There’s a point I keep making in speeches, and used to keep making in white papers, yet have almost never spelled out in this blog. Let me now (somewhat) correct the oversight.
Analytic technology isn’t only for you. It’s also for your customers, citizens, and other stakeholders.
I am not referring here to what is well understood to be an important, fast-growing activity — providing data and its analysis to customers as your primary or only business — nor to the related business of taking people’s data, crunching it for them, and giving them results. That combined sector — which I am pretty alone in aggregating into one and calling data mart outsourcing — is one of the top several vertical markets for a lot of the analytic DBMS vendors I write about. Rather, I’m talking about enterprises that gather data for some primary purpose, and have discovered that a good secondary use of the data is to reflect it back to stakeholders, often the same ones who provided or created it in the first place.
For now I’ll call this category stakeholder-facing analytics, as the shorter phrase “stakeholder analytics” would be ambiguous.* I first picked up the idea early this decade from Information Builders, for whom it had become something of a specialty. I’ve been asking analytics vendors for examples of stakeholder-facing analytics ever since, and a number have been able to comply. But the whole thing is in its early days even so; almost any sufficiently large enterprise should be more active in stakeholder-facing analytics than it currently is.
*Comments as to what the category should be called are welcome below.
Examples of stakeholder-facing analytics include:
- Enterprises report back on the business customers do with them. For example:
- Credit card companies provide reports on spending back to their credit card holders, especially small businesses.
- So do office supply retailers.
- Brokerage firms provide reporting back to their small-institution customers.
- Governments expose information to their citizens online.
- Regulated companies (such as utilities) could be required to put data online directly, without even using the government as an intermediary.
- Some part of Fox — perhaps MySpace Music? — offers free access to a PostgreSQL extract from its Greenplum database to each of its largest advertisers.
- Google Analytics offers some basic BI for free to website owners everywhere.
- Anybody from web hosting companies to public utilities could open their kimonos and allow their customers to track adherence to actual or implied SLAs (Service Level Agreements) in areas such as uptime, length of outage, responsiveness, and the like.
So what cool examples do you have of stakeholder-facing analytics?*
*Yes, this is an invitation to drop links to case studies into the comment thread below.