Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged fans are familiar with the mythic properties of Rearden Metal, a new metal alloy stronger and lighter than steel.

In the novel, the challenge was how do you fix a deteriorating bridge that needs new supports if something revolutionary like Rearden Metal is available? Do you leverage Rearden Metal's special properties and capabilities to build a new type of bridge that brings more value and a lower overall cost or do you use the new metal the old way and create a new version of the old bridge?  Those that were threatened by this revolutionary innovation tried a variety of means to thwart Rearden Metal's success knowing that they couldn't compete.

How does that apply to Customer Engagement? Improving Customer Engagement is an ongoing iterative process. Oft quoted statistician Dr. W. Edwards Deming said, "You can't manage what you can't measure." When it comes to your customers' experience with your company, you must understand what they are experiencing, so it can be managed and optimized.

All Contact Center providers can provide extensive data about what is taking place with multiple channels of communications. All kinds of reports can be generated but none of it relates to the business processes. The result, disparate information silos.  There is no cost effective way to access and utilize "Big Data".  Whatever analytics exist are limited to communications interactions. Consultant Marty Parker describes this predicament in NoJitter, "Where's the crisis? It's simple: the communications industry is not ready for big data and analytics...Big data and analytics are coming--there's no stopping them."

This is hard for Contact Center companies whose expertise, technology, and business channels have grown up in a separate, parallel universe from enterprise software companies. Adding to the difficulty is the complexity of combining different databases, technologies, and software.

Contrast this with an SAP Contact Center* that tightly integrates communications data with the Master customer data (ERP and CRM). This master customer data now includes communications, that makes this really "Big Data". A variety of Analytic and Predictive Analytic tools exist that can be used to drill down and create a vast array of reports.  The most important tool of all is blended analytics, which gives a 360-degree view of the customer.

This presents the challenge facing Contact Centers. Do you continue with your existing provider and deploy new versions of old solutions or do you take advantage of the latest state-of-the-art possibilities so that you can produce blended analytic reports?

Blended Analytics, like "Rearden Metal" is a game-changer.