However, executives are increasingly learning that valid data leads to more accurate decisions, which in turn assures career advancement (in the form of far fewer catastrophic mistakes). This is playing out within EMC and an increasing number of EMC customers, all of whom who are applying data analytics to a diverse set of problems and reaping incredible benefits.
Not only is EMC able to anticipate equipment failures up to six months in advance, but the company can now identify which customers are most valuable, most at risk and too expensive to retain. Soon EMC will be able to analyze competitors this way, too. The result will be the capability to turn at-risk customers into loyal customers and to optimize sales efforts to target a competitor's most vulnerable customers, therefore optimizing its customer base for revenue and profit.
EMC's Elias: The Big Data Challenge: How to Develop a Winning Strategy
EMC executives are finding that they can make better choices between investment alternatives from adding new product features to balancing cost and services. For instance, they discovered that shipping support overseas was unprofitable-the money saved wasn't worth the ensuing customer dissatisfaction-and now domestic support is a competitive advantage EMC uses to retain and increase customers successfully. This lets EMC executives make difficult decisions more easily and with far less risk.
When briefed on this capability, EMC customers were initially upset-not because EMC knew so much about them, but because EMC hadn't shared this capability so customers could do the same with their customers and products. In fact, resellers who had been resistant to providing access to their customers agreed to do so once they saw the result, in exchange for the capability to share the results so they, too, could optimize their sales efforts. Clearly, they'll be interested in competitive customer acquisition opportunities as well.
With Big Data Analytics, Accuracy Trumps Speed
When I get a briefing on an analytics system, the focus is often on the amazing speed the system can provide-but speed has little advantage if you can't assure the accuracy. Getting bad data more quickly does you no good. If you can assure the quality of the data first, then speed is an advantage. The losing party in the U.S. elections appeared to optimize performance, while the winning party focused on accuracy by internalizing the big data analytics effort and assuring accuracy first.
How-To: 4 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Big Data Initiative