This report examines the business intelligence software systems used by Procad to acquire an in-depth understanding of how these systems work, what value they bring to the business and any issues they have that could potentially be resolved.
Business intelligence in its simplest form can be defined as accumulating data from various sources and categorising in such a way for storage, in a data warehouse, that it becomes useful information. It is then analysed, via data mining, for patterns and trends that identify knowledge that can be used by senior decision makers to plan profitable activities. This process is achieved through a joint effort of implementing hardware and software.
Secondary research for HubSpot software system
HubSpot is a key tool for Procad’s success. It allows the company to manage, manipulate and use data. It manages data from each department and combines it, allowing access from any device. Each department, employee, and management can acknowledge where each sale is at with its live up-to-date feed, and the needs and wants of the customer. It provides the customer with relevant marketing information, an employee to help close the sale and finally it provides technical support to the customer. Overall it is an essential customer relationship management specialist.
For the research phase of the report an interview was used as it allowed a more open and friendlier environment to be established between the interviewer and interviewee. This environment in conjunction with the semi-structured nature of the questions allowed acquisition of information that would otherwise be unattainable; this is due to engaging the personal and emotional response of the interviewee regarding their experience with the business. These interview results were recorded via an audio recording as it allowed the interview to progress more efficiently without the need for pausing to physically write out results.
Within Procad the main users of the HubSpot are the marketing, sales and technical departments. From the beginning of the process where marketing department send necessary information to the potential client, to the end where technical support is available at the customer’s request. The interactions between customer and employee are constantly logged in the system. Allowing the sales process to efficiently move along. Each department will have the necessary information to allow them to provide the customer with what they may need. This is also useful for when the subscription between the customer and Procad ceases. Procad can send a report to the customer detailing how many times they were in contact with Procad, reminding them how much they availed of the service; in an attempted to attract them with another subscription purchase. (see appendices F)
Upon completion of both the secondary and the primary research into the business intelligence systems used by Procad the overall objectives of this research report have been achieved. As we now have a deep understanding of how and why these systems are implemented by Procad, we identified a clear connection between the information produced by these systems and profitable earnings for the business. Lastly, we found one issue with the implementation of this system but regarding the overall benefit the system brings to the business this issue is worth the cost.
Table of Contents
This research report is an examination into the software systems used by Procad for its business intelligence system. The overall aims of this research are as follows:
- To acquire an in-depth understanding of how these software systems are implemented in the organisation and what information do they collect and ultimately provide to the business.
- To analyse if these software systems bring real value to the organisations business intelligence culture by identifying a connection between the knowledge acquired and profitable action being taken.
- Identify flaws within these computer systems, if any and if there are features there to improve how it operates.
A business intelligence system can be defined as the combination of hardware and software technologies used to acquire data before it’s analysed by users and turned into information. This information is then evaluated and provides knowledge to senior management who use it devise plans for lucrative business activities. (Loshin, 2018).
Although there are various definitions for this term the definition above highlights two key features of the aspects involved in operating a business intelligence system. These are as follows:
- A business intelligence system can’t be automatically operated by a series of technology systems, as it needs certain users to interact with it to ensure the data is managed in an appropriate fashion to create useful knowledge. i.e. Businesses can acquire existing business intelligence software in the marketplace, but unless users provide the necessary inputs relevant to the business the system will ultimately fail to produce valuable knowledge. (Loshin, 2018).
- The reward of implementing a business intelligence system can only be recognised when the knowledge acquired is used to engage in profitable business activity. (Loshin, 2018). However, if knowledge that has the potential to be profitable is provided by the system and isn’t acted upon, then implementing the system is worthless and a waste of resources.
Now that we have a basic knowledge of what a business intelligence system does we need to identify how it conducts its operations to ensure we have an in depth understanding of this type of system. The process all begins with data collection which requires users in the business to establish what data is necessary and what is irrelevant to ensure the success of the system. The data is then organised into a series of categories to prevent having a cluster of raw information that would be incoherent and of little value. (Loshin, 2018). E.g. arranged like books in a library with sections like fiction, true crime, biography’s, etc.
Once these data sources are properly formed to provide the necessary data they are linked to a data warehouse which stores the raw information, and this is where it is analysed and transformed into information. This is achieved by using a series of analytical tools the first of which is data analysis reporting, otherwise known as data visualisation. This is where data trends and groups are identified by software tools and users take this information and devise graphs and charts to easily convey its meaning for its end users, senior management. (Loshin, 2018).
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The other analytical tool used to create information from this raw data is data mining which is a predictive analytical tool. It creates a prediction of what may happen in the future based on previous patterns identified from the data sources. (Loshin, 2018). E.g. it may predict a customer’s need for a given quantity of a product at a certain time of the year based on the customers previous orders with the business.
After completing both analytical processes, the information from the predictive and visual analysis is given in a report to members of senior management. This report is examined and provides management with knowledge, which is used to make strategic decisions that will ultimately generate business profits. (Loshin, 2018). The acquisition and the use of this knowledge represents the end of the business intelligence system process. (See appendices A).
HubSpot was created and manufactured by the Co- founder and CEO Brian Halligan. Alongside Co-Founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah. The global company is situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. They continue to manufacture their service independently in HubSpot offices around Asia, Europe and in the United States of America.
HubSpot is a customer relationship management specialist. It aids the end user in their day-to-day marketing, sales and customer service activities. Our secondary research allowed us to find the three key components of HubSpot. “Marketing Hub” aids n lead generation, marketing analysis and marketing automation. The end user can redesign and improve the layout of their website with ease as there is no coding required. HubSpot Marketing Hub also provide a marketing strategy guide. This includes real time SEO suggestions alongside automated, personalised social media content and suggested publishing times. We found that the end user can create personalised message templates that can vary depending on the client’s geographical location, electronic device and traffic source. (HubSpot.com, 2018)
Furthermore, the second main feature we found was “Sales Hub”. (Hubspot.com, 2018) (see appendices C) This feature provides the end user with a notification when a potential client opens an e-mail, link or related information from the business. This would allow Procad to follow up on promising leads. With the added feature such as Live chat it may increase the chances potential customers will communicate with Procad. It could eradicate back and forth emails, which could save both parties a substantial amount of time. Sales Hub automates time absorbing tasks such as lead rotation, task creation and personal information as it is performed automatically. Management at Procad can also track the pipeline from start to finish to see what deals are successful, what have failed to cross the line and observe the best performers within the organisation.
Additionally, alongside the above features there is the third main feature called “Service Hub”. (HubSpot.com, 2018) This provides a live chat to those on the website or to those in need of help in real time. All team members will be able to know how many enquiries there are, the issues and the opportunity to help the client or potential client. There is a universal inbox, so all members can see what customers are being looked after and who needs attention. It allows all customers to be cared for in a quick and effective manner. For the more complicated issues that need special assistance, tickets are provided to the clients of Procad. This system ensures that customers of Procad can communicate with Procad effectively and that their issue is always solved. Health scoring is a new added feature that assigns certain customers placed on the risk associated and/or importance of the customer to Procad.
HubSpot business model is Software as a Service (SaaS). This is a software distribution model (Rouse, 2018). HubSpot acts as the third party for Procad. HubSpot hosts the applications and offers them to other business i.e. Procad over the internet. SaaS is one of three central sections of cloud computing. This software cuts out the need for companies to install or run these applications on their own computers, or to use their own data centres. Procad would not have to invest in expensive hardware or purchase software licenses.
The advantages of SaaS are that the models provide a subscription-based fee. This allows Procad to create more predictable budget forecasts, which can be terminated at any time. Furthermore, it allows Procad scale its volume of usage. Due to HubSpot storing data on cloud services it offers businesses like Procad high scalability, allowing Procad to access more services on demand. Also, Procad would benefit from automatic updates provided by the SaaS model. It would help Procad improve their service as they would be benefitting from the updated model/technology. Finally, SaaS allows users to access the necessary information from any geographic location on any device that is internet-enabled.
The advantages of HubSpot are that it automatically organises Procads interactions with customers and records their data. Also, HubSpot provides digital reports on marketing campaigns, allows Procad to use marketing tool templates and adds a personalised path for each of their customers. HubSpot compile SEO, social media, analytics and combines them into one. This allows Procads marketing to be automated through auto response and drip marketing. It gives the Procad employees more time to focus on making sure the service they are providing meet the expectations and needs of the consumer.
To achieve the necessary results qualitative research was needed as part of the research into Procad’s business intelligence systems. One of the techniques that is popular to achieve qualitative research results is interviewing. Interviews can be can flexible in terms of data collection methods and can be conducted in person; the advantages of personal contact methods are that it can produce a higher and faster rate of response. After researching the different types of interviewing techniques, it was decided that a semi-structured interview would be of most benefit. In a semi-structured interview scenario, the respondent can respond as freely as they want. There can be an increase use of open-ended questions, which allow the interviewer to potentially gain more in-depth knowledge of the subject matter (Bryman and Bell, 2015). This is based on the concept that the reward of conducting interviews is derived not only from the detailed account of where the business stands in its current state, from the information provided by the interviewee but also provides the interviewer with the personal and emotional experience that the interviewee has with the business. (Alshenqeeti, 2014). This can prove very useful in open ended questions which can ultimately lead to the acquisition of data that may not be accessible from any other source. (Alshenqeeti, 2014).
The series of questions (see appendices J) asked in this interview were devised to acquire an in-depth view of not only how the software is used by Procad but also to determine how much value it brings to the business. This was achieved by creating questions that would examine how the system was operating within each area of the business and how its use created additional benefits and potential issues. By examining the information gathered from asking these questions would it be possible to determine the software’s overall value to the business.
Upon completing the list of questions that would be required to obtain the necessary information and potentially additional information the interview was scheduled with the company’s contact person, Raymond O’ Mahony. The interview took place on the 20/10/18 at the Procad Engineering, Portal House, Loughmore Ave, Raheen Business Park, Limerick, V94 FHX7. The information gathered in the interview was recorded using an audio recording device and it was analysed by listening to the interview to identify the necessary information and any data that may have arisen during the interview that while not initially planned for proved to be useful.
From our use of the primary research method of conducting an interview we obtained information that expanded on the knowledge gained during the initial secondary research into the HubSpot software system. For instance, within Procad the main users of this software system include the sales, marketing and technical support departments. The software system gathers all communications between the customer and each of these departments, which allows the system to record a detailed log of every encounter with a customer since the first initial contact with the business. This allows employees to save time in securing orders as they can use this system to identify the customers queries and potential needs ahead of time; which ensures a more efficient customer service and a quicker sales process.
The system also aids Procad as it organizes customer contacts, efficiently gathers information from the customer via website analytics and it allows the marketing department to create more effectively designed personal marketing material for a customer. Another benefit that Procad derives from its implementation of this software system is that it gives a clear indication of the business sales pipeline and a live up to date feed of employees. This allows management to view how many sales leads are available, how many have been closed and how many are nearly complete. This information allows management to identify the performance of sales representatives and monitor those representatives that are high performers, those who are meeting targets and sales representative who are under performing.
Although this software system provides Procad with numerous benefits it isn’t without its drawbacks; there are issues with marketing material when a potential or new customers sign up to Procad. When a customer signs up on the Procad website they should receive a starter email with relevant information regarding what they have searched for on the website. However, there has been issues where a starter email isn’t sent out to a new/potential customer. (O’ Mahony, 2018)
Finally, it may be said that through primary and secondary research we developed an in-depth knowledge and reasoning of HubSpot and Software as a System (SaaS). We now understand the process involved from the employee’s perspective of HubSpot and how each step of the sales pipeline occurs. From the moment a potential customer has clicked onto the homepage to the moment a deal or issue is closed; all this information is collected, distributed and used by employees to help the process.
Through the research into the implementation of the HubSpot software system in Procad’s business activities we were able to conclude a clear relationship between the software’s use and profitable business activity. This is because during the primary research phase of this report it was established that the information concerning customer habits on Procad’s website, gathered via HubSpot analytical tools, was then used by the marketing department to create personalised adverts for customers. This illustrates the value HubSpot brings to Procad as the knowledge of customer habits provided by the software system was used to plan a profitable marketing advertisement which ultimately increased sales.
During the interview in the primary research phase of this report it was established only one underlying issue with Procads implementation of the HubSpot software system. This problem occurs when potential/new customers sign up and do not receive a starter email. This is an issue as this information can be used as a tool to answer any questions these customers may have. Unfortunately, we were unable to identify a resolution to this problem, however the benefits provided by HubSpot to Procad far outweigh this issue.
- Alshenqeeti, H. (2014). Interviewing as a Data Collection Method: A Critical Review. [ebook] Newcastle upon Tyne, p.1. Available at: http://www.sciedu.ca/journal/index.php/elr/article/view/4081/2608 [Accessed 15 Oct. 2018].
- Bryman, A. and Bell, E. (2015). Business Research methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.a single page.
- Colourbox (2018). Business Intelligence Pyramid. [image] Available at: https://www.colourbox.com/vector/businessintelligencepyramidconcept_infographic-vector-31407205 [Accessed 13 Oct. 2018].
- Hubspot.com. (2018). Marketing Software for Small Business | HubSpot. [online] Available at: https://www.hubspot.com/products/marketing [Accessed 17 Oct. 2018].
- Hubspot.com. (2018). Marketing Software for Small Business | HubSpot. [online] Available at: https://www.hubspot.com/products/marketing [Accessed 17 Oct. 2018].
- Hubspot.com. (2018). Service Hub Overview | HubSpot. [online] Available at: https://www.hubspot.com/products/service [Accessed 17 Oct. 2018].
- Loshin, D. (2018). Business Intelligence: The Savvy Manager’s Guide. 2nd ed. [ebook] pp.7-9. Available at: https://books.google.ie/books?id=WLv2Vj2QmL4C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ViewAPI&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false [Accessed 9 Oct. 2018].
- O’ Mahony, R. (2018). Interview with Procad Technical manager.
- Rouse, M. (2018). What is Software as a Service (SaaS)? – Definition from WhatIs.com. [online] SearchCloudComputing. Available at: https://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/definition/Software-as-a-Service [Accessed 6 Oct. 2018].
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J. List of Questions for interview with Procad’s technical manager – Raymond O’Mahony
- Which departments within the business use HubSpot software?
- What made the business decide to use HubSpot instead of similar software available on the market?
- How has HubSpot helped Procad?
- Have you seen an increase in customer orders since implementing HubSpot software in your business?
- Has the implantation of this software helped to improve the quality of your customer care service?
- Have you experienced any issues while using this software?
- Does the information you acquire from this software feed into other systems? i.e. a J.I.T system or an EDI system.
- What would you say is the most vital benefit the business receives from using this software?
- Has this system allowed you to identify high sale reps and reps who may need further training?
- Is there any training required to use HubSpot and if any updates occur is additional training required?
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