytics – simplified interfaces and BI tools that can be used just as easily by business professionals to make queries and gain insights, as IT workers. If everything is about the world’s processes becoming more digitalized, than spreading the capacity to harness insights to everyone is a big step in an overall digital transformation.
Digital transformation for business users and customers
A digital transformation cannot be as far-reaching when it only involves part of a company or doesn’t include end users. Self-service analytics drives digital transformation by spreading use of BI technology throughout a company and to customers as well, something that was much harder to do when analytics solutions were made in a more complicated way necessitating in-depth technical knowledge. It also brings an entire staff (and/or customer base) on board in understanding the importance and benefits of analytics by allowing individuals to participate in extracting insights for themselves to see the difference it makes to their own particular job responsibilities or life situations.
Let’s say we’re talking about a cellular company that has a number of franchise locations all around the country, and one main corporate headquarters. Now let’s say the corporate headquarters adopts an analytics platform that can be used by its franchise locations, giving access to relevant analytics breakdowns to each of its different sites. The specific locations can now serve themselves immediately with the information most pertinent to them instead of waiting months for reports from headquarters or requiring IT help. Now everyone at the cellular company is capable of accessing the data important to them, creating a full digital transformation in how information is shared throughout the company and its franchises.
Self-service analytics plays a role for end users as well. Let’s say you’re a cellular customer and you get a bill that looks a little odd. If the cellular company has no interface for you to access your own data, then figuring out what happened with the bill could mean a lot of time spent on the phone with customer support. On the other hand, if the cellular company has a page with embedded analytics where you can log in and see your own personal statistics, it might be easier to identify that you got a large roaming charge, or that you accidentally went over your data allotment.
The idea of sharing data with customers to streamline business processes – while also giving them more control – is what drives the IoT world. Think of the benefits to a patient with a heart rate monitor that uses IoT. With simplified machinery and interface, they can check their own heart rate levels, set limits that automatically transmit alerts, and analyze their own history and heart rate patterns. This gives the patient great insights into what is most affecting their heart rate so they can plan their accordingly, while also cutting down on visits to care facilities. This use of personal health self-service analytics gives patients more direct information about themselves and therefore more control over their lives.
Transparency and sharing in self-service analytics
Customers don’t want to be left in the dark, and companies that provide self-service analytics to their client base promote trust through transparency. Allowing a customer to see their own data gives them a reason to have faith in the company which promotes a positive relationship. Likewise, allowing a patient to have an active role in their own medical monitoring and treatment opens the door to a better understanding on the patient side and more participation with treatment measures.
However, with transparency comes security issues concerns. Though it’s great for customers to have their own data shared back to them, it can bring up the questions pertaining to what information is being collected and who it is being shared with. Part of the beauty of self-service analytics is that it allows customer data to be monetized without the need to sell it to a third party. Security of data can be assured on the system level, object level, and data level which alleviates the concern of having data seen or sold to outside organizations. However, in order to mitigate customer concerns, companies that provide self-service analytics as part of their digital transformation should always have an explicit data collection policy in place.
Increasing digital transformations
Since the beginning of time, one of the goals of businesses is to find new ways to make procedures more efficient and increase ROI. This includes cutting cost, being more reactive and interactive with customers, and streamlining operating and reporting times, all of which can be done through self-service analytics. The ability to make simplified applications that non-IT personnel can use – like self-service analytics – promotes the adoption and growth of these methods, and the further digitizing of more processes in a business. If you’re not already thinking about how to integrate analytics into your own digital transformation efforts, it might be time to start.