There are four types of analytics that companies can use to learn from and better engage with their customers. And it's from the second two types that one can really get the insights you need to drive your business forward. Check it out:
This is what you get from your web server through tools like Google Analytics, Omniture or the like. You can quickly understand "what happened" during a given period in the past and verify if a campaign was successful or not based on simple parameters like page views. About 35% of companies surveyed say they do this consistently.
Diagnostic Analytics: If you want to go deeper into the data you have collected from users in order to understand "Why some things happened," you can use business intelligence tools to get some insights. However, it is very laborious work that has limited ability to give you actionable insights. It basically provides a very good understanding of a limited piece of the problem you want to solve. Usually less than 10% of companies surveyed do this on occasion and less than 5% do so consistently.
Predictive Analytics: If you can collect contextual data and correlate it with other user behavior datasets, as well as expand user data beyond what you can get from your web servers, you enter a whole new area where you can get real insights. Essentially, you can predict what will happen if you keep things as they are. However, less than 1% of companies surveyed have tried this yet. The ones who have, found incredible results that have already made a big difference in their business.
Once you get to the point where you can consistently analyze your data to predict what's going to happen, you are very close to being able to understand what you should do in order to maximize good outcomes and also prevent potentially bad outcomes. This is on the edge of innovation today, but it's attainable!
In order to be able to implement predictive and prescriptive analytics you need to add "cognition" to your analysis through machine learning algorithms like the ones we use inside our Smart Canvas.
Want to learn more about the Smart Canvas? Check it out: http://ciandt.com/smartcanvas