The management needs in focus to identify it as major area in the modern business and as opportunity to bring value addition to business. If you recall, We were all taught in the universities that CRM is a tactic for organization and one of core IT solutions. However working in the industry and interaction with international and regional Chief Information Officers (CIO) helped me further understand new perspective of them with some common grounds around CRM. These dynamic and much younger CIOs or C-Level executives think completely different about the CRM now.
What is CRM?
It is not a tactic, but a core business strategy caters Sales, Marketing and Customer Service.
It is not an IT Solution but a Business Culture to create value to targeted customers at a profit.
IT and Business are both stakeholders. This IT based system is to serve the business (customer) in the best possible manner.
Evolution of CRM
Big Data could be new for most of us but if we look at it closely, it has been there ever since. My theory was validated by Sakonent CEO, Darius Vaskelis who himself is a strategist and contributed in the research "Strategy and the Internet" conducted by Prof. Michael E. Porter. (This research was published in Harvard Business Review in 2001-2003). He shared with me his research that describes the evolution of CRM in different eras as below.
This research was a great help for me and it actually validated my point of view that we always had the challenge in the size of data or Big Data. It has grown from Megabytes to Petabyte, from traditional database to more distributed environment. According to one estimate, mankind created 150 exabytes (billion gigabytes) of Data in 2005. in 2013 it is expected to create 1200 exabytes. (Source: economist)
What it Big Data? - "Big Data are high volume, high velocity and/or high variety information assets that require new forms of processing to enable enhanced decision making, insight discovery and process optimization" (Gartner 2012).
Is it just not about about size? - Jim Davies of Gartner explained it, "Today's Big Data is next year's average-sized data". We should not be having any doubt about this as Data is increasing day by day, hour by hour and minute by minute. There is no way we can use the same methods to analyze the data we were using in the past.
To make things simple at the high level we understand Big Data as "Manipulate the massive data in such a way that technology itself become a problem". This is where we need to understand the V-model comprising Volume (large amount of Data - in Petabyte ir exabytes), Velocity (need to be analyzed quickly - daily, hourly or even real time) and Variety (different types of structured and unstructured data).
Customer Analytics are now possible!
Big Data is always new business value, but how CIO must see it in a simple way. When growing quantity of data (volume) from internal systems to untapped data, industry and public data, when speedy analysis of data (Velocity) is required on hourly or real time basis and when increase in types of data (Variety) from structured enterprise data to customer discussion, audio and video etc.
The real opportunity is with Customer data analysis and data around the customer. The customer service, marketing & sales people always ask about the data and we are unable to provide them the way they want to see the data. C-Level executives would like to see data for efficient decision making strategies. The data is worthless if it cannot be processed for enhanced decision making and frankly it is awful waste of storage space.
Opportunity in Big Data
Regional Telecommunication, banks are now focusing on 360 degree view of customer. As volume, velocity and variety of data traffic travelling on operator network rises at an exponential rate, telcos are facing bigger challenges than ever with regards to capturing, storing, processing, analyzing and extracting value from their unstructured data like Phone call, Text messages, Social media post, web browsing, media downloads, eBooks and newsreader content, App usage and interactions and structured data like Call records, billing records, electronic data, location data records. But they also understand that this challenge could possibly benefit them in vertical markets, where profiling of the customer for specific marketing campaign not for them but also to other market segment who lack this information and may bring their marketing campaigns to them or partner with them.
In depth analysis of the data is always a pain point for any business and if there is a data bank who could bifurcate the data as business wants, tapping the right market segment based on demographic or customer profile will bring the best Return on Investment (ROI). Think about setting up a franchise, you want to know which area will be best for the business and based on your customer what is going to be the expectancy of having more walkin customers. Obviously, from the business point of view you do not want to set up franchise where you have no market domination or may be radically you think it is an opportunity. The data may also help you to find the spending patterns of your customer so there is always more business from them. There are various scenarios that we can think of and can bring more businesses.
Difficulty in Big Data
Not sure if we say it difficulty or a challenge as almost 80% of the information is unstructured and continuously growing 15 times faster than structured data. Existing data is unusable by inflexible analytics tools because the source data is raw, unstructured or in de-formalized format. Data is needed for early exploration analysis and before parameters which define decision making boundaries are known, essentially to discover and then refine data sets later. The transformation of business data into business intelligence is a costly and technical process. Data visualization tools are slow, costly and limited to few decision makers in the company.
Solution in Big Data
Big Data creates new value when enterprise leverages data that exists well beyond their internal data warehouses. The value comes not just from accessing new datasets, but also from connecting the datasets together. Leveraging Big Data leads to three major types of opportunities and expand the range of information used in decision making.
Making better informed decision discovering hidden insights and automating business processes What next? Hadoop and CRM Big Data problems are being solved by distributing the information across on lots of systems like google and Facebook are doing. Hadoop based on work from google distributed data. Packaged CRM are yet not using MapReduce, but now widely used in custom developments that allows business to perform;
Customer data analysis that previously was not practical Campaign targeting and marketing effectiveness Sales and Service root cause and fraud analysis However, some distributed approach is likely to be part of every CRM vendor in the coming months. Big Data has grabbed attention of vendors like Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, IBM and it is now part of every sales pitch. They see market domination and realize the importance of talking about it.