The Irish Big Data landscape is changing rapidly, large scale Irish companies in diverse industries such as telco, health, media and mobile are beginning to catch on to the revenue opportunities hidden in the data they collect.
There are two aspects to this. Firstly, existing data lying dormant, waiting to be used to improve customer engagement, customer service offerings, target products and improve customer satisfaction through robust, always-on systems, available on multiple devices. Secondly, putting in place data capture infrastructure that allows a clear view on customer behaviour over time via modern analytics platforms such as hadoop and cassandra. This information can be used in near real-time to adjust services to increase ROI. Traditional A-B testing does not have the velocity to provide answers quickly enough. While organisations desire a level of controlled change, this is sometimes at odds with the concept of revenue maximisation. The answer is that services and the underlying systems that provide them need to be designed to facilitate change up front.
Taking a company such as Netflix as a model. They run a multi-platform video content delivery service direct to consumers. Their technology ethos is to make it as easy as possible to add features without impacting their existing service. Also that things break, its inevitable, but the right architecture can ensure that a part of the system can go down without impacting the service as a whole. New features can go from inception to roll-out in a matter of weeks. They embrace the notion of being a consumer based company, and that customer satisfaction will drive revenue. Their technology is purpose built to facilitate rapid development and rollout of new features that are designed to improve customer engagement and increase ROI and they are very, very good at it.
Traditional thinking in terms of feature rollout is not sufficient anymore. Year on year planning, or even six month project timeframes are just too slow to compete with service providers that are set up to be leaner and have greater agility. It doesn’t mean disregarding all the great knowledge that is already in your business. It just means having the objectivity to evolve.
American companies have been at this for a while. Embracing the chaotic and fickle nature of the consumer and reacting accordingly. In effect, learning to trust the numbers from analytics data can take the subjectivity out of decision making. User acceptance testing and market research, while valuable will not give you the whole picture. If a member of the team hads a good idea that will mean a big return for the business, make sure you have the flexibility to try it because sooner rather than later the competition will already have it out the door.
It is a fallacy that larger, older organisations can’t react quickly to change, it is merely a case of having a customer centric view and understanding that there is a relationship between your ability to react and the possibilities of increasing revenues. Putting this in place isn’t easy, primarily alignment across the service delivery organisations within the enterprise is paramount. But if you put the figures in front of the right people, it is very hard to argue.
Ultimately, moving slower than the competition is a death knell to business and not being able to recognise opportunity is the nail in the coffin.