Optimised customer experience and smart services for customers thanks to real-time data

Real-time information opens up a myriad of possibilities

Whether click & collect in retail, smart mobility services or IoT applications - real-time information opens up a wide range of opportunities for companies and customers. Thomas Renner and Stefan Pirer, business analytics experts at DCCS, explain why the use of real-time data is becoming increasingly important in a wide range of industries.

A basis for smart business decisions and innovative services

While real-time data processing accelerates many business processes and opens up new opportunities, many business decisions are still made on the basis of static or historic data or, in the worst case, on the basis of gut feelings. To sustainably accelerate and improve economic decision-making processes, instantly identify changes and initiating the correct steps, one requires real-time data. Such information is not only the basis for smart business decisions, but also for new, innovative services for customers.
A basis for working omni-channel services
Not least as a result of the global pandemic, online trade has experienced a massive upswing. Retail giants such as Amazon or Zalando have been setting the benchmarks for years now, benchmarks which all companies that want to sell online have to follow. Linking their physical shop and online shop is crucial for retail organisations that want to offer their customers a great customer experience across all channels. The basis for all omni-channel services such as click & collect is the linking of information such as online orders, inventory and article availability in the shops in real time. This way, one can make sure that the ordered item is actually available at the chosen outlet. Thus, omni-channel services require real-time processing to meet their high customer expectations.

Focus on customers & service
In the retail industry, applications on the basis of real-time data offer amazing potential. A bonus point system for customers that is always up to date, real-time retail data to schedule personnel and retail merchandise capacities or optimised customer experiences via real-time based services are more required than ever before to best serve one’s customers. Not least as service is becoming ever more important in retail. The prerequisite for the use of real real-time data is an integrative IT system including a data hub that collects all relevant information and makes it available to the target systems in a suitable manner. Such an event streaming platform makes it possible to combine data from merchandise management / product information systems, web shops and click & collect applications in order to close gaps between heterogeneous IT systems and thus enable innovative customer services.

An important building block of Industry 4.0
In the manufacturing industry, sensors monitor changes to parameters such as power, temperature, pressure and others that can be responsible for downtimes or even present dangers to persons in real time. For quality assurance purposes, automated production facilities increasingly use imaging technology where sensor data is combined with production in real time. Self-learning systems compare actual with target values and stop the conveyor belt or report to the person in charge in the event of deviations. This prevents production process downtimes, makes inspection processes more efficient and minimises damage as well as costs. This makes real-time data processing an important building block when advancing towards Industry 4.0.

Customer experience counts
Real-time information is of the utmost importance in the field of mobility, especially when it comes to smart mobility services. If, for instance, a driver experiences issues when charging their electric vehicle, the help desk requires all relevant data (charging capacity, location, power supplier contracts and charging station) immediately. Only if all of this data is available in real time, including dynamically prepared data on customers and their vehicles, can the customer service agent provide the best possible support. Car manufacturers have quickly realised that customers are willing to consent to the use of their data if they receive appropriate benefits and individual service offers in return. Real-time data can also be beneficial in personnel and capacity planning, however, for instance in the tourism industry. Ski rental companies can use hotel booking data, combined with weather information and other parameters, for purposes of resource planning. Artificial intelligence is playing an increasingly important role when it comes to creating specific forecasts and offering customers the best possible service. The use of real-time data offers many industries the potential to significantly improve customer experience.

Holistic digitalisation
The use of business analytics solutions and real-time data hubs enables companies to make well-founded decisions more quickly and provide their customers with innovative services. An analysis as to where and when the use of real-time information makes sense and how data management, storage and expansion can be implemented, is crucial. Missing elements can be added by means of individual software development and appropriate interfaces to the required systems. Via dashboards, portals and apps, companies and their customers then receive access to the real-time information they need. This makes it possible to optimise business, service and resources: many aspects of digitalisation that will become even more important in the future.

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