Early in my career I remember a manager coming over to my cube. The manager was frustrated and beside themselves. I inquired as to the issue and they showed me an excel file with about 20,000 rows and an equal number of columns. Then they said they needed to understand X in this data and how it relates to Y, but there is no way to parse or understand it. I think I am going to fail at this task.
Have any of us felt like that before? I imagine with the ever increasing amount of data in the world today, we have all been overwhelmed at some point in our careers. Perhaps you felt like me and just wondered where Commander Data from Star Trek is when you need him. He seemed to have the ability to traverse massive amounts of data and then pinpoint the exact value needed in every situation. Sometimes we all just need that capability.
The simple answer for the manager was a few nested “if” statements and a visual basic query. These seemingly complex actions were quite simple for the right person or technology to handle and deliver. As the world increases in data size and complexity the answers are still simple, but can easily overwhelm any person that traverses work on a daily basis.
The bigger challenge now is that there is a,b,c,d,e and many more variables and data sources to consider to get to that simple answer. This is where Big Data comes into play. A lot of people may confuse Big Data as a noun. I believe it is a verb. Big Data is less about the actual data and more about how one uses the data to deliver value.
If you tie Big Data into the customer experience, you can really see this come to life. If I start the customer experience with the sale, I have a sales database. Then that customer contacts me for support, now they are in a support database. This same customer also purchased training and other added on services. So yet another entry in the sales database. Then yet another database to track usage of the product. And yet another for logging product defects to the engineering team after the support experience. You can start to see a lot of entries adding up for this customer. By the way we have 20,000 customers. A lot of entries in siloed data bases. Which in most companies are managed by different teams.
This is where Big Data becomes a verb. Imagine the ability to consolidate all this information into one view that demonstrates your customer individually and also from a persona view. Regardless of the team you are on, you get a consistent view. All teams are able to help the customer in a collaborative and meaningful way. The customer receives the attention and value they feel they deserve. And it actually takes less resources for the company to do. This is possible and Big Data can make it happen.
What this means is that the manager that approached me so many years ago would feel enabled and empowered, not frustrated. Not only can they succeed at their job, they can be more productive and collaborative than was ever possible before. Which will mean higher value for their customers and better revenue for their company.
Think about it, we may not all have Commander Data around; but if we can turn Big Data into a verb in our companies. Then perhaps we can pinpoint the exact value we need in each and every customer engagement.
Then the amazing possibilities of true customer success can be realized!