Big data is changing the way brands understand and optimize the customer experience. New technologies that harness the complex and massive amounts of available data are giving marketers a clear view of consumers at all different points in their buying journeys – and providing scalable, sophisticated action systems designed to boost engagement and affinity at exactly the right time. Basically, big data is transforming marketing as well as the analytics that support it.
But what opportunities can big data provide when it comes to internal employee collaboration, and more specifically, the most common technology platform built to support employee collaboration: SharePoint?
First, let’s go back to the idea of optimizing the customer experience. Much of the investment that goes into that process today is made with the primary goal of selling new products. But that’s changing as brands realize the business value of optimizing the customer experience across the entire lifecycle. That means pre-sale online interactions, call center communications, billing questions and so on. To improve the experience at every touchpoint, lots of departments and employees must communicate, collaborate and share insights in order to foster long-term customer relationships. As I wrote in a previous blog, leading financial services companies recognize that the effectiveness of the internal “employee journey” has a positive impact on the overall customer experience.
SharePoint intranets play an important role in making that internal collaboration easier and more effective. But adoption of SharePoint within an organization has been a common challenge for IT and this is where analytics has played an important role – to understand usage and improve engagement. But once all those employees are in the platform, sharing documents and insights, communicating about customer needs and doing a host of other activities across the entire customer lifecycle, the importance of the analytics that support SharePoint increases significantly. This is where big data comes in.
We were at the Microsoft Ignite conference last week and spoke with professionals from many companies about their SharePoint environments. We heard lots of comments about the need to improve employee engagement across the organization and talked about how having better visibility into SharePoint usage was the first step. Our solution, Webtrends Analytics for SharePoint, is being used by some of the largest companies around the globe. Soon, we will release our next generation SharePoint analytics offering, Webtrends Infinity Analytics for SharePoint, which is built on a big data platform. Here’s why that matters:
The Webtrends Team at Microsoft Ignite
As organizations implement Office 365 and/or SharePoint globally and encourage adoption in support of the entire customer lifecycle, the volume of discreet interactions that need to be tracked grows exponentially. The scale of data collection, data processing and data storage become important when you consider the number of employees and partners you have globally and how often they need to collaborate. The move from reporting on aggregate usage trends to understanding discreet employee behaviors will add to the volume and richness of the data that must be collected. Add to this the complexity of deploying analytics within global corporations and across their distributed SharePoint environment.
Effective internal collaboration can separate high performing companies from the rest. When supporting and servicing your customers, the speed and relevancy of how you respond to their needs is paramount. Your analytics must keep up and provide real-time feedback on how your SharePoint environment is performing. Real-time feedback means any errors can be corrected immediately and can provide instant insights on the types of questions or documents that are trending at any given time. It can provide a real-time view into how your business is performing from a collaboration perspective.
Ease of Use Beyond IT
Insights into collaboration by department or by product line or region will become even more important to business unit leaders as customer success becomes a corporate-wide mandate. Access to the analytics will move from the IT department to key business leaders across the organization – just as it has for marketing analytics. Ease of use includes the ability to ask ad hoc questions of the data to answer questions such as ‘who is using what documents for what reason?’ And because organizations are inherently segmented – departments, regions, offices, managers, projects, teams, etc. – it’s important to be able to look at collaboration by different segments and compare how one department performs compared to another.
Unified View of the Customer Journey
Since the lines between customer acquisition and customer retention are disappearing, organizations are mapping the end-to-end customer journey and building their internal processes around the customer. This single view of the customer mandates the connection of marketing data with the systems for customer support and service. A unified measurement strategy across the customer lifecycle is therefore critical, and a unified view into customer engagement will become the norm.
We previewed Infinity Analytics for SharePoint at Ignite last week, demonstrating the power of the Webtrends Infinity end-to-end data streaming pipeline, which leverages the Hadoop ecosystem. We shared how it can provide new insights into SharePoint and Office 365 environments and ultimately, provide an important assist to all the work and collaboration that goes into an optimized customer journey.
To learn more about Infinity Analytics for SharePoint, download our Solution Overview.