Friday May 02, 2014

3 Key Practices For Using Big Data Effectively for Enhanced Customer Experience

As organizations focus on differentiating their offering via superior customer experience, they are looking into ways to leverage big data in this effort. Couple of weeks ago my colleague Pete Schutt and I hosted a webcast on this very topic: Turning Big Data into Real-Time Action for a Greater Customer Experience

In this webcast we talked about 3 key practices to make the most out of big data for improving customer experience, which are:

  1. Know your customer leveraging big data: Leverage all relevant data (internal and external; structured, semi-structured, and unstructured) to understand and predict customers needs & preferences accurately.
  2. Capture, analyze, act on data fast to create value: Achieve accurate insight and take the right action fast so your action can be still relevant to the customer’s situation.
  3. Empower employees & systems with insight & smarter decisions: In this step you ensure that the capability to act right and fast is not limited to a few in the organization, but everyone and every system that interacts and influences customers’ experience.


After explaining why these practices are critical to improving customer experience, we discussed Oracle’s complete big data analytics and management platform, as well as the specific products and architectural approaches to execute on these 3 key areas. We focused particularly on data integration for fast and timely data acquisition and business analytics for real-time insight and action, and how they fit together in a real-time analytics architecture.

You can watch this webcast now on demand via the link below:

Turning Big Data into Real-Time Action for a Greater Customer Experience

In this webcast we received many great questions and I have provided below a few of them along with the answers.

Is real-time action related to the Internet of Things?

Yes, more physical things will be connected to the internet, often wirelessly with RFID tags or other sensors and Java to record where they are and what they are doing (or not doing). The IoT will be more practical by automating the information process from capture to analysis to appropriate and immediate action.

What does Oracle have for real-time mobile analytics?

Oracle BI Mobile App Designer empowers business users to easily create interactive analytical applications on any device without writing a single line of code and to also take action and respond to events in the context of their day-today business activities

Can these real-time systems be managed by business users?

Yes, you need the agility for business owners to be able to respond, experiment, and adapt, in real-time as the environment or consumer behavior changes. The systems have to be intuitive enough for users with the business content and context who can easily visualize, understand, and change the patterns they're looking and the rules that are being enforced.

Can the real-time systems use other statistical models or algorithms?

Yes. Oracle Advanced Analytics offer an enterprise version of R and Oracle RTD can source and publish scores from other advanced analytical models such as R, SAS, or SPSS or others.

Where do we get more information about ODI for big data?

 You can start with Oracle Data Integrator Application Adapter for Hadoop. And also take a look at the  Oracle BigDataLite Virtual Machine, a pre-built environment to get you started on an environment reflecting the core software of Oracle's Big Data Appliance 2.4. BigDataLite is a VirtualBox VM that contains a fully configured Cloudera Hadoop distribution CDH 4.5, an Oracle DB 12c, Oracle's Big Data Connectors, Oracle Data Integrator 12.1.2, and other software. You can use this environment to see ODI 12c in action integrating big data with Oracle DB using ODI's declarative graphical design, efficient EL-T loads, and Knowledge Modules designed to optimize big data integration. 

For GoldenGate, can a target be something other than a database, e.g. queue?

Yes, GoldenGate can deliver database changes into JMS message queues and topics, as well as in flat file format. Oracle GoldenGate Application Adapters would need to be used for those use cases. For low-impact real-time data integration into Hadoop systems customers will need to use the Java Adapter within this GoldenGate Application Adapters license as well.

What other data warehouses can does Oracle support for real-time data integration?

Oracle's data integration offering is heterogeneous for both sources and targets. Both Oracle Data Integrator and Oracle GoldenGate work with non-Oracle data warehouses including Teradata, DB2, Netezza, Greenplum.

I invite you to watch this webcast on demand to hear the details of our solution discussion and the Q&A with the audience. For more information big data integration and analytics you can review Bridging Two Worlds. Big Data and Enterprise Data and Big Data @ Work Turning Customer Interactions into Opportunities.

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Friday Apr 04, 2014

Turning Big Data into Real-Time Action for a Greater Customer Experience

The power shifted to us, consumers. The digital revolution allows us to access broader set of services, and communicate without boundaries. Today we demand more and better choices in a competitive market, putting pressures on businesses to catch up with our expectations.

By offering differentiated and improved experience to their customers organizations see that they can drive revenue growth via higher loyalty, and improved brand perception.  Because technology is a key enabler for delivering superb and consistent customer experience across all touchpoints, in recent years customer experience solutions have become a top priority for CIOs. Thanks to the availability of big data analytics, organizations can now analyze a broader variety of data, rather than a few basic data points, and gain deeper insight into their customers and operations. In turn, this deeper insight helps align their business to provide a seamless customer experience.

In our digital, fact-paced world we produce large volumes of data with unprecedented velocity. This data contains perishable value that requires fast capture, analysis, and action to be able to influence the operations or the interaction with the customer. Otherwise the insight or action may become irrelevant, which decreases the value for the customer and the organization significantly.  To extract the maximum value from highly dynamic and perishable data, you need to process much faster and take timely action. This is the main premise behind Oracle's Fast Data solutions, which we have discussed in previous blogs and webcasts.

Real-time data integration and analytics play a crucial role in our new world of big and fast data. Organizations that look into leveraging  big data to create greater customer experience, need to evaluate the analytical foundation behind their customer-facing systems and resulting interactions, and determine whether they can improve how and when they collect, analyze, and act on their ever-growing data assets.

In our next webcast my colleague Pete Schutt in the Oracle Business Analytics team and I will discuss how organizations can create value for their customers using real-time customer analytics, and how to leverage big data to build a solid business analytics foundation using the latest features of Oracle Data Integration and Oracle Business Analytics. We will provide multiple customer examples for different solution architectures.

Join us on April 15th 10am PT/ 1pm ET by registering via the link below.

Turning Big Data into Real-Time Action for a Greater Customer Experience

Tuesday, April 15th 10am PT/ 1pm ET

Until we meet at this webcast, please review my related article on this topic published on DBTA earlier this year:

Friday May 31, 2013

Improving Customer Experience for Segment of One Using Big Data

Customer experience has been one of the top focus areas for CIOs in recent years. A key requirement for improving customer experience is understanding the customer: their past and current interactions with the company, their preferences, demographic information etc. This capability helps the organization tailor their service or products for different customer segments to maximize their satisfaction. This is not a new concept. However, there have been two parallel changes in how we approach and execute on this strategy.

First one is the big data phenomenon that brought the ability to obtain a much deeper understanding of customers, especially bringing in social data. As this Forbes article "Six Tips for Turning Big Data into Great Customer Experiences" mentions big data especially has transformed online marketing. With the large volume and different types of data we have now available companies can run more sophisticated analysis, in a more granular way. Which leads to the second change: the size of customer segments. It is shrinking down to one, where each individual customer is offered a personalized experience based on their individual needs and preferences. This notion brings more relevance into the day-to-day interactions with customers, and basically takes customers satisfaction and loyalty to a new level that was not possible before. 

One of the key technology requirements to improve customer experience at such a granular level is to obtaining a complete and  up-to-date view of the customer. And that requires integrating data across disparate systems and in a timely manner. Data integration solution should move and transform large data volumes stored in heterogeneous systems in geographically dispersed locations. Moving data with very low latency to the customer data repository or a data warehouse, enables companies to have a relevant and actionable insight for each customer. Instead of relying on yesterday's data, which may not be pertinent anymore, the solution should analyze latest information and turn them into a deeper understanding of that customer. With that knowledge the company can formulate real opportunities to drive higher customer satisfaction.

Real-time data integration is key enabling technology for real-time analytics. Oracle GoldenGate's real-time data integration technology  has been used by many leading organizations to get the most out of their big data and build a closer relationship with customers.  One good example in the telecommunications industry is MegaFon. MegaFon is Russia's top provider of mobile internet solutions. The company deployed Oracle GoldenGate 11g to capture billions of monthly transactions from eight regional billing systems. The data was integrated and centralized onto Oracle Database 11g  and distributed to business-critical subsystems. The unified and up-to-date view into customers enabled more sophisticated analysis of mobile usage information and facilitated more targeted customer marketing. As a result of  the company increased revenue generated from the current customer base. Many other telecommunications industry leaders, including DIRECTV, BT, TataSky, SK Telecom, Ufone, have improved customer experience by leveraging real-time data integration. 

Telecommunications is not the only industry where single view of the customer drives more personalized interaction with customers. Woori Bank  implemented Oracle Exadata and Oracle GoldenGate.  In the past, it had been difficult for them to revise and incorporate changes to marketing campaigns in real time because they were working with the previous day’s data. Now, users can immediately access and analyze transactions for specific trends in the data mart access layer and adjust campaigns and strategies accordingly. Woori Bank can also send tailored offers to customers. 

This is just one example of how real-time data integration can transform business operations and the way a company interacts with its customers. I would like to invite you to learn more about data integration facilitating improved customer experience by  reviewing our  free resources here and following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Linkedin.

Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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