Customer Data & Decisions – “Big Data – Big Value”

In my previous blog (“Big Data – Big Waste?”), I advocated about the importance of an upfront blueprint to help focus big data efforts in areas that lead to valuable insights.  Taking actions on these insights is ultimately how you glean value from your big data.


The 5th “V”

Strangely, many who espouse the virtues of big data rarely start by describing the value that can come from it, but instead pontificate about its attributes – Volume, Velocity, Variety, and sometimes a 4th V – Veracity.   Let’s talk about the 5th “V” – Value.


What is “Value” really?

Lasting value is created when there is a positive exchange between you and your customer. Yet if you sell something that doesn’t meet their needs, you create the illusion of value, only to see it wiped out later.   Conversely, discovering and acting on activity patterns can lead to explicit and latent needs being met, resulting in customer satisfaction and lasting value.  Tracking big data effectively can lead to these discoveries.

To illustrate, if I observe a customer’s repetitious buying patterns, and then offer to sell products in bundles, bulk ship them for less, or proactively send them, value is created for them – and you ensure a future purchase stream.

Let’s look at some examples of what firms are doing to unearth insights, take actions, and create value.

Real life examples

A leading automotive firm installs numerous sensors in high end vehicles that gather driver data –   predictive analytics warn drivers when fatigue might be setting in.   Farmers use wearables on cows, improving fertility and birthing success rates.

A major online retailer uses purchase history to predict what products you are likely to buy in the future, and stages those closer to reduce shipping time.  A travel site can monitor real-time flight activity, anticipate delays, and notify travelers – often before the airline does.


These are but a few examples of the way firms are already using sensors, streaming big data, finding actionable insights, and creating value for their customers and them.

What should I do?

Ask yourself two simple questions:

  1. Is my company using modern data collection, streaming big data in real-time and using predictive intelligence to understand the patterns?
  2. Are we taking immediate action on these insights to enhance the customer experience?

If you answered yes to the first, but not to the second, you have the infrastructure, but without action will get no benefits.  If neither is true, you are falling behind by the day.  But it’s not too late.  Act now for value.

You’ll need a unified system that can ingest structured and streaming unstructured data, perform real-time analytics that monitor for patterns, decision strategies that arbitrate and trigger the right actions when unusual opportunity or risk is detected – and a system that can also automatically kick off processes to alert personnel, open a case, or notify customers.   Make sure to find a system that can give you this in one platform or otherwise you will waste valuable time implementing, integrating, and adjusting various pieces when you could have been creating value.

Comments and alternative views are always welcomed.

Note:  These views are my own, and not that of my employer