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.
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.
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?
Part 3 of 4: Grow Revenue from Your Existing Customers: How Big Data Analytics Can Help
This post is the third in a four-part series. The second installment, “Big Data Analytics: Necessary but Not Sufficient,” discussed three new ways companies can use Big Data analytics to improve a business’ ability to consistently improve revenue growth from existing customers. Here, we’ll discuss aspirational value and Big Data analytics’ role in attaining it.
People sometimes fail to notice opportunities that later seem obvious. Even when we do identify such opportunities, we may neglect to pursue them, or we may take an ineffective approach to pursuing them. One example of this phenomenon is how businesses think about driving revenue growth.
In a previous post, “5 Obstacles to Achieving Scalable Data Science, and How to Overcome Them,” we talked about perspectives distilled from hundreds of conversations with our customers and partners and the challenges they face in trying to achieve a scalable data science capability. All of these customers have an extensive backlog of ideas, but they struggle to convert these ideas into actual use cases, or mini-applications, that can run in a production environment and generate real business value. These businesses universally encounter the following key obstacles:
(1) They have too many tools and technologies to manage effectively.
(2) Data is everywhere, but deriving value from it is extremely difficult.
(3) The traditional “artisan” approach to use cases severely limits the number of business problems they can solve.
(4) Operationalizing data science, with hundreds of models in production, is extremely difficult.
(5) Companies are willing to experiment but are afraid to make the long-term commitment necessary to foster widespread adoption.
Part 2 of 4: Grow Revenue from Your Existing Customers: How Big Data Analytics Can Help
This post is the second in a four-part series. The first installment, “Go Beyond the Symptoms: How to Overcome Revenue Growth Challenges,” discussed the key signs of slowing growth and the first steps organizations can take to turn it around. Here, we’ll discuss three new ways in which companies can use Big Data analytics to improve a business’ ability to consistently improve revenue growth from their existing customers.
Big Data analytics in 2016 occupies roughly the same spot in the corporate consciousness as did the concept of cloud computing in 2008. By now, every world-class company that generates vast quantities of data has recognized that this data has exceptionally high value as an asset. These companies have made technology investments accordingly, procuring software solutions to organize, analyze, and manage the data, storage solutions (cloud or on-premise) to facilitate access to and distribution of the data, and often also professional services to enable and operate this infrastructure.