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Why CIOs should push BI into the hands of the customer

by Michael Maoz  |  November 12, 2013  |  2 Comments

Though CIOs may be expected to support internal Business Intelligence initiatives, the idea that we must also treat our customers with respect by supplying them with key data points is overlooked. There is a certain BI paternalism that says, “we know what is best for you,’ that leaves customers in the dark.

It is nearing that time of year when I am required to re-enroll in my current health care plan, or select another.  For those of you living in countries differently enlightened about health care, here in the United States the citizens of the country do not support universal health care. (As a sidebar, the notion goes something like this: it would be too expensive for the Federal government and would be a drain on the population. Yet per capita spending on health care in the US is about 75% higher than almost all other Western countries, and the US dedicates a higher percentage of GDP to healthcare than anyone. And for all that life expectancy in the US does not even make the Top 25 in the world.)

What would a customer investing a not-insignificant amount of money in a health care plan want to know in order to make an informed decision about next year? What did I get from my health plan last year and over the past several years? What is the benefit for dollar spent? How did the version of the plan that I chose for 2013 compare to the three other versions of the plan that I might have chosen? How often were my claims accepted? What percentage of each claim was covered, and which were not? What were the reasons? How has my consumption of benefits changed year over year? How do I compare to my cohort group? How do I compare to other demographic segments? Do I have more claims, or more types of claims, or higher bills, or higher deductibles than I require? Which physicians in my location are ‘in-network’ who also have the highest Patient-Rating?

Basically, whether we are talking about health insurance or taxes, or power consumption or rental cars or hotel stays or bank fees, consumers receive extremely limited data about the performance of their products and services and how they might better invest, purchase, or consume. What is fairly standard for wealth management sites is almost completely missing in other industries: a true statement that honestly reflects the benefits of a relationship with the company/enterprise/government that you are trusting to provide you goods and services.

The result of BI living in an internal bubble, primarily accessible to business managers and C-Suite, is that customers rarely feel confident that the products and services that they consume served them well. Instead they rely on memory, and memory is skewed to recall the negative.

Let’s do ourselves all a favor: push the boundaries of business intelligence tools beyond the enterprise and into the hands of the customer. They just might trust us more.

What do you think? Too much risk for too little reward?

Category: business-intelligence  cio  crm  innovation-and-customer-experience  leadership  social-networking  strategic-planning  

Michael Maoz
VP Distinguished Analyst
13 years at Gartner
26 years IT industry

Michael Maoz is a research vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Research. His research focuses on CRM and customer-centric Web strategies. Mr. Maoz is the research leader for both the customer service and support strategies area and customer-centric Web… Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Why CIOs should push BI into the hands of the customer

  1. John Dodge says:

    Excellent point. You’d think the customer (ergo patient) would have that data at their fingertips during open enrollment. I’ll give you another example. I installed solar panels on my home 18 months ago and have been getting `0′ electric bills. That’s great and I know how much power they generate (900 kWh on a good month here in the Northeast), but until recently had no idea how much surplus power my solar system is generating each month. I just noticed my bill says I had a 145 kWh surplus for the October billing period and that I have accumulated a credit balance of $138. This data answered my question about whether I am generating enough surplus energy to justify a check request. Apparently not so I will use the power company credits to get me thought the cloudier and shorter days of Fall and winter when my system is less productive.

    It’s not exactly a Big Data thing, but important data nonetheless.

  2. Terri White says:

    This is the future of BI in my opinion. I like to call it “my so-called data-driven life.” BI should not stop at empowering employees, but should also be used to extend analytic capabilities to partners and customers. To be clear, this re-tooling is not a “dumbing down”; instead, it’s about simplifying and investing more in the user experience and design interface. You could think of BI being delivered as “infoapps”. Packaging data into new products in clever ways will be the key to competitive differentiation for all types of industries in the near future. Perhaps we will “opt in” for data services that could enlighten, entertain and enrich our lives.

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