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January 28, 2016

PanTerra Leader Explains How Business Analytics Can Drive Business, Productivity

By Paula Bernier - Executive Editor, TMC

Business analytics paired with unified communications can enable businesses like communications service providers to better compete in an increasingly competitive marketplace. That was the message Arthur Chang, president and CEO of PanTerra (News - Alert) Networks, conveyed this morning during his presentation “Business Analytics: Changing Employee Performance and Business Interactions.”

Unified communications entails a variety of collaboration and interaction modes including email, fax, IM, video, voice, and web conferencing. Business analytics, which PanTerra also addresses with its solutions, entails collection, monitoring, and the analysis of business data to meet specific business goals.

There are three types of analytics, said Chang. That includes description analytics, which answer the question of what is going on. It involves data to be collected, analyzed, and measured. As a result of this exercise, service providers are able to deliver service level agreements, he noted.

Predictive analytics is the second type. This kind of analytics answers the question of what will happen by looking at past trends and trying to predict what will come next. These forecasts are, of course, uncertain, but they do provide a better idea of what to expect in the future.

Then there are prescriptive analytics, which answer the question: What should we do? It suggests actions on how an organization can optimize its activities and processes to better meet specific business goals, going as far as providing decision trees and what-if scenarios.

Analytics is seeing growing interest and adoption due in large part to the Internet, which makes more information more widely available to more people, said Chang. As a result, buyers now have the ability to comparison shop from the devices and locations of their choice. Cloud technologies, meanwhile, make it easier for anyone to implement solutions, and to turn up those solutions in hours or days. That weakens customer loyalty and creates the potential for greater customer churn, given there is more competition out there every day.

There are two ways to measure analytics, Chang added, one is SLAs and on is KPIs.

With SLAs, the vendor defines in writing to its customers at what level it will deliver service – like maximize wait times in call queues, minimum outages, etc. KPIs are the measurement of a metric, and might look at the metric year over year, for example. It’s important to understand the cause and effect of a KPI, said Chang, that way you can improve upon it. And it’s important to continuously review whether the KPIs being use are the right KPIs for the specific goal at the specific time.

Big data can come from anywhere. Once collected, organizations can use dashboards and scorecards to monitor the data and track specific KPIs, trigger alerts if a KPI or SLA is not what it should be, and then take steps to correct it.

Business analytics can leveraged both to positively affect customer engagement and employee performance.

On the customer engagement front, it can result in higher sales productivity and more revenue. Data mining and KPIs can provide real-time context, increasing engagement effectiveness. It can uncover contextual and predictive information so, for example, a business can see a particular customer’s contract is close to expiring, so some can contact the customer with a new package suited to the customer’s needs. The fact that business analytics tracks customer SLAs in real time can both help the company meet those agreements, ensure customer problems don’t fester, and keep customer business over time. Business analytics also create more opportunity for upselling. If a customer’s workload is increasing, for example, you can see it, and perhaps offer that customer more seats of your service, new features, or whatever. Business analytics also can power marketing automation solutions.

Paired with unified communications, business analytics also can be used to enable employees like call center agents, and their employers, to monitor their performance. That can allow for independent self-corrections by these agents if they fall outside of company metrics (like handling calls in five minutes or less), and can enable contact center managers to hop on calls that are going long to help the agent move things forward, possibly using a “whisper” feature in which the manager directs the agent without the end user hearing that part of the conversation.




Edited by Kyle Piscioniere

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