What we don’t need is more Big Data, we need action­able data.” This is a com­monly acknowl­edged sen­ti­ment today with which I agree. Since we’ve been using the term Big Data for some time now, I think we can lose sight of its mean­ing. Briefly, Gart­ner defines Big Data as hav­ing three char­ac­ter­is­tics: high veloc­ity, high vol­ume, and high vari­ety. The Har­vard Busi­ness Review (HBR) in “Cus­tomer Intel­li­gence Tames the Big Data Chal­lenge” explains,

Big Data exam­ines what peo­ple say about what they have done or will do. That’s in addi­tion to track­ing what peo­ple are actu­ally doing about every­thing from crime to weather to shop­ping to brands. It is only Big Data’s capac­ity for deal­ing with vast quan­ti­ties of real-time unstruc­tured data that makes this possible.”

In all areas of enter­prise, teams and depart­ments are look­ing for action­able data. There are end­less ben­e­fits to man­ag­ing Big Data instead of either ignor­ing it or allow­ing it to out­pace your orga­ni­za­tion. Today we will look at indus­try research that pro­vides three key rea­sons why your orga­ni­za­tion needs a Big Data and ana­lyt­ics strat­egy now. A Big Data and ana­lyt­ics strat­egy ben­e­fits your orga­ni­za­tion in sev­eral ways:

1 | Cre­at­ing Smarter, Leaner Organizations

A well thought out and exe­cuted Big Data and ana­lyt­ics strat­egy ulti­mately makes orga­ni­za­tions smarter and more effi­cient. Today, Big Data is being lever­aged in many indus­tries from crim­i­nal jus­tice to health care to real estate with pow­er­ful out­comes. The same com­mon sense approach to Big Data should be employed by orga­ni­za­tions desir­ing sim­i­lar results.

For exam­ple, HBR reports that the New York City Police Depart­ment uses Big Data tech­nol­ogy “to geolo­cate and ana­lyze ‘his­tor­i­cal arrest pat­terns’ while cross-tabbing them with sport­ing events, pay­days, rain­fall, traf­fic flows, and fed­eral hol­i­days.” Essen­tially, the NYPD is uti­liz­ing data pat­terns, sci­en­tific analy­sis, and tech­no­log­i­cal tools to do their job and to do it to the best of their abil­ity. Using a Big Data and ana­lyt­ics strat­egy, the NYPD was able to iden­tify crime “hot spots.” From there, they deployed offi­cers to loca­tions where crimes were likely to occur before the crimes were actu­ally com­mit­ted. Bril­liant, right?

As I wrote in an ear­lier blog about audi­ence man­age­ment solu­tions, gone are the days of “go with your gut,” even in the police force, arguably one of the most instinct– and experience-driven voca­tions. This does not mean that instinct, human emo­tion, and rea­son are gone. It does mean that data is cre­at­ing leads and con­text in which the NYPD can hope­fully oper­ate at an opti­mal level. Work­ing smarter, leaner, and meaner. Big Data and ana­lyt­ics are help­ing the NYPD and other large police depart­ments to antic­i­pate and iden­tify crim­i­nal activ­ity before it occurs.

There are plenty of exam­ples like these, in every indus­try, as lead­ing orga­ni­za­tions con­tinue to prac­tice what GE’s CMO Beth Com­stock recently called “machine whispering”:

The same logic is being applied to eco­nomic fore­cast­ing. For exam­ple, the num­ber of Google queries about hous­ing and real estate from one quar­ter to the next turns out to pre­dict more accu­rately what’s going to hap­pen in the hous­ing mar­ket than any team of expert real estate forecasters.”

The ques­tion before us today is, how can Big Data and ana­lyt­ics be sim­i­larly lever­aged by your orga­ni­za­tion to pro­vide pow­er­ful results?

2 | Equip­ping Your Orga­ni­za­tion to Have Cross-Channel Conversations

As most orga­ni­za­tions will agree (if we’re hon­est with our­selves), it’s sim­ply not pos­si­ble to carry out the con­ver­sa­tions we once had with our cus­tomers. There’s too much dia­logue com­ing in from var­i­ous sources. We need help. In Forrester’s thought lead­er­ship paper, “Use Behav­ioral Mar­ket­ing To Up The Ante In The Age Of The Cus­tomer,” they note that build­ing “the tech­ni­cal infra­struc­ture to sup­port dynamic, cross-channel con­ver­sa­tions with cus­tomers” is absolutely nec­es­sary for orga­ni­za­tional impact. They go on to explain,

It’s sim­ply not pos­si­ble to man­age the deliv­ery of dynamic, tar­geted, con­sis­tent con­tent, offers, and prod­ucts, across dig­i­tally enabled cus­tomer touch­points when mar­ket­ing tasks are semi­au­to­mated with a series of unin­te­grated soft­ware tools.”

Best indus­try prac­tices today sug­gest stay­ing close to the cus­tomer “by invest­ing in cus­tomer insight.” Accord­ing to “iCon­sumer: Dig­i­tal Con­sumers Alter­ing the Value Chain,” today’s dig­i­tal ecosys­tem demands strong mar­ket intel­li­gence: “Inno­v­a­tive teams will inte­grate emerg­ing dig­i­tal, social and mobile tools into more tra­di­tional ‘voice of the cus­tomer’ processes, and effec­tively build feed­back loops into key busi­ness func­tions such as prod­uct devel­op­ment and sales.”

How closely does this describe your organization’s mar­ket­ing efforts?

3| Prepar­ing Your Orga­ni­za­tion for the Inevitable Future

What is that inevitable future? The dig­i­ti­za­tion of all customer-facing orga­ni­za­tional sys­tems from cus­tomer ser­vice to sales to marketing.

The iCon­sumer report makes an inter­est­ing and note­wor­thy case for why struc­tural changes within orga­ni­za­tions (related to Big Data) are nec­es­sary now as rever­sals are likely to come. Rever­sals, MGI notes, come grad­u­ally until they come sud­denly, inter­rupt­ing “life as we know it.” They cite two inter­est­ing rever­sals. The first rever­sal was in the news­pa­per indus­try that moved from boom­ing to near obso­lete with the advent of online pub­lish­ing. This hap­pened within a decade. The sec­ond rever­sal was in the recording/music indus­try that moved from boom­ing CD sales to obso­lete (CD sales) with the advent of dig­i­tal music. This also hap­pened within a decade. Both rever­sals were grad­ual until they were sudden.

These are both great exam­ples of the grad­ual takeover that Big Data man­age­ment tools are hav­ing within the mar­ket­ing teams and depart­ments of every orga­ni­za­tion today. From the small­est mom and pop shop to the largest, inter­na­tional orga­ni­za­tions, orga­ni­za­tions that resist the sci­en­tific and sys­tem­atic approach to data analy­sis, online adver­tis­ing, and more will become obso­lete. For­tu­nately, we are still in the era of grad­ual shift. Will orga­ni­za­tions heed the warn­ing before it’s too late?

The Big Data Rever­sal Is Com­ing: Is Your Orga­ni­za­tion Ready?

It’s just a mat­ter of time before the sud­den rever­sal comes. All the signs point to its arrival. The ques­tion is, will your orga­ni­za­tion have the proper Big Data and ana­lyt­ics strat­egy in place to sur­vive the reversal?

2 comments
AabhaSidhu
AabhaSidhu

This was a good read Tim. The facilitating of cross-channel conversations is indeed a great advantage of big data. This article http://bit.ly/MjQJAG also talks about why marketers need big data in a nutshell