2 Keys to Better Results through Business Intelligence

This past weekend, my wife and I drove to a wedding at a resort in the mountains of western Maine.  Before we left, I entered the hotel name into the mapping app on my phone.  It gave me turn-by-turn directions and the estimated arrival time.  What happened next is critically important:

I used the information to drive to our destination (a.k.a.. achieve our goal).

When we use maps, we’re very intentional in our purpose for using them.  We’re planning to go to a specific destination, we need to arrive at a specific time, and we may have some specific preferences for the route we take (i.e. no tolls, or fastest route).

The mapping app gives us certain information that will lead us to the best decision on how to achieve our goal; it shows us multiple routes, and the mileage and travel time for each.

There are two key behavioral points that make the map app highly useful:

  1. We have a clearly-defined goal associated with using the map (reaching our travel destination on time).
  2. We have a specific action-oriented plan for how we’ll use the information that the map provides.

Now, let’s talk about the reports that we run from our various software applications…

How many of them are as useful as the mapping app on our phones?  Conversely, how many of them are always run, but rarely read?

Is each report associated with a specific business goal?

Does a specific step-by-step plan exist for using the report?

Are there specific actions that you know in advance that you’ll take, based on what’s revealed in the report?

To help illustrate the point, let’s look at how one particular client uses a “Portal Performance Analysis” Report:

First, the client has a specific business goal associated with the report: to raise the level of “Tier Zero Resolution” (the percent of inquiries initiated in the Portal that are resolved by the self-service knowledge base) to 75% by year-end.  When the report appears on the screen, the first thing the client sees is a precise measurement of their current rate of “Tier Zero Resolution.”  This tells the exactly how far they are from their goal.

Second, the client has a series of steps they follow in using the report, which lead to making subtle changes to knowledge base content that will increase the percentage of questions that are resolved through self-service: 

  1. Select the Request Type that contains the highest number of escalated requests (those that were not resolved through self-service).
  2. Click into that Request Type, and select the Category with the highest number of occurrences.
  3. Click deeper into the Category to reveal the Subcategory with the most escalations.
  4. Once they’re at this level of detail, they can accurately infer the type of question for which the employee could not find an answer in self-service. At this point, they take a specific action:
  5. Build “missing“content into the knowledge base, or if the right content exists, improve the keyword meta-tagging of the content to make it more easily found by the employee’s search.
  6. Repeat this process for the three Request Types with the highest number of escalated requests.

By consistently using the process, the client has seen a steady improvement in their rate of “Tier Zero Resolution.”

What business goals are associated with each of the reports that your organization runs on a regular basis?  And what are the specific steps that are followed, using the information within the report?  And what specific actions are taken to help attain the associated business goal?  Are you getting closer?

Oh, and by the way – my wife and I took the fastest route to the wedding destination, arrived in just under one hour and 20 minutes – in plenty of time to meet up with friends and relax before the wedding.

Goal Report Action