Unearthing Your Big Data Goldmine

How many pieces of content are posted to Facebook every day?

A: 500 million
B: 10 billion
C: 30 billion
D: 100 billion

The correct answer is C, 30 billion pieces of content — Facebook users create billions of posts daily, and many are related to specific brands. To learn how savvy companies are taking advantage of the data at their fingertips to generate revenue and improve the customer experience, read on…

In the age of digital transformation, an important trend has emerged: Collecting customer data has gone from a necessary evil to a value-driven activity. By analyzing trends found in their massive data stores, companies can often discover how to improve sales and customer satisfaction.

According to a recent Accenture report, executives surveyed say big data analytics will help them generate new sources of revenue (56 percent), enhance the customer experience (51 percent), help drive new product and service development (50 percent) and help them win and keep customers (47 percent).

But not every business has been as quick to recognize the value that customer data and analytics can bring to their organization, says Brian Kelly, CEO of Vestrics, a data analytics services firm in Carrboro, North Carolina.“New companies and nimble organizations like Google, Amazon and Netflix have built business models around monetizing customer data,” he says. “More traditional firms may realize that data is valuable, but most don’t have business processes in place to do anything with it.”

That won’t necessarily put them out of business right away, but it will limit their ability to grow and survive over the long term. According to the Accenture survey, 79 percent of executives believe companies that do not embrace big data will lose their competitive position and may even face extinction in the coming years.

Not so fast

To avoid such an outcome, companies need to focus on digitally servicing their current and prospective customers. Implementing open technology platforms that allow them to capture and analyze data about how customers engage with their brand is critical to accomplishing this goal. Investing in mobile-centric open platforms and augmenting them with data analytics gives three kinds of added value to companies:

  1. Leveraging mobile data like location, and supplementing with insightful analytics to mine interests and needs, creates new opportunities to increase revenue.
  2. Business intelligence gleaned from good analytics of big data and customer interaction metrics allows businesses to better leverage automation in their business systems and concentrate on decision science to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
  3. Systems that leverage mobile-focused biometrics, and a customer digital footprint engenders an experience that is at once better streamlined and more secure. It has the added advantage that the customer can choose the method of interacting Web, mobile application, or voice/video to fit their personal preference. The ability to naturally service these disparate devices and methods, while still integrating into a common customer journey, provides a seamlessness that increases retention, satisfaction, and profitability.

Kelly warns, however, that extracting such value from customer data isn’t easy. It requires a culture change in the way companies think about the value of data, investments in open platforms and mobile technology to enable seamless data gathering, and analytics experts who understand how to harness the power of big data to get business results.

“It’s a gradual change process that needs to be driven from the top down,” Kelly says.

Business leaders would be well-served to push these initiatives forward. While customer analytics is still a leading-edge trend, it is catching on fast–companies that don’t get on board risk losing their customers to more nimble competitors who have built their businesses around the smart use of customer data.

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