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Business intelligence software as a revenue generator

You’ve gotten them: those 10-page documents detailing your cell phone bill, credit card account or bank statement. But now, because of the economy, you may start to receive those statements in an online-only format — with business intelligence (BI) options built in.

At least that’s the trend that BI software vendor Information Builders Inc. is banking on. IBI sees a growing business in which third-party credit-card processors for retail or banking outlets provide consumer-facing statements in a Software as a Service or portal format, with such BI components as trending built right in. This SaaS model has allowed one credit-card processing company to save millions of dollars per year on the costs of postage and paper.

Also interesting is how some of IBI’s credit-card processing customers are using the company’s WebFocus BI software to sell consumer data back to retailers (devoid of names and accounts, of course). I haven’t heard too much about BI as a revenue generator or about companies using BI to create services to sell to their own customer base, but it’s happening among IBI’s customer base. And it’s also on the radar of Gartner’s upcoming Business Intelligence Summit this April in Las Vegas.

There’s more: Large discount retailers are using WebFocus to gather sales and marketing trend data in real time, down to each store level, and are sharing that data with all the stores — another way for BI to boost sales.

All in all, IBI believes the future of business intelligence is in creating services for your customers or using BI to generate sales in your own company, not just in internal financial forecasting and trending.

Are you finding new ways to use your BI tools to generate revenue, or are you still trying to get a handle on it for internal use? Email me at [email protected].

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