How Big Data and Predictive Analytics Stopped Fraud and Sold Yogurt

Loraine Lawson

Does investing in advanced analytics pay off?

If you’re the federal government, it does, and big time. A recent Fed Tech Magazine article explains how master data management and advanced analytics stopped $47 billion in overpayments to dead people, debarred contractors, prisoners and others who once cashed federal checks for unearned funds.

The article doesn’t go into deep technology detail, but it does broadly examine how two initiatives — the Recovery Operations Center, working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Public Debt — are fighting fraud and incorrect payments.

It begins with a discussion on master data management, but as you read through the piece, you’ll see that Big Data also plays a big role in supporting advanced analytics. In particular, Big Data’s ability to analyze unstructured data — emails, texts, GIS data — was critical to reducing fraud in Medicare payments.

Big Data and predictive analytics can also be used to support revenue growth. This Computerworld article shows how Dannon coupled Big Data with predictive analytics to improve market forecasts.

Dannon doesn’t give specifics on how much money it has made with predictive analytics, except to say it has increased accuracy in forecasting and inventory planning from 70 percent to 98 percent.

In retail, where filled shelf spaces can make or break a brand, that’s a big deal, as Computerworld points out:

“…, by better anticipating product availability and customer behavior, manufacturers like Dannon are improving sales and squeezing out profits. In fact, while Chobani dominates the Greek yogurt landscape with 53% of the market, Dannon Oikos jumped from a 2.8% share of the market to nearly 13% in 2012, according to a March 2013 report from market research firm Packaged Facts.”

Unlike the Fed Tech article, the Computerworld piece reads more like a case study, with details about the predictive analytics solution (IBM) and how Dannon leveraged analytics to improve product sales.

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