Forrester surveys in China show that business data and analytics are increasing as the No. 1 technology priority for Chinese businesses; 55% of technology decision-makers in the country plan to use data and analytics to improve business decisions and outcomes in 2014, up from 43% in 2013. Chinese digital marketers are looking for powerful tools to better understand customer behavior, especially regarding customer acquisition. Businesses in industries like banking and financial services, telecommunications, and retail understand that data and analytics are critical for enabling business transformation — but they have struggled with a lack of data and analytics tools in the market.

The supply side of the Chinese customer analytics market is fragmented and includes a confusing mix of global and local providers. Most customer analytics solution providers started doing business in China in the early 2000s, when the country became much more open to foreign capital. Companies like Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola introduced new marketing concepts and became the first to use customer analytics solutions in China. To serve these global companies, leading analytics vendors like FICO, IBM, Oracle, and SAS successfully built up their analytics businesses and extended them into local Chinese markets. Increasing demand for analytics also compelled local vendors like Alibaba and Baidu to start providing customer analytics solutions in China. My latest report, “The Customer Analytics Market in China,” profiles these customer analytics providers in four categories to ease your decision-making on vendor selection.

  • Data management capabilities. Local vendors like Baidu have broader data sources and types but lack capabilities in variable data preparation. Global providers have localized their data management capabilities, especially in ETL processes, data security, and privacy.
  • Analytics production. Global vendors like FICO and SAS developed solid analytics capabilities as a key competency in past decades and have now introduced modeling and advanced analytics capabilities to China. Local providers like Alibaba have employed thousands of engineers to develop analytics engines to serve large enterprises.
  • Analytics consumption. All of the providers that we profile are known for their tool usability, but global providers have stronger presence in reporting and business intelligence.
  • Analytics activation. Customer analytics providers have prioritized marketing and operations execution, which deliver straightforward customer outcomes. Global providers like IBM and Oracle are also known for helping companies with customer decision execution.

It’s not easy for customer insights professionals, even those with analytics skills, to find and select the most suitable customer analytics providers in China, as there are many vendors with niche capabilities. You can use the framework in “The Forrester Wave™: Customer Analytics Solutions, Q4 2012” as a starting point to evaluate common vendor capabilities like partnerships, customer references, product road maps, services, and support. You then have to assess criteria specific to the Chinese landscape, such as data sources and text mining.

If you have any queries on selecting local customer analytics providers, please feel free to contact us.