Big Data: It’s No Joke
Big data has typically been about the biggest brains in organizations looking for big solutions to big problems. For years, business intelligence has been the domain of people planning strategy over a relatively long time horizon, using tools and tactics that were cumbersome and often counterintuitive. You quite literally had to be a rocket scientist to understand what the huge amounts of data meant to the organization.
But all of this is changing. Advanced processing power and rapidly maturing analytics technology are colliding with a growing appetite among executives for in-depth, customer-based information. As a result, we are seeing new demands from every level of the organization to access vast amounts of information in support of day-to-day — even minute-to-minute — decision making, not just long-term planning.
In other words, the most successful entities — whether they are companies, agencies, political parties or even individuals — are not just those that can apply economies of scale to produce competitively priced offerings. Instead, the winners will most likely be those who can microtarget, delivering what different segments of the market want based on a local understanding of conditions and circumstances during specific customer interactions.
Take the case of CSC’s own Gary Jackson, who works with companies worldwide on developing big data strategies. He is very serious about big data. But he is also a very funny guy. Seriously, he’s funny. A couple of months ago he swung by D.C. from Hong Kong, and one evening a group of us saw him deliver his routine at a downtown comedy café. Comedy is truly a high-wire act, and Gary will tell you that every room is different. This is especially true if you cross continents and cultures. So, how is he able to leave us all laughing? He has learned how to capture the mood of the room and the moment. Only then can he segment the crowd to carefully choose the material he will present.
A joke, or a product, cannot be delivered in exactly the same way in different places to different cultures in a successful manner. Organizations that understand this will increasingly provide more employees access to big data resources and offer business intelligence tools to support routine interactions.
This is clearly illustrated in our big data cover story, “Avis Budget’s Road to Customer Value.” Like many businesses, Avis Budget had loads of customer data with no clear way to analyze it. Today, the company has a new marketing science organization, a new customer value model, and a new marketing campaign and technology toolset. All of this has led to improved customer loyalty and improved profitability. Best of all, it has helped the company increase its revenue by $200 million.
In the article, “Big Data Meets Presidential Politics,” we show how the Obama campaign successfully used big data analytics to gain votes. The campaign deployed a team of technologists who built a sophisticated data platform code-named Narwhal to help segment, track and microtarget voters. And don’t miss the piece by Sashi Reddi, VP and general manager of CSC’s Big Data and Analytics group, which identifies four big data trends you should be tracking.
We hope you enjoy the issue.
Editorial Director, CSC World