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Connect the data dots and discover your data story

2 November 2020 – Given the current situation, we are obliged to work from home. Companies are setting up different IT systems to make sure this working-from-home situation is moderated properly. But are these IT systems the ultimate solution, or is there more to it?

Nowadays, more than ever before, we live in a world where the vast majority of our business processes are digitized.
In addition, the current teleworking obligations push us ever harder to run our operations online. For the majority of companies, more than 80% of the daily operations are managed in or by an IT system:

  • Human Resources & development: time registration, access management, holiday planning, performance reviews, online training & exams, etc
  • Sales department: online meetings, e-commerce platforms, connected ERP systems, CRM systems, digital signature applications, e-invoicing, online support systems, chatbots, etc
  • Marketing: product and content marketing on corporate website(s), social media platforms, e-mail marketing solutions, etc
  • Finance, legal & procurement: accounting and budgetting software, dashboarding, document management systems, online auctioning, etc
  • Operations, Supply & Information Technology: collaborative tools, supply chain systems, code repositories, hardware & software maintenance systems, etc

IT systems, the magic solutions?

These IT systems are great. They allow us to optimize the efficiency of our organisation, and when we want to monitor the performance of a single process , reporting tools, which are (often) embedded in such systems, will warn us for anomalies. In addition, they enable us to perform work remotely, which is of increasing importance these days.

But it is not a good news show overall; where people (within the same department or across different departments) used to physically connect, talk to each other (at the coffee corner), share their experiences & best practices and basically connected the different information flows from daily life, we see that the full online teleworking environment severely limits this person-to-person contact.

With Artificial Intelligence we cannot and we do not want to compensate for the aforementioned human aspect of working together, enjoying teams, sharing experiences, … However, what A.I. can do for a company, is two-fold: a. it can facilitate connecting the data from different IT systems and b. it can learn from this data and discover new insights that we ourselves could not have seen before.

Artificial Intelligence for the win

When we want A.I. to kick in and help us out, we – at CROPLAND – are strong defenders of a pragmatic approach: use the data connectors out there to link the IT systems and start building the analytics and/or predictive models. The initial goal is to assess the value of the data, so that the Artificial Intelligence can discover the strategic insights that your company is looking for.

Once analyzed, the next task is to deploy the A.I. to the operational IT systems and/or distribute the resulting insights to the internal or external customers. We recommend not to invest in heavy data architecture at this stage, since you need to build trust in the added value of the A.I. first. Once the algorithms are established and the confidence is there, then you should optimize your data architecture.

A concrete use case: using A.I. for marketing analytics

As an example, think of the following use case that uses Artificial Intelligence in Marketing Analytics. One of our customers is very active in business-to-business sales activities; a sales department talks (nowadays via e-mail or conference call) to prospects and customers and the marketing department invests heavily in MailChimp campaigns, blogs on the company website and posts on the socials (LinkedIN, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook). The opportunity funnel is monitored in and the customer orders are managed in SAP.

First, we connected the different customer touch points from the available IT systems through APIs. Next, we combined the customer “behavior” data in order to analyze the root cause of new customers ordering, ordering additional services and also churning.

With this simple set-up, we could start modeling and look for driving forces: why do customers order, what triggers an order, which touch points (website, email, socials, …) are adding value (and which are not).

The A.I. module we developed, allowed our customer to specifically direct communications at different points in time to specific audiences. This tripled(!) their conversion rates. In addition to this boost in sales, the internal marketing team also gains time, as all data is integrated into one single view.

If you think your organization could also benefit from such a personalized A.I. system, then give us a call, and together we’ll make it happen.

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