How A 360-Degree View Of Your Customer Data Can Energize Your Business and Help Avoid Disaster

Posted by at 10:42h

Picture123 In today’s business climate, a complete 360-degree view of a firm’s data is a necessity to compete at the highest level. Total awareness and control of information enables business leaders to maximize revenue opportunities (think better customer profiling, cross-selling), lower costs (think customer service or inventory management) and minimize risks (think fraud reduction or liquidity management). This means having a complete understanding of your enterprise data and how it is related to each other across all of your business units, all the way down to the application and individual database level. This includes understanding both the known metadata in your databases, but more importantly, the ‘hidden’ data that resides in a company’s legacy, siloed or undocumented systems that can make up to 80% of an enterprise’s data.


360-Degree View Can Energize Your Business

A number of companies have embraced a data centric culture to become leaders in their industries and make life very difficult for their less ‘data savvy’ competitors. Some notable examples include Starbucks, Capital One, Netflix and Amazon.

  • Starbucks utilizes consumer data to gain insight into its customers’ drink preferences – everything ranging from how people order coffee to whether or not their pour milk. Starbucks knows that 43% of their tea-drinkers pass on sugar; equally, they’re aware that 25% of their coffee drinking customers don’t add milk to iced coffee made at home.
  • Capital One examines non-financial and sometimes non-intuitive data on prospective customers to build demographic profiles to allow it better understand customer risk profiles to personalize their credit card offers to customers and reduce fraud.
  • Netflix applies big data machine learning to customer data to develop software to recommend movies to its customers and even offered a one million dollar prize to anyone who could write an algorithm that could outperform Netflix’s existing code.
  • GE has aggressively embraced the digital revolution by investing billions of dollars into its new GE Digital business, and is even moving its corporate headquarters from Fairfield, Connecticut to Boston to be closer to technology talent.
  • And setting the bar for others is Amazon’s use of data and data analytics to power its intense focus on customer experience, or ‘Customer Obsession’ in Amazon speak, and to enter and dominate new markets.


360-Degree View Can Help Avoid Disaster

While a 360-degree view of their data has allowed these businesses to surge ahead of their competitors, other firms have been slow to adopt the analytical tools necessary to efficiently handle their data.

Take Neiman Marcus, for example. A recent newspaper article from early January begins, lamentably, “Neiman Marcus is Flying Blind.” The luxury retailer has experienced a slew of failures since an attempt to upgrade their 40 year old computer merchandising last summer. The system failure has left Neiman in a vulnerable position as the brand is no longer able to verify its inventory or supplier reports reliably. Consequently, vendors have lost confidence, with one vendor reportedly stating, “The information they send us is inaccurate and the onus is on us to prove how much of our product they sold. We lost sales in December because Neiman didn’t know it had sold out of our product.” Steven Dennis, a retail consultant and former Neiman Marcus executive diagnosed the problem in these terms: “They have lost total visibility of their business.”

Evidently, this lack of 360-degree visibility has come at a high cost. The company has delivered several quarters of declining sales, and the botched upgrade has reportedly cost Neiman up to $35 million lost sales with more expected. In addition, Wall Street has indicated a lower level of confidence in Neiman Marcus as its bonds have been downgraded by Standard & Poor’s to a ‘junk’ rating of CCC+, indicating that the company is in high risk territory to meet its financial obligations.


360-Degree View Requires Automated Solution for Complete Data Discovery

In order to avoid the pitfalls of software failures and data loss, companies should turn to data management solutions that will enable them to discover, understand, and leverage their data in impactful and reliable ways. Companies must understand their complete data assets, consisting of both their known, documented metadata as well as their ‘hidden’ data which often resides in legacy, siloed or undocumented systems. Unfortunately, this hidden data can sometimes make up to 80% of a company’s data assets, causing companies to execute data analytics, software modernization projects

In the past, the exercise of discovering and understanding a company’s undocumented data was a highly manual, tedious and costly process. Often a company would hire a consulting firm to staff large teams to manually reverse engineer the code and consult with internal SME’s. However, a company called ROKITT has addressed this problem by developing a product called ROKITT ASTRA that utilizes machine learning to automatically uncover hidden data and their relationships across an enterprise.

ROKITT ASTRA is able to work across mixed data environments in structured, relational databases (e.g., Oracle, DB2, SAP, Hadoop, Greenplum, etc), and has been designed to work ‘out of the box’ for quick implementation so companies can quickly evaluate its value through a short proof-of-concept (POC) exercise. The product has a highly visual user interface (UI), allowing it to be used by a wide range of people ranging from highly technical data scientists to data engineers to non-technical business professionals. ROKITT ASTRA’s intuitive data discovery and data management product can enable a 360-degree view of your customer data to energize your business and help avoid potential disaster.