How to Handle the ‘Big Data Dilemma’ In 2018

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In this special guest feature, Larry Skowronek, VP Product Management at NICE, advises that defining your Big Data goals will help ensure that you have the right technology, tools and processes in place to manage that data. Larry is responsible for the research and development of the overall market strategy, product strategy, and development roadmap for NICE Nexidia’s Customer Engagement Analytics solutions. With experience from workforce optimization and CTI to real-time reporting an d monitoring to SaaS contact center, Larry developed a keen understanding of the best practices for managing the evolving contact center. He has put specific focus on leveraging the contact center as a value-adding business function, which contributes directly to a company’s achievement of strategic and corporate objectives.

It’s no secret that modern enterprises collect a massive amount of information on their customers, yet often lack the tools and ability to manage it successfully. In many cases, customer data is siloed off and utilized in a way that only benefits specific departments, but what if all internal data was used effectively to impact the bottom line?

Unfortunately, accomplishing the task of streamlining data across a company can be difficult to execute. A recent survey from New Vantage Partners found that 85 percent of companies are striving to be data-driven, but only 37 percent feel they’ve implemented a successful data-driven model. While most businesses understand the impact data-driven insights can have on their bottom lines, Big Data is useless without a holistic approach and the tools to cultivate and shape that data.

How Big is Big Data?

Big Data is no longer a luxury; it’s a business need, especially when it comes to customer service. Customers are frequently communicating with businesses across a variety of platforms (emails, surveys, social media, etc.) and they expect a seamless journey across all of these touch-points. To ensure a seamless journey, businesses should be tracking and analyzing all these sources. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case: there is an estimated 2.7 Zetabytes of data that exists in today’s digital world, yet only 0.5 percent of this data is being analyzed.

Before the influx of data is even addressed or analyzed, companies need to think about how they want to utilize the data that is available. For example, if a company thinks it is losing customers due to the launch of a competitor’s product, they can research the data points that are most relevant and draw insights about how to increase their competitive edge. Defining your Big Data goals will help ensure that you have the right technology, tools and processes in place to manage that data.

Create a Data-First Culture

Over the past few years, more companies have invested in Big Data solutions and implemented data-driven cultures. At the end of 2017, the business intelligence and analytics market was worth $18.3 billion. Today, it’s imperative that organizations treat Big Data as a part of their culture and implement programs to educate employees on its values. Employees should understand that Big Data should be considered a way of doing business rather than a button you push to gain insights. With an actionable approach, and the cultivation of an analytics-first culture, data will become a valuable part of your employee’s day-to-day operations. Decisions they make will be in part or in whole based on insights gleaned from both the past and real-time as Big Data systems become more enmeshed.

Train and Hire a Data Savvy Team

As companies become more reliant on analytics, they need to ensure their staff has the skills to handle and execute on this data. Investing in leadership is a great way to help employees understand the day-to-day benefit of data. Companies are creating C-level roles of Chief Data Officers (CDOs) and hiring data scientists to demonstrate the value of Big Data. According to a recent survey by IDG, 75 percent of enterprise organizations have deployed or plan to deploy big data projects and as a result, Gartner predicts 90 percent of large global organizations will have a CDO by 2019. In addition to hiring needs, internal trainings for existing employees can aid to institutional knowledge and career growth. Lastly, organizations should identify missing skills and talents in order to tackle Big Data.

Preparing Your Back End to Handle Big Data  

The amount of data available continues to grow and companies need to ensure they have the right infrastructure in place to handle this growth. In particular, companies need to prepare for peak customer service seasons where a greater volume of data is expected. Once peak season has passed, take advantage of the downtime to process and analyze the data. The most valuable back end is one that offers scalability and elasticity. This is opposed to allocating massive amounts of hardware for the peak season only to use a fraction of it the rest of the time, using a cloud services back end (or even a mixture of the two) that can scale as needed can be much more effective.

Looking Ahead

As digital transformation efforts increase in the enterprise, it’s important to consider how creating a culture of Big Data can serve as a complement to new technologies, systems and policies. While it can be an enormous undertaking to integrate new technologies, processes and people, creating a data-driven culture only makes your company more competitive, actionable and connected.


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  1. There was a time when Big Data was looked at as something that businesses could benefit from but didn’t need. This is no longer the case because as more companies embrace it, others will need to do the same in order to remain competitive.