April 12, 2001, 10:20 AM — MAXIMIZING REVENUE from each customer engagement is probably the No. 1 e-business priority for every company that uses IT to drive its business goals. But for many companies, the Internet remains a mysterious black hole where it seems impossible to know what customers are doing at any given time or place.
To help address that problem, Quova is about to launch an Internet service that helps companies gain insight into customer behavior patterns. In an interview with InfoWorld Editor in Chief Michael Vizard, Derald Muniz, the CTO of Quova, talked about what his company will add to the next generation of customer management solutions.
InfoWorld: What is your company's core mission?
Muniz: We're going to bring geography to the Internet. When you move onto the Internet, the concepts of time and place get totally lost. There's no concept of geography whatsoever. So we're going to solve that problem. In doing that, we think we will enable broad markets, including local advertising, data rights management, fraud detection, regulatory enforcement, taxation assistance, and so forth.
InfoWorld: How will this happen?
Muniz: There's a tremendous amount of data collection involved, terabytes of information that we store and analyze on a weekly basis. We then distribute that to our customers with what we call our Data Distribution Network. As part of that, we came up with what we call our Meta Data Portion, which allows us to attach confidence factors on each piece of data that we deliver. For example, if I give you an IP address with various levels of attributes, such as country, state, city, ZIP, each one of those attributes has a confidence factor assigned to it.
InfoWorld: Offline, companies have built rather sophisticated tools to help them market their products. Are you trying to create an infrastructure that will allow them to create similar types of capabilities online?
Muniz: I think that we are the place everyone has to start. An example that I use to help customers understand just how sophisticated this could be is a national grocery chain. A grocery chain might have an inventory control issue or they might want to move some excess inventory. Today, they can only do that by heavily discounting those items within the store. But by moving inventory onto the Web, suddenly they have the ability to create banner ad coupons tied to multiple sites.
InfoWorld: How do you perform this service?
Muniz: We operate at the infrastructure level. We're watching packets: where they went and which hops they made throughout their route. Then we capture that data.
InfoWorld: What's the benefit of that?