This blog post was originally posted on CIO.com
Another great Strata+Hadoop World Conference took place in San Jose the week of March 13, 2017. Topics covered included mostly Apache Hadoop projects, but a great deal of the attention was put toward machine learning and real-time analytics.
I can particularly appreciate the importance of real-time analytics in the present digital transformation climate. When it comes to businesses and driving your brand to greatness, applications and real-time analytics can truly make you or break you.
I think about the multiple applications I have on my phone and the impact they have on me each day, even when simply walking into a store. Take for instance, a large warehouse membership store where I shop on a bi-monthly basis. I buy the same brands and products every time. I have their app on my phone. Now imagine the impact that application and real-time analytics can bring to my shopping experience. With a real-time experience, as I walk down the aisle, the application could present coupons for the products that I use. The application could present special discounts on products that are often bought with the products I use. With data analytics, the application would not present coupons for steaks when I only buy vegetables and vegetarian products. This is where I think businesses tend to fail when it comes to real-time analytics. So often, they refuse to learn more about their customers and then act accordingly. There is little more frustrating than using an application for a business you clearly support and have them present you with offers for that are not even of remote interest. I don’t have children so please do not show me diaper coupons. That type of experience ends up being frustrating and I’m not alone when I say that it can result in me disconnecting myself from the application or the business.
A note to businesses that are building applications to engage with your customers: do not deploy the application until it is ready. Don’t utilize real-time analytics until you know that you have all the necessary data. Once you take the step in attempting to improve your relationship with your customer, if you fail to deliver relevant content, you may lose that customer and risk never getting them back. Make sure your applications and real-time analytics are built correctly from the beginning. It takes time and you must respect the customer and the data to then do the work to achieve the ideal level of success.
This reminds me of a recent automobile customer I was working with to discuss data analytics. They of course are interested in the future of cars, as well as ride sharing and autonomous automobiles. These are important discussions to be having. When I asked them what they are doing about the present product and services they are developing through data analytics, they gave me that look of dismay. I asked what current applications they have and how are they are utilizing them to ensure the present customers continue to drive their brand of car. You can’t worry about the future if you neglect the present. Can customers make service appointments via an application? Can I research, design, and buy a car through the application? When customers walk into the dealership, is someone associated with the brand notified immediately so that they can greet the customer and provide them with their drink of choice? Does the mobile app recognize that I am making dealer contact? Building an application in this way to drive even greater analytics provides multiple new opportunities to engage with, understand and retain customers.
At Dell EMC, we recently worked with a leading global financial customer to help implement application and real-time analytics requirements for a newly developed team. This new team was planning to take ownership of all the data to provide analytics and application solutions across the lines of business. The results of their efforts, after putting the information assets to work for them, was that that they opened up new revenue streams, they developed new and differentiated service offerings, and they created easily accessible communications tools to inform decision making for both internal and external customers.
Your data has more value than you may realize and contains power beyond your wildest dreams. Applying insights through applications lets you get closer to customers as you keep them coming back for more.