To predict the future, one must look at the past, says the old adage. To determine what to expect in 2017, we thought it was best to draw lessons from 2016 despite our industry’s yearning for dramatic change. Laks Srinivasan, COO at Opera Solutions, shares his insights into the biggest Big Data trends of 2016 and reflects on where the market is going and how companies will react.
Artificial intelligence is no longer just evolving nomenclature in IT. Everyone is taking interest. With the mainstream press and bloggers from every corner weighing in, it is worth taking stock of the nomenclature and learning how to differentiate three overly used key terms: artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and deep learning. The simplest way to think of their relationship is to visualize them as a concentric model (as depicted in the figure below) with AI — the idea that came first and has since been evolving — having the largest area. This is followed by machine learning, which blossomed later and is shown as a subset of AI. Inside both of those is deep learning, which is just one class of machine learning algorithms but one that is currently driving today’s AI explosion.
A guide from the head of HR at a leading analytics company
Data scientists are in higher demand than ever before. According to the latest CrowdFlower survey, 79% of respondents reported a data scientist shortage in 2015. In 2016, that number grew to 83%. The race is on to find skilled people who can organize, structure, and make business sense out of Big Data sets. People with heavy STEM, analytics, and conceptual skills, and the attendant work-friendly personality traits (insatiable curiosity, ability to prioritize, and a healthy dose of skepticism, to name a few), can virtually write their own tickets.
Everywhere you turn, both business and IT talk about data science. But there’s also trepidation about how to get started, especially in the context of attaining an organization’s business goals and objectives beyond the realm of lab or departmental experimentation.
Everyone wants to belong. But how can that basic human need coexist with the commercial needs of a business so that both the customer and the business find the relationship beneficial? Big Data analytics makes it possible while also opening new possibilities.
History is replete with examples of human beings finding ways to connect with one another. We form tribes, congregations, clubs, and entire societies. We develop communications channels and pass specialized content through those channels. Even efforts to divide these groups and disrupt these channels simply engender new ones and actually help strengthen our identity as individuals. This pattern has continued to evolve with the advent of the digital age and extends to peoples’ relationships with products and services. Are you loyal to Mac or PC? Do you use Facebook or Instagram? Are you enrolled in Amazon Prime? Are you a Netflix subscriber? This need to identify one’s self with a larger group is a primal human instinct no matter how contemporary the group.
“Didn’t you just go to a similar Big Data conference recently?” my wife asked me. “How much could have changed in a few months?” I was hesitating about attending another conference in a short time span. My wife is right about most things, but in this case, I am glad I didn’t listen and went anyway. I learned about many new advances in both commercial and open source tools and across the whole technology stack: new hardware, in-memory databases, and new-and-improved tools.
Calculating customer lifetime value has been a critical part of the marketing process for years, but new technologies are changing consumer behavior, and marketing professionals need to catch up.
Ever have a weekend where you just can’t stop spending money? Maybe you’re using some free time to stock up, or you’re decorating a room or planning a party. Or maybe you’re not spending more but just consuming more — a good television or movie series or, for example, plowing through a good book on your Kindle. This kind of behavior is called “clumpiness.” And while it’s not necessarily new, new technologies — particularly in the world of digital content — have shed light on this type of behavior for all industries. The problem is that it hasn’t been included in the formula marketers have been using for decades.
Everybody seems to be talking about machine learning these days, and a quick check of Google returns 21.2 million search results for the term. Clearly, this is a popular topic. Yet the term “machine learning” can have many different meanings, depending on the context in which it is being discussed. It is also associated with an equally lengthy list of data science techniques and technologies. Business leaders often feel overwhelmed by this rather bewildering array of terms, analytical approaches, and technology solutions. There are hundreds of algorithms, with new variants seemingly appearing every day. Researching them online does not seem to clarify the choices or point to an obviously superior decision, as most articles target deep experts and revolve around nuances of a particular model or open source package. As a result, business leaders can be reluctant to adopt something they don’t fully understand, resulting in missed opportunities.
PART 4 of 4: Grow Revenue from Your Existing Customers: How Big Data Analytics Can Help
This post is the fourth in a four-part series. The third installment, “Existing Customers vs. New Customers — Exploring the Road Less Traveled,” discussed aspirational value and Big Data analytics’ role in attaining it. Here, we’ll discuss how all the elements described in this series fit together to drive revenue growth.
Businesses that overemphasize or exclusively focus on new business development to drive revenue growth are missing a substantial opportunity: their existing customers. Information about a business’ existing customers already resides in multiple areas of the overall corporate database, not just on a business development list. These customers’ profile information, consisting of demographic and psychographic details, preferences, and behaviors is there, offering a data picture that is far richer than the picture associated with prospective customers.
With 2016 already halfway over, retail marketers are deep into their 2016 campaigns, which are intended to acquire and retain customers, drive sales, and improve overall customer loyalty. But what are marketers doing differently to make 2016 better than 2015? Last year, the Commerce Department recorded only a 2.1% increase in retail sales (excluding automotive) over 2014 — marking the worst such performance since 20091 and a far cry from the 4.1% increase that the NRF projected2. If retailers haven’t changed the way they approach marketing, are we in for more of the same?