XM Versus BI: No Real Comparison

When I was at the SAP Select event in Berlin last week, I was asked a great question… Isn’t Experience Management (XM) just like business intelligence (BI)?

First of all, they’re nothing alike. However, I understand why they may appear similar at a surface level. That’s why I really like this question; it gives me the chance to provide additional clarity around XM.

Here’s why XM is nothing like BI:

  • BI is a technology, XM is a discipline. BI is a tool that takes streams of data and transforms them into presentable formats. XM is a discipline that helps organizations deliver differentiated experiences by continuously learning, propagating insights, and rapidly adapting. Organizations adopt XM by mastering a set of six competencies that are enabled by technology and nurtured by culture.
  • BI focuses on O-data, XM adds X-data to O-data. BI collects operational data (O-data) from a number of internal systems, looking at how operations are performing. While O-data provides some insights, it lacks the deep understanding that comes from people (customers, employees, partners, etc.) who can explain why things are happening, with information about what they are thinking and feeling. That’s why XM collects this experience data (X-data) and drives insights by combining it with O-data.
  • BI enables analysis, XM embeds analytics. BI provides a platform that analysts can use to manipulate data, often connecting it with other analytical tools. A strong XM platform uses analytics at the core of its data processing engine, so that all types of users can gain instant access to deep insights. The Qualtrics XM Platform includes Qualtrics iQ, which makes it easy for novices to tap into the power of powerful capabilities such as text analytics, predictive analytics, and voice analytics.
  • BI is about reporting, XM is about acting. The output from BI is typically a set of dashboards to be reviewed by a limited group of people across an organization. An XM effort may provide dashboards, but only when that format is part of driving smarter actions across an organization. That’s why the Qualtrics XM Platform supports a robust set of workflows based on insights that drive action across an organization and can integrate into process flows within systems such as CRM and HRM.

The bottom line: XM is a capability that is woven throughout your operating fabric.

Written by 

I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

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