Surfing big waves

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large ocean waveI just spent much of the past week watching and trying to ride waves on the North Carolina coast. Small waves, mind you, nothing spectacular and certainly nothing that you would consider edgy or life-altering. Nothing that big wave surfers like Laird Hamilton, Garrett McNamara and others of their substance would find the least bit interesting. These guys go to places like Nazare, Portugal, to ride waves 30 meters and higher on a board. Really!

Like these guys on their freakish waves and Hendrix with his guitar, don’t you want to do something transformational for your company with all of this big data we keep hearing about?

Last week I wrote about how technology advancements and a new approach to analytics that can help optimize many kinds of decisions across all industries. New data types, sophisticated hardware, and advanced software are the means that get much of the hype, but the ends are those key strategic, tactical, and operational decisions that drive business value. Here is a typical scenario where a new approach can magnify your results.

Your company competes by growing your share-of-wallet (SOW) from customers in valuable segments. Your differentiation strategy includes analytics for customer selection, SOW growth through cross-sell and up-sell, and churn prevention.

In particular, it is critical that you interact with each customer across channels at any point in time in the most mutually beneficial way. This requires pairing an accurate profile of your customer at the moment – using historical data, syndicated or third-party data, and contextual data – with a sophisticated recommendation engine to offer the most appropriate product or service at the moment.

The challenge is that customer data comes in many forms, is spread across many internal and external systems and data stores, and requires different levels of security. And since the customer is changing constantly – going different places, consuming different things, changing their social networks – the types of data that best characterize that customer are also changing too.

You might have to expand the data sources to account for geolocation, device usage, and sentiment changes reflected in social channels. And change your recommendation models in near real time as well. These dynamics can quickly overwhelm traditional systems like data warehouses and unsophisticated BI tools.

Some forward-thinking companies are using the this new approach:

  • Centralize data into Hadoop from silos – historical customer data warehouses, transaction systems, financial systems, sales systems, service logs, clickstream sources, internal and external social networks, etc. – to get everything into one place.
  • Explore the data with advanced visualization software to identify the most relevant and best predictive data for that customer, and understand what matters.
  • Build predictive models that best fit your customer right now and quickly deploy those models into production to connect with customers like never before and compete in your market like never before.

This is just one business case that we’ll explore more deeply on July 14th in New York City. Join us to learn more about how these new technologies can help you create more value for your customers and business than ever before. And bring your other Big Wave challenges for us to explore together. With the right mindset, gear, and preparation, we can ride the face of any challenge!

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About Author

Russ Cobb

Vice President, Global Alliances and Channels

Russ Cobb leads the SAS global team accountable for new business development with a diverse ecosystem of alliance and channel partners. In this role, he drives new go to market models with partners to solve high-value customer business needs. To make this happen, Russ leverages skills from his many experiences in strategy creation, marketing, finance, organizational design, business development, and amateur psychology. He built his foundation through industrial engineering at NC State and an MBA from Northwestern and finds himself using this core knowledge just about every day.

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