Companies where CIOs enable the best use of predictive analytics tools and techniques-including tying them to BPM initiatives-are better at financial forecasting, retaining customers and eking out more operating profit than companies that haven't caught on, says White. He recently studied 159 organizations that actively use predictive analytics and determined, for example, that best-in-class companies retain 93% of their customers, compared to laggards who retain just 66%.
Competitive pressure-along with substantial, measurable financial gains-will lead more CIOs down this road, says Tim Fleming, CIO of the Industrial Technologies sector at Ingersoll Rand, a $13 billion heavy-equipment manufacturer. "It's not easy, but you want to do it," he says. "You have to do it."
How Data Enables Change The insurance industry may have been among the first to connect analysis tools-in the form of fraud detection-with automated workflow technology-systems for claims processing. But meshing analytics with other kinds of enterprise software can produce new ways to engage customers or make operations more efficient.
CIOs who can give business users the means to connect analytics and BPM can cut a path to faster and more fruitful decision making, says Fleming. "Data starts to tell a story. We can help them find that story," he says. And rewrite the ending.
Fleming's division at Ingersoll Rand has used analytics to flush out and correct problems in such varied processes as order management, global inventory and invoicing. Fleming has dedicated the biggest portion of his IT staff to analytics, he says, because the company has found it so powerful.
Doing analytics well has helped raise the profile of IT at Ingersoll Rand. The company recently replaced a mix of manufacturing and financial systems with Oracle's ERP suite. Historically, IT released new reporting capabilities twice a year. But by updating these capabilities quarterly, then every two months, end users caught errors and spotted trends sooner than they used to. "This gets you back in front of your user groups very frequently, so they're seeing the value of IT," he says. "It's not a Christmas present once a year; it's multiple birthday parties."