Is your organization limiting its knowledge? This question usually leads to discussions about an organization's view of big data. It's typically centered only on internal transaction data available in their customer relationship management (CRM), electronic resource planning (ERP) or other cloud-based enterprise applications. However, this contradicts what most IT business leaders want. In a survey sponsored by Kapow Software, a Kofax Company, and conducted by IDG Research Services, 61 percent of IT business leaders surveyed said that big data solutions should integrate data from multiple sources. Yet, only 23 percent of respondents think their big data initiatives have been successful in doing so.
Organizations don't intentionally intend to limit their data sources; they often don't know what other data is readily available or how to access and integrate it with their own. But by limiting data sources, organizations are taking a risk at missing the bigger picture, and gaining "big knowledge."
To gain a 360 degree view of their ecosystem, organizations should also monitor user-generated data, public data, competitor data and partner data to discover critical information about their business, customers and competitive landscape.
Customers are sharing information about their experience with brands, what they like and don't like about products, how it compares to the competition and many other insights that can be used for identifying new sales opportunities, planning campaigns, designing targeted promotions or guiding product development. This information is available in social media, blogs, customer reviews or discussions on user forums. Combining all this data with call center records and information from other back-office systems can help identify trends, have better predictions and improve the way organizations engage with customers.
Public information made available by federal, state and local agencies can be used to support business operations in human resources, compliance, financial planning, etc. Information from courthouse websites and other state portals can be used for background checks and professional license verifications. Other use cases include monitoring compliance regulation requirements, bill and legislation tracking, or in healthcare obtaining data on Medicare laws and which drugs are allowed per state.
Information about competitors is now widely available by monitoring their websites, online prices, press releases, events they participate in, open positions or new hires. This data allows better evaluation of the competition, monitor their strategic moves, identify unique market opportunities and take action accordingly. As a retailer for example, correlate this data with order transaction history and inventory levels to design and implement a more dynamic pricing strategy to win over your competition and grow the business.
Across your ecosystem, there are daily interactions with partners, suppliers, vendors and distributors. As part of these interactions organizations exchange data about products, prices, payments, commissions, shipments and other data sets that are critical for to business. Beyond the data exchange, intelligence can be gleaned by identifying inefficiencies, delays, gaps and other insights that can help improve and streamline partner interactions.
An altruistic example of how integrating data from multiple external sources can be found within Georgetown University's Global Insight Initiative which pulls data from around the world to gain insight and trends on society.
"The Global Insight Initiative is really structured to address the fundamental problems of how do we keep the planet running, how do we keep people healthy as best we can, and how do we keep everyone safe and secure," stated Dr. J.C. Smart, director of the Global Insight Initiative at Georgetown University.