Nowadays, consumers want to consume and experience instantly. The fact that mobile phones, which combine numerous functions, have really taken off is illustrative. Another example is the ready-made meal. Modern people want convenience. “We see that everything, from textile to weapons, from houses to meals, becomes more complex: more difficult to make but easier to use” (Csikszentmihalyi, 2003). The Experience Economy emerges alongside.
Orchestrating memorable events for consumers
This economy is not so much about possessing goods or delivering services; it is about orchestrating memorable events for consumers and making them experience things that – if possible – touch them emotionally (Gilmore and Pine, 1999). In 2001, Heineken introduced the Longneck in supermarkets: a fancy bottle with a long neck, filled with ‘normal’ beer for double the prize of a normal bottle. In the years before this widespread introduction, the Longneck had been exclusively available on the nightclub circuit. The Longneck became a huge success. “It is as if the ‘real’ world disappears behind a façade of (outward) appearances. It becomes more and more important how things are perceived; how they are experienced.”(Kastelein and Twist, 2003).
Design new consumer experiences
In the process of designing and marketing new ‘emotion’ products and consumer experiences, an intelligent organization combines and uses as much information and knowledge as possible of (local) markets, competing products and specific target audiences. With the introduction of social media such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, an entirely new world has opened up in which customer preferences and interests appear to be up for grabs.
We have transferred from an economy of doers to thinkers
Already, various companies utilize social Business Intelligence applications to measure how customers experience certain products through scanning comments on social network sites and forums. This way, organizations are able to optimize innovation processes and R&D, and as a result fine-tune the marketing of their products. Products and services become ever more knowledge based. “We have transferred from an economy of doers to an economy of thinkers. This means that the price of imagination, its value, will increase” (Hamel and Prahalad, 1994).
Fantasy and imagination are difficult to manage
Even though fantasy and imagination are difficult to manage, Business Intelligence may still in fact stimulate this, for example by providing insight into the purchase and consumption behavior of clients, broken down by income, age and sex and combined with preferences and interests. In addition, innovation and product marketing need to be combined more often because product life cycles are getting shorter. This is especially true for information-intensive organizations and environments (Glazer, 1991).
Combining mass production with tailored ‘emotion’ products
Due to the much larger markets that have arisen as a result of globalization and liberalization, organizations also wish to compete on revenue and market shares so as to maintain the benefits of mass production. Mobile phones from a specific manufacturer are sold worldwide. Combining mass production with tailored ‘emotion’ products at acceptable costs is only possible when the organization is able to use all kinds of information cleverly relating to sales patterns and inventory levels within the chain, as well as information on the production plans of business partners, market developments, effectiveness of advertising, fashion trends and a thorough knowledge of local and new customs.
More dynamics, relationships and signals
Certainties disappear and small events elsewhere may cause major consequences here while volatility in society, on the stock markets and in customer needs increases. Trends sometimes erupt abruptly and disappear as fast as they arrived. Dynamics and increased – global – relationships and dependencies require flexible organizational structures (Malone and Crowstone, 1991; Mintzberg, 1983) and flexibility requires intelligent and adaptive behavior. Organizations need to adapt more and more rapidly, simply because their environment does as well. “Organizations that do not learn faster than their environment changes will eventually die” (Plant, 1987).
Survival of the fittest
Organizations that best comply with their environment perform better and are more likely to survive – survival of the fittest. Darwin did not so much refer to the ‘strongest’ as to those with the greatest capacity to adapt, to ‘fit’ their environment (Read also our article: Darwin & Business Intelligence). One specific reason for the strong increase of dynamics is the digitalization of society, which offers us countless possibilities for communication and contact, e.g. letters, telephone, email, text messages, WhatsApp, Twitter, internet, television and so forth (Ogilvie, 2001).
They call out for a response
These different types of contact opportunities have one thing in common: they call out for a response. More information is exchanged more frequently. Action and reaction follow in an ever-shorter period of time and that requires quick and good understanding of the situation. People and managers in particular, often drown in data they did not ask for, or data they do not seem to need (yet). Managers and employees both require a clear overall picture of business operations as well as of their customers.
Business Intelligence prevents irrelevant signals from entering the organization
With Business Intelligence, an organization can integrate streams of data to create a better overall picture of both organization and customer. In addition, Business Intelligence prevents irrelevant signals from entering the organization. Consequently, the signals that are accepted are usually arranged better and visualized into genuine KPIs and/or management information. As a result, organizations are less distracted and perhaps take more appropriate decisions, which may lead to improved performance.