Many entrepreneurs and executives at small to medium sized businesses regularly rely on gut to make critical business decisions. No business is short of competitors angling to lure customers away and therefore every executive or business owner must continually adapt to remain relevant and profitable. Margins are the lifeblood and must be grown or at the very least buffered against any environmental conditions that may eat into them. This calls for the use of business intelligence tools.
Larger organizations often times have a turnkey business intelligence benefit drawn from the premium licenses that they pay for their enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management systems. SMB’s however must be smarter about how they analyze the market data available to them layered on in-house information to derive actionable insights.
A daily dance for business is to deliver a consistent product or service at a minimally fluctuating price point. This normally involves multiple factors in the delivery pipeline that must be proactively managed. Relying on gut, group think or a simple excel sheet with a decision matrix may not suffice due to subjective evaluation or inputs, formula errors as well as the size and variety of data in play.
Since the creation of Watson, IBM’s cognitive computing platform, IBM researchers have been in a constant quest to extend its service offering. Trade off analytics is one of the many services that went into general availability earlier this year that can be spun off in their BlueMix cloud service platform to power “optimal alternatives across multiple criteria” on demand. Many businesses already use cloud based platforms such as Lipisha, PesaPal, KopoKopo, Uhasibu, WezaTele among others to manage sales, collections and inventory. Therefore, getting smarter about optimizing their businesses is a data ingest away.
Applicable to all service sectors and made accessible via the cloud at decent price points, having Watson crunch the data and present all possible analyzed options visually, brings to life the idiom, seeing is believing. The beauty is that the value can be realized by both the in-house publics to fine tune business processes and by customers to the business where they are provided with tools such as wizards or recommendation engines that help trigger a purchase decision in an era where choice overload leads to cart abandonment or buyer’s remorse that always has a negative return.
Interesting use cases for the business of government can be imagined, but that perhaps is for another day as the takers are few in that segment.