Getting business value from enterprise data
By Richard Jones December 22, 2015
- Hadoop brings the benefits of high performance and predictable scalability
- But relevance of big data to broader business objectives requires a platform approach
BIG data is no longer just hype. As the Apache Hadoop ecosystem has evolved and matured, enterprises are graduating from evaluation and prototyping to production, deploying Hadoop-based platforms as enterprise data hubs to deliver transformative business value.
Hadoop brings the benefits of high performance and predictable scalability without schema restrictions to complex data with minimal cost, making it very attractive to budget-conscious IT organisations.
Nevertheless, the relevance of big data to broader business objectives requires a platform approach that ensures superior performance and operational efficiency aligned to a wide variety of use cases and additional functionality.
One real possibility is an enterprise data hub architecture that builds on Hadoop’s principal benefits – one that delivers an array of powerful processing, exploratory, analytic, and real-time capabilities, certified to work seamlessly and securely with existing infrastructure and tools.
Here, we dive deeper into how businesses can achieve full value from their data with this.
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Keep an eye on virtually everything
Perhaps no industry has been more affected by the data deluge than retail.
Retailers now have the opportunity to capture and analyse real-time interaction and behavioral data, combining it with transactional data, to get more complete perspectives into the customer journey across in-store, online, and mobile channels.
Service providers, such as hotel and restaurants, too, are among the world’s biggest aggregators of consumer data, and work under the most uncertain regulatory conditions.
Securely storing billions of records and providing transparent, real-time customer access has historically required multiple expensive systems to handle the huge size, complexity, and variety of data.
At the same time, healthcare organisations have a unique opportunity to map the patient experience across care centres, online and at home.
With the move towards the digitisation of patient data, together with the adoption of wearables, fitness trackers, and other connected health devices, care providers are able to build a more complete picture of how treatments and preventative measures impact patient health.
With an enterprise data hub, these organisations can map diverse human interaction, transaction, and device data across multiple platforms in a single place at considerably lower cost.
Given rapid systems consolidation and the competition to acquire and retain business, businesses have the tools to research, develop, and bring new products to market in a fraction of the time.
A deeper and more synchronous view of behaviour – while maintaining security and privacy – is a prime benefit of a powerful, centralised data hub.
Win more customers
One of the most obvious areas of focus for online retailers is in improving their conversion rates. Why do shoppers abandon their carts? What would help them drive towards a purchase decision faster? If they leave, how can we get them back?
Data holds the answer to many of these questions. Many leading retailers now rely on an enterprise data hub to complement their existing analytical approaches, giving their product, marketing, and data science teams the power and freedom to test offers and recommendations in real-time, analyse the results, and iterate quickly.
Experimentation is key to a modern online product strategy, and an enterprise data hub helps make it possible.
Keep customers (by keeping them happy)
Voluntary churn is the service provider’s enemy. Unfortunately, it is increasingly challenging for businesses to understand what keeps customers happy or why they leave.
This is because the number of touchpoints have increased – at home or at work; online, mobile, or physical – there are more opportunities for a brand to thrill or disappoint, and even anger customers than ever before.
Predicting customer churn risks and judiciously applying tactics to retain key customers – such as those with high social media influencer scores – has never been more critical.
An enterprise data hub combines the analytical power necessary to build comprehensive models of churn behaviour, with the real-time capabilities to take action.
Nothing beats engaging directly with loyal users to increase their likelihood to recommend, or with dissatisfied users at the critical moment to avoid attrition.
These days, customer loyalty is not enough. New channels create new opportunities for customers to interact with a brand’s products and services, or opportunities for competitors to encroach.
Media companies know this all too well, as online streaming services battle for market share in a space that hardly existed even just a few years ago. Designing the right bundling strategies becomes imperative.
Similarly, financial institutions compete across a broad array of offerings, where the best integrated customer experience can be the difference between a committed customer and one who will seek more compelling offers elsewhere.
By developing a more complete view of consumer behaviour through analysis and modelling of the diverse data available in an enterprise data hub, organisations can drive strategies to grow share of wallet and identify new revenue channels, solidifying or expanding their competitive positions in the market.
Get better and better
Every company is concerned with the quality of their products and services. With the increased online availability of consumer reviews and recommendations, coupled with the persistent risk of a bad customer experience gone viral, it has never been more important to use data to improve product quality.
Assessing quality, however, can be extremely challenging.
An enterprise data hub allows businesses to aggregate quality data from the entire manufacturing process and supply chain, from customer service channels, and from the online and social sphere, to comprehensively assess quality.
This also means they can better align investments to where they are most needed.
And finally, turn data into dollars
Many companies are starting to realise that they possess a vast untapped asset: Their data.
The opportunity to monetise corporate databases – customer profiles, buying patterns, location data, and more – is tremendous.
Of course, there is a need to balance opportunity with privacy concerns and regulations.
An enterprise data hub combines unlimited storage and real-time data access with the security and governance necessary to build an infrastructure for an ethical and compliant data monetisation strategy.
By blending internal and external data and selectively exposing it through Hadoop’s various interactive and online interfaces, it is now possible to deliver data as a product to grow revenues while managing the risk of doing so.
In summary, an enterprise data hub serves as a flexible repository to collect and keep unlimited data. It speeds up analytics and business intelligence reporting and provides a full picture of operations to enable process innovation.
Most importantly, it unlocks new data-driven business opportunities that were previously too expensive or complex for most enterprises to grasp.
Richard Jones is Asia Pacific vice president of sales & operations at Cloudera.
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