Is your eBusiness winning with eCRM and eIntelligence?
If you are not already familiar with the concept, “Big Data” refers to the explosion of digital data on the Internet, and the massive potential for companies to mine this data for innovation and profit.
Big Data has been the big “buzz” with thought-leaders over the past couple of years. Accenture, IBM and other consulting giants are investing heavily in their Big Data consulting practices. In 2011, McKinsey & Company released an excellent report entitled: “Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity”. And just last week, The Economist featured Sally Blount, the new Dean of the highly-rated Kellogg School of Management, who emphasized that “Value creation is now all about understanding your customer … and marketing, led by the phenomenon of “big data”, has become much more analytical and sophisticated.” Spot on, Sally!
Some companies have already realized the potential of Big Data. Back in 1997, eBusiness goliath Amazon.com built its business around a “Culture of Metrics”, and has profited ever since. Other Big Data pioneers like Harrah’s Entertainment have long reaped the benefits of eCRM and eIntelligence.
But most eBusinesses are a long way from turning the promise of Big Data into reality.
So what’s keeping your company from harnessing the potential?
Our experience indicates that it is likely a combination of the following three issues:
- Shortage of skilled People: There is a growing shortage of Analytics talent in the eBusiness industry, both at the staff and management level. In a recent survey by eConsultancy on Digital Organizations, companies find it most difficult to find skilled employees with analytics and data skills. The reason for the shortage is no doubt related to the fact that most people dislike statistics, analytics, and data modeling to begin with, so the natural “supply pool” of talent is small. But more importantly, most educational institutions like Universities and Colleges have not yet awakened to the opportunity, and so there are very few courses to teach this stuff.
- Complex Technology: The software technology to capture, aggregate, store, analyze, and update the data, and to create a seamless eCRM view of the market is not trivial. The required pieces are here and there, and putting an end-to-end solution together can be a considerable challenge and cost.
- Business Process Overhaul. To capture the benefits of Big Data, you must shift from treating your customers as one homogeneous mass market, to micro-segmenting customers, and focusing on their individual needs and preferences. Think “personalization” on a very big scale. You also need to establish a metrics-driven culture. Since this can be a fundamental shift in how you conduct your business, your Executive Team needs to be onboard from the start, championing the transition. And, given the growing concern by both governments and individuals about an increasingly “intrusive” business world, your organization needs to adopt a new, fanatical approach to data security, trust, and privacy.
In upcoming posts I’ll focus on each of these 3 challenges, with the goal of giving eBusiness Managers the tools and strategies to shift gears and capitalize on this truly massive business opportunity. Along the way, we’ll showcase some smaller, mid-sized companies that are making significant headway in capturing the Big Promise of Big Data.
Until next time – Axel