External Data Feeds BI To the Front Office

Everywhere I look at the moment I see my clients talking about needing to benchmark themselves against the market, to understand customer and prospect sentiment on social networking sites and to understand competitors in much more detail. It is not just me that has recognised this need. It also seems that new young start-up companies have also seen this gap in the market. Over the last few days I have spent some time talking to Andrew Yates, CEO of Artesian and Christian Koestler, CEO of Lixto about their solutions in this area.

Artesian are focused on monitoring media news, competitors intelligence and market intelligence that can be fed into front-office processes – in particular to sales force automation. Integration with SalesForce.com is provided as is delivery to mobile devices for mobile salespeople on the road. Their intention on media intelligence for example is to track coverage across all media channels contextually matched to commercial triggers or specific areas of interest.  What I like about Artesian is the fact that they have looked at how to drive revenue from intelligence derived from web content by plugging it into front-office processes. Also by adopting social software attached to front-office systems like SalesForce.com’s new Chatter offering it becomes possible to collaborate over this intelligence. I would like to see this solution integrate with Microsoft SharePoint and IBM Lotus Connections for more use in large enterprises. However, seeing the need to focus attention on content that has real value in the front office is a real strength of this young start-up.

Lixto has an integrated development environment that allows you to build analytic applications pulling data from web sites such as competitor price information, new competitor marketing campaign data and other information that can be loaded into their customisable analytic applications to monitor competitors for example.

Extracting insight from external data is definitely on the increase with YellowBrix and Mark Logic also in on the act. IBM jumped into the market back in October with their announcement of IBM Cognos Content Analytics. This market is heating up. It seems to me that the start-ups are out there with competitive offerings.

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