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Dealing with big data

Zafar Anjum | Feb. 10, 2012
How business leaders can use business intelligence to transform and grow their corporations.

"Many corporations face challenges of unclear business requirements, inconsistent data, poor time to market and failure to harvest business benefits from analytical tools," he said. "These challenges come at a time when Big Data is emerging as a major trend and differentiator in view of slower economic growth, increased competition and the rise of social media."

For example, Narayanan said that his company helped Viva Telecom of Kuwait grow its business using iDecisions framework. The iDecisions framework is a BI tool which helps enterprises rapidly adopt the best practices of major corporations by customising data input which can help leaders make effective decisions cutting across various business functions.

"The iDecisions framework has helped us roll out a BI program which analysed how and why mobile customers migrated (or "churned") from one telecom provider to another, the effectiveness of marketing and channel initiatives as well as sales intelligence which helped increase sales at retail sales outlets," said Arnold Ali Cender, data warehousing and BI program manager of Viva Telecom, who also spoke at the forum. Using this tool, Cender said that his telco could bring the churn rate down by 20 percent.

Harvesting data smartly

"A good amount of data is outside the organisation's visibility," said Narayanan. A lot of that data can be found on social networking sites. He calls such data low hanging fruit. What is better to do is to look at the data about a brand on the networks and come out with a sentiment meter. "This whole thing can be done in a real time manner so that organisations can start responding in the same media," he said.

He gave an example. When the train between Paris and London got stuck, people started tweeting. British Railways did not even realise this was going on till it became too late. Organisations can't afford this kind of folly any more. It might affect their business. "Today, you need to engage the customer in real time and in the same media," he said.

For example, there is a lot of customer churn in telcos and the banking industry (credit cards). What BI services providers can do, Narayanan said, is to identify the influencers. They can categorise the customers into those who are influencers and those who are not and come out with a customer influence factor. "This can help in attrition prediction or churn prediction," he said. "The BI system can identify the influencers. If they are saying negative things about your organisation, the system can help ring fence them. If they are saying positive things about your company, the system can tell you how to leverage on those influencers."

 

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