Diving Deep into Big Data

Arthur Cole

Big Data is usually treated like a monolith: one giant ream of “data” that must be parsed, processed and analyzed in order to mine the nuggets of gold that lie within. However, the fact is that Big Data comes in many forms, ranging from scientific and engineering data to unstructured email. That’s part of the reason why new analytics platforms are starting to focus on niche markets. As Versium CEO Chris Matty points out when describing the highlights of the LifeData consumer info platform to IT Business Edge’s Arthur Cole, predicting real-life human behavior can provide a wealth of benefits.

Cole: Enterprises are rapidly shoring up their capabilities to make sense of Big Data, but the market for solutions is still very new. What are some of the major holes in Big Data analytics these days?

Matty: Some of the barriers to success we're seeing include cost. It is way too expensive considering data scientists, not to mention hardware, cost significant dollars. As well, marketing folk don't necessarily want to start programming or understanding programming languages.

Also, there is the fact that getting a complete customer picture is difficult.  Enterprises only know how customers interact with the enterprise, but they are missing tons of external signals.

Cole: The LifeData analytics platform seems targeted specifically at consumer information rather than, say, unstructured email or scientific data. Is there an advantage to this kind of niche approach?

Matty: The focus is definitely leaning toward completing the picture around individuals. Versium has processes that add structure to specific types of common unstructured data, but this is not our current focus.

It's all about understanding consumer behavior and being able to predict that behavior to optimize marketing efficiencies. We work with unstructured data to provide an added layer of intelligence based on what a person does in the real world.

Cole: Software handles the analytics, but it takes a real human brain to put the information to good use. What are some of the top operational or strategic benefits to be had from Big Data?

Matty: There are numerous strategic benefits from Big Data and in particular life data. Life data can be used in many ways to increase marketing efficiencies, lower costs and increase revenues.

Understanding consumers and modeling who they are in real life can predict behavior. It is possible to identify customers who are likely to cancel membership or subscription, as well as predict who will pay their bills on time and identify optimal products or offers to present to consumers based on their likes, interests and needs. You can also predict consumptions and donation levels. All of these impact where marketing efforts can be better aimed or targeted. Micro segmentation enables true one-to-one marketing.

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