Category Archives: Contextual Data Discovery

Accepting and Understanding Consumer Complaints Can Save Business

Consumers can make or break any business. One good experience may bring customers back, but one bad experience can start a chain reaction that can result in a collapse of business all around. That is why customer relationship management is one of the most crucial aspects of daily operations.

A Dangerous Game 
Take fast food giant McDonald's, for example. Some may argue the company is too big to fail, but that doesn't make it too big to be affected by negative reviews. Anything from the standard customer complaint of cold food to large lawsuits involving potentially larger settlements is bad for business. Word of mouth is one of the most effective forms of advertising, but if the consumer turns on the producer, that word of mouth can be the very factor that drives sales into the ground. Ideally, employers could simply instill in their employees the necessity to stay on top of problems with CRM by remaining aware of what the consumer expects and how best to handle a situation where those expectations are not met.

Staying vigilant about consumer issues does not guarantee business will continue without incident. One obstacle facing McDonald's now, as well as a partner in glass making, involves a woman who cut herself washing a promotional glass. A predicament such as this can not only result in a loss of consumers but also a severed working relationship between two entities to deliver a product.

What Can Be Done?
The best method for understanding what consumers see as problems with any business is also the most obvious – being open and available to receive feedback. Customer complaint reports can be vital in identifying issues with everyday procedures, disruptive employees or potential disasters. Compiled in a business intelligence software such as Necto 14, emerging trends can act as red flags indicating problems that need attention. For large corporations like McDonald's, consumer voices can be heard through all of the noise by readily available complaint forms or phone lines. Even if a customer approaches someone in management directly to voice his or her concerns, an account of the incident must be made. The more detailed the process of investigating consumer reports, the more information that can be taken away from one individual and the better your data discovery will be. 

While McDonald's may not be able to satisfy one incident in which the customer feels wronged, the corporation can prevent this complication from escalating further. Staying vigilant through well-structured CRM, problem identification and action backed by data analysis software is most beneficial. While there is no truly perfect plan for avoiding CRM complaints, it can prevent repetitive issues in one area or the upsurge of a particular dilemma.

Data discovery tools can help government agencies tap into big data analytics

After noticing the way big data analytics has benefited the private sector – both in terms of the impact and the vast array of uses – government agencies are planning to invest heavily in the technology. 

While public sector IT officials are hoping to gain some of big data's cost-saving capabilities, they have many other intentions for these tools, including:

  • Using it for fraud prevention to mitigate the risk of cyberattacks. 
  • Leveraging big data so that law enforcement can prevent crime and solve cases faster.
  • Improving medical research, which could lead to better diagnoses, preventative care and saved lives. 

But actually achieving those goals will require a few initial steps, from making databases communicate to analyzing the reports big data tools produce to managing increasing amounts of information effectively.

"The government is dealing with more and more data every day, and pretty much anything electronic is producible," Tom Kennedy, director of Public Sector Archiving and E-Discovery for Symantec, recently told Government Technology. In particular, he pointed to social media, audio files and any other electronically produced piece of information. 

Three challenges stand in the way
Big data's growth in popularity has been brough about by more than just its benefits; these tools have become significantly easier to use, along with being more affordable for companies of all sizes. 

However, a recent Meritalk study revealed that many federal agencies are a few years away from tapping into big data's potential, particularly since they're struggling to deal "with a data tsunami that will overwhelm organizations not able to take advantage of it." That's because many of these organizations are lacking digital storage space, necessary access to data and computational power, among other factors.

This is where data discovery tools can help tremendously, according to Kennedy.

"[Data discovery] is all about being able to intelligently search and retrieve relevant information across huge amounts of data," he told Government Technology, adding, "The basic principle of e-discovery is you're trying to empower the user to sift through huge amounts of information and only find the relevant information. The power of analytics is really important in that process."

With the help of data discovery, storage, access computing and other complicated processes would be automated. That way, government agency professionals can refocus their attention on using big data to achieve their intended goals.

For instance, Kennedy mentioned the way organizations cane use big data to conduct predictive analytics. These tools can scan through thousands, millions or hundreds of millions of files "and come back to you with recommendations on what it believes is relevant and not relevant," he told Government Technology. 

Incorporating data visualization into business strategy

Advanced analytics may have gotten its start in science – by NASA or lab researchers, for instance – but another, unexpected industry helped bring it to the consumer level.

By now, most people are familiar with "moneyball," the term used to describe the data analysis strategy employed by the Oakland Athletics, a Major League Baseball team. Joe Ward, a New York Times graphic editor and a former associate scout for the Cleveland Indians, recently spoke at an MIT conference about how this innovative technique has now spread throughout the entire sport.

"I've done a lot of biomechanics stuff, so I was able to break the swing down to some of its biomechanics and try to impart that a little bit," Ward told Baseball Prospectus. "You don't want to tell him too much and make him think too much.Then just some simple data for these guys just sort of brings things home. 'Look, you're hitting .275. If you get one more hit a week, you'll be hitting .310.'"

Ward discussed some of the reasons data visualization has become so popular, most notably its simplicity. Because of its ability to help people understand complex matters, the technology has not only spread to other sports, but it's starting to gain traction within many industries as well.

Bringing data visualization to the enterprise
Business intelligence has been around for many years, but only recently has the technology caught the interest of decision-makers outside the world of IT. That's because new and improved solutions have made it easier for non-experts to comprehend reports.

In a recent blog post for SmartData Collective, Index Analytics CEO Raghu Akkapeddi highlighted the benefits of data visualization services with a focus on the enterprise. These strategies, he said, can "address all the data needs of the organization." This can include any number reporting – transactional and operational, for instance, or executive dashboards and KPI scorecards.

But the key to enterprise-focused data visualization, according to Akkapeddi, centers around the ability to deliver relevant information to members of every department in a timely manner.

For example, if salespeople want to find out where sales are strong for a particular product, they can leverage Twitter visualization tools, which produce real-time maps, graphs and other graphics. Meanwhile, marketers would be able to use those same tools to gather different information depending on their needs.

The first step to successful data visualization requires integrating that information into a central warehouse. While this might take some time, the potential benefits make it worth the effort.

Big data paving the way for real-time predictive analysis investment

Big data analytics was an unstoppable force in 2012, and that momentum is expected to carry on for the foreseeable future. 

In addition, a recent Lavastorm Analytics study indicated that the early successes of big data could be motivating organizations to invest in other data analysis tools. 

"Overall the survey points to the fact that data management is a tough problem and requires the right tools, processes, and skilled people to access, integrate and analyze data," said Drew Rockwell, CEO of Lavastorm Analytics. "While we see many people still using basic tools like Excel, there is a clear need for more powerful, yet easy to use, tools."

In a recent blog post for SmartData Collective, Mark van Rijmenam, founder of BigData-Startups, discussed the ways advanced analytics can benefit companies and employees across every department. For example, he listed different types of analysis organizations can do, such as:

– Marketing analysis, which will help businesses determine what advertising strategies are most likely to work. With social media and mobile going mainstream, this can help companies figure out the best ways to market to their audiences.

– Sentiment analysis, particularly through social BI tools, provides leaders with real-time insight into how their customer bases feels about certain products and services.

– Pattern analysis enables companies to identify consumer trends. 

Real-time insight needs improvement
What makes pattern analysis so effective is its ability to take structured data, unstructured information or a combination of the two and transform them into useful reports. 

According to the Lavastorm Analytics survey of 600 professionals, spread across a variety of industries, predictive analysis will be a massive area of investment in 2013, with more than half of respondents citing interest in the technology. The only way these tools are effective, though, is if they're easy enough to understand and the information is available in real time.

The study revealed that companies are struggling to integrate data effectively, along with providing real-time access. More than anything, this may be preventing them from "gleaning insights from the data," the top-cited big data barrier right now. 

In a recent column for CIO, Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, said that data access is the No. 1 priority when it comes to advanced analytics. After all, it doesn't matter how good the technology is if employees can't get insights from the reports in a timely manner. 

Fortunately, recent innovations such as Panorama Necto aim to make relevant information available to employees in real time, and those solutions are only expected to improve going forward. 

Healthcare IT professionals believe data analysis can save money, lives

The healthcare IT sector is in the midst of an extremely complex revolution. Departments in the industry have to adopt EHR systems and mobile solutions, while working within the constraints of a limited budget. 

Fortunately, big data analytics have the potential to make these changes easier and more effective, along with many other benefits.

"Access to timely, complete, accurate, contextual, and digestible data is the lynchpin for accountable care success," said Cynthia Burghard, research director of accountable care IT Strategies at IDC Health Insights.

Burghard added  that within the healthcare industry, decision-makers consider data analysis to be No. 1 on their future investment agenda. With growing volumes of internal information to manage and vast amounts of external data, health professionals are expected to lean more on big data

The potential advantages of the technology are very similar to the ways it's helped organizations in other industries – predictive analysis, real-time decision-making and measuring cost-efficiency, just to name a few. 

A recent survey from IDC revealed that IT professionals are interested in data analysis for:

– Measuring performance management, cited by 64 percent of respondents. This will enable workers to identify which processes are working and which ones need improvement.

– Conducting real-time analysis. For instance, deciding between different courses of treatment can be challenging, so data analysis can help narrow down which one makes the most sense.

– Clinical outcomes, which 64 percent of respondents expressed interest in. Forecasting in general can be extremely beneficial for healthcare professionals, whether that pertains to research, clinical outcomes or which patients are likely to return for additional treatment. 

While big data can do all of those things for healthcare agencies, there is another benefit that could make it invaluable to these organizations: saving lives.

"By combining disparate sources of data and analyzing them in real time, government leaders and citizens can turn 'big data' into 'smart data' and gain a much clearer picture of how to save taxpayer dollars and even save lives," said Jennifer Morgan, president of SAP Public Services.

A separate survey from SAP AG and TechAmerica Foundation revealed that big data is rapidly gaining popularity among government IT workers. According to the report, federal tech professionals believe the technology can trim 10 percent off their expenditures, a significant benefit considering most public IT departments are experiencing declining budgets.

In addition, 87 percent of federal and 75 percent of state-level respondents said big data solutions could save a notable number of lives every year. 

Big data analytics voted top CIO priority in 2013, survey finds

Cloud computing and enterprise mobility were arguably the top two corporate buzzwords of 2012. For the most part, organizations have benefited from implementing cloud and mobile strategies, but at times, they’ve struggled to manage the rapidly increasing amounts of data. This rising need for big data analytics has, in large part, led to the reemergence of business intelligence (BI).

“As CIOs continue to amplify the enterprise with digital technologies while improving IT organizational structure, management and governance, 2013 promises to be a year of dual priorities,” said Dave Aron, vice president and fellow at​ Gartner.

A recent Gartner survey found BI and analytics to be the No. 1 priority for CIOs in 2013, surpassing cloud computing and mobile technologies in importance. Meanwhile, an earlier Gartner report revealed that worldwide IT spending on big data analytics would total $28 billion in 2012, before jumping to $34 billion in 2013.

Using big data effectively
In a recent blog for Forbes, David Selinger, founder, CEO and data scientist at Rich Relevance, suggested that 2013 will likely mark big data’s coming out party. At the same time, many companies are struggling to use big data effectively, likely because they aren’t implementing the proper strategies. Selinger ​listed his advice on how to use the technology, including:

Use the cloud: Cloud computing is an essential tool for big data, particularly because of its exceptional storage capabilities. In addition, the cloud allows organizations to scale their data storage up or down as needed.

Hire experts: Big data is only as effective as the person who conducts the data analysis, so companies may want to hire a data specialist from the outside.

Limit focus: At times, organizations get distracted by big data’s ability to handle limitless amounts of information. Instead, they should narrow their focus to a select few business functions, such as customer trends or which advertising strategies are most effective.

Future of security?
While most people are gravitating toward big data analytics for business-related purposes, the technology might soon serve another vital role: security.

While primarily positive, the rise of technologies like cloud computing, social media and mobile devices has seemed to revitalize cybercriminals. At the moment, hackers appear to be ahead of their enterprise counterpoints, but big data could change all of that.

“This is what makes security interesting going forward,” said RSA Chief Technologist Sam Curry, according to Network World.

A recent RSA study projected that big data analytics could be an essential security tool within two years by providing capabilities like fraud detection, network monitoring and identity management.