Making Sense of Big Data

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Data Analytics
Customer Experience
There's been a lot of buzz about Big Data, as well as misconceptions about what the term actually means. Since this is an area that carries a great deal of significance for customer management professionals, I thought I'd share a few thoughts on the topic.

There's been a lot of buzz about Big Data, as well as misconceptions about what the term actually means. Since this is an area that carries a great deal of significance for customer management professionals, I thought I'd share a few thoughts on the topic.First, there seem to be widespread misinterpretation as to what Big Data actually is. Some decision-makers have mistakenly associated Big Data solely with the mass of information that's generated in social media channels. Actually, Big Data refers to the streams of both structured and unstructured information that's being generated from myriad sources--from social channels to customer transactions to Voice of the Customer feedback and even recorded contact center interactions.

As Ginger Conlon noted in a recent blog, marketing and consumer activity is generating vast amounts of data. These mountains of data reflect consumer sentiment, preferences, needs, and attitudes that can provide marketers and other business leaders with valuable insights about customers. It also creates a sizable challenge for narrowing down the data that is available and determining which data sets to use.

Even though it's become more critical for companies to be able to respond to market shifts and customer trends in real-time, decision-makers still need a way to cut through the petabytes of data that are available to them. A good starting point is by focusing on the data that aligns with the most pressing organizational strategies. Although Big Data tools such as Hadoop can help simplify the playing field, business leaders should start by focusing on applying Big Data to a single objective (e.g. loyalty) and grow from there.

How is your organization approaching the use of Big Data?

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