The New Avatar of Data!

It is a Formula One Grand Prix. Crew members are crunching data from the sensors attached to the car. In a single season, a team will burn 200,000 liters of fuel in testing to identify 50 slightly different blends of fuel additives. Subject to predictive and simulated models, the crew should be able to give the right blend of power boosting additives to touch the finish line!

Similarly, your banker, insurer, telecom provider or retail store could be tracking your buying behavior to offer you an optimal product/service mix. With Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs and other social media being tracked, your social life is indeed becoming the gateway for statisticians to predict your behavior. Welcome to the virtual world of Predictive Analytics!

Predictive Mayans of 21st Century

The Mayans were great astronomers and predicted with precision the galactic alignment for December 21, 2012 more than 2000 years ago. Our 21st Century Mayans (modelers) are no different but for their turnaround time. These Mayans observe your demographic profile, socio-economic status and day-to-day buying behavior to advise firms on their targeted sales campaign. With thousands of such observations per individual for millions of customers, the data is growing from gigabytes to terabytes. To mine such humungous data, one needs brutal computing power that defies Moore’s Law and heuristic models powered by statistical algorithms. The pace leaves not a single datum untouched before calculating the wonder equation needed by rules engines to predict consumer behavior.

From Data to Knowledge

Data is raw information. Data becomes knowledge by inferring from the collated data and reasoning its causal relationship among other variables. Companies have traditionally used this knowledge for arriving at business strategies.

Source: Yes, You Are Data!

Banks, insurers and retail stores traditionally looked into data within. Today, such intrinsic soul searching to identify hidden patterns and consumer behavior is moving beyond internal data. Social platforms are becoming hunting grounds for information. A Leading Analyst Firm, in talking about the 10 strategic technologies for 2011, highlighted social analytics as a serious contender.

Social Data to Knowledge Dynamics

Content transformation of feeds from social media and networks poses a new threat to any marketing team as open-ended tweeted remarks are unstructured. TCS is already tuning its crawlers and extraction tools to derive knowledge from conversation modules. Listening Services from TCS offers a bouquet of service including Brand Monitoring, Crisis Communication, Product Positioning, Consumer Segmentation, and Product Innovation, mainly by doing social analytics.

What Next?

For any consumer packaged goods firm, getting an integrated global view of data between its internal and independent data providers would be a major milestone in its journey towards retail analytics. With social channels opening up, integrating media data with CRM, OLAP framework and real-time analytics will be the priority of our 21st century Mayans.

Analytics is giving the power of knowledge by transitioning data into actionable and decisive insights. Analytically matured companies are looking into enterprise-wide analytics, which is now evolving towards an integrated platform. A common feed from social networks can impact analytics across markets, customers and risk and finance portfolios.

A Combo Pack

Cloud computing and open source languages such as R would transform data into a more powerful knowledge tool. Analytical tools that were traditionally independent are getting integrated as packaged applications. Think of a combination where CRM, Cloud BI, Open R, API and NLP integrators and machine-learning algorithms are bundled together. This combo pack will create its own data – not just predicting the way consumers would behave, but influencing their very behavior. Your sixth sense could see a new avatar in the making!

Maheswaran Mahalingam: Maheswaran is responsible for the strategic decisions, business innovation and next generation enterprise practices in the Analytics for BFSI domain. He is responsible for the Analytics Center of Excellence that identifies avenues for practical application of foresight enhancing customer delight. His team provides Modeling, Scoring and Strategy support including customer, market, fraud, behavioral, collections and response models covering 60+ countries. Maheswaran has over 17+ of experience in analytical competency building and strategic consulting. He has held various positions with Deloitte, Frost &Sullivan and Tata Consultancy Services.

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