SAS, IBM, Adobe and Pitney Bowes Leaders In Customer Analytics: Forrester

Forrester Research has named SAS, IBM, Adobe, and Pitney Bowes as leaders in customer analytics solutions. SAP, FICO, Teradata, Angoss, Alteryx, and Manthan were deemed strong performers, and AgilOne is a contender.

In The Forrester Wave: Customer Analytics Solutions, Q1 2016, author Brandon Purcell writes, “the goal of customer analytics is to turn data into insight, insight into action, and also learn and optimise the results. The ability to manage and integrate data from multiple sources, quickly uncover valuable insights, take action on those insights, and measure success dictates which providers lead the pack.

Forrester’s research uncovered an opportunity for vendors with marketer-friendly tools for data management and analytics. According Forrester, 44 per cent of North American marketing decision-makers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: “I don’t have the right set of customer and marketing analytics tools to help me produce and execute insights”. Another 28 per cent were neutral, leaving just a quarter of marketers with the tools they need.

Another trend identified by the report is the need for analytics to address the entire customer life cycle, not just customer acquisitions. Vendors should offer methods that help improve the customer experience, drive retention and loyalty, enable personalisation, and deliver contextual marketing.

Data from new sources, such as transactional systems, digital properties, Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices, customer feedback channels and social media, is also shaping the evolution of advanced customer analytics.

Forrester Customer Analytics Solutions

Using vendor surveys, product demos and customer reference calls and surveys, Forrester examined the pros and cons of 11 leading providers against 33 criteria. Among the findings for each provider:

SAS excels at analytics production — that is, turning data into insights — and invests to provide solutions that anticipate and even drive innovation in this space for marketers. Among the “overwhelmingly positive feedback” were some client concerns with early usability and issues integrating with existing marketing technologies.

IBM was recommended for enterprises with diverse data, use cases and deployment needs. “If you are looking for a tool to sort through mountains of messy customer data, IBM has it,” Forrester said. An abundance of options leads to the challenge of identifying the best solution for your needs. “Its challenge going forward will be to effectively communicate and differentiate those offerings in the market,” Forrester said.

Adobe is the newest member of the leading group, thanks to adapting its successful digital analytics capabilities to cross-channel customer analytics, as well as its singular focus on user experience. Pricing was the biggest source of frustration among the clients Forrester spoke with, and its services are relatively siloed due to its acquisition strategy.

Pitney Bowes scored well for customer-centricity and smooth marketing integration. Key areas of improvement included the “ability to analyse data from emerging channels and touchpoints,” such as text analytics.

SAP faces a strategic challenge integrating its two products — SAP Predictive Analytics and SAP Hybris Marketing. It must either clarify the differences between the two or integrate them, Forrester argued.

FICO, 
like SAP, is focused on large enterprises and offers dual interfaces — an intuitive one for the marketer, and another for the advanced user of data scientist. Client references mentioned there is room for improvement in FICO’s “ability to integrate into marketing execution systems,” saying the analytics activation phase required too much intervention from IT.

Teradata scored highly for its robust functionality and big data capabilities for sharing analytical processes. It is recommended for organisations with “code-savvy analysts and massive amounts of data.

Angoss’s Knowledge Studio is a powerful analytical tool. It is geared toward an advanced business analyst or data scientist.

Alteryx offers a less expensive yet robust analytical tool that empowers business users with advanced analytical algorithms, Forrester said.

Manthan, a relatively new solution, impressed with its business user-friendly interface and out-of-the-box metrics. However, Forrester noted that while it is easy to onboard, Manthan is still building its capabilities for verticals other than retail and has a rigid architecture.

AgilOne barely missed the cut to be a Strong Performer, Forrester said. Its commitment to providing users with a prescribed set of analytical results resonates with marketers who would rather focus on insight activation than insight generation.

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