From Transactions to Interactions
Big data is not just about the volume of data. It’s also about new types and sources of data that can be used to gain new insight and deliver business advantage.
For years IT has managed transactional data held within relational databases. While this has been growing in scale and complexity, there is now an additional source of data that enterprises need to take notice: Big Interaction Data. This is a new type of data that represents both social media interactions (human-generated interactions), as well as machine interactions (device-generated interactions). In both cases, the data is extremely large, continuously growing and exists both within and beyond the firewall. The challenge for businesses is how to understand and extract useful intelligence from these complex, unstructured data sources.
The Social Media Opportunity
Social media has changed the role of business computing from simply automating transactions to facilitating interactions. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, Foursquare and Google+ have become pervasive, and user adoption is accelerating. Social media is unleashing a torrent of data that holds immense promise for business – both in terms of brand management as well as opening up new channels to market. Customers are speaking amid those billions of messages. They’re communicating who they are, what they like and what they don’t like. This relentless stream of social media data provides unprecedented levels of feedback and an unmatched opportunity for companies to listen to the voice of the customer, glean intelligence, and engage in an interactive dialogue to drive competitive advantage and new business opportunities.
Data integration technologies offer a unified and powerful approach to harnessing the vast volumes of social media data and turn it into a competitive weapon. By capturing this interaction data and combining it with more traditional data sources, held on-premise or in the cloud, companies in every industry can gain insights into customer behavior that is useful for both enabling one-to-one customer interactions and charting macro-level trends. Social media data can be parsed, aggregated, and standardized into any format and made ready for analysis of customer behavior. Such analysis can provide powerful new insights to power social customer relationship management (CRM) as well as more traditional marketing initiatives. With master data management, it becomes possible to create a single, reliable view of the customer profile, and enrich it with data from social media interactions to gain new insights into buyer behavior. Traditional transactional data provides a rear-view mirror into what has happened with your customer – interaction data allows you to look into the future with a view that is more insightful and more valuable. Data integration is the enabling technology to untap this potential.
Device Data Driving Data Growth
A large part of the exponential growth in data is the result of device-generated data, which, some say, will continue to grow as fast as Moore’s Law allows it. Examples include mobile device data, computer logs, network logs, sensor information, GPS data, geo-location mapping data, image data, Web text data, clickstream data, scientific data and medical data. Such data is widely predicted to form the bulk of data growth into the future. With the rise of the smart phone, this data is hitting critical mass. In fact, Cisco forecasts that mobile data traffic alone will hit 6.3 exabytes a month in 2015.
While many organizations are now realizing that there is a wealth of information coming from these devices, most are not geared to process this data. Because their focus has been on processing transaction data, they do not have the technology in place to collect, aggregate, and process the volumes of unstructured and semi-structured data coming from these external sources. Data integration allows companies to take advantage of device data. It allows them to connect, collect/aggregate, map, normalize, and transform the data, and then push it to a system that can process or analyze it. This can mean resolving identity or location data via master data management. It can mean looking at patterns of events such as system failures and using complex event processing to take action. Or it can mean pushing the data to an analytical system for trending or reporting.
Big Data Means Big Opportunities
Both social media and device data represent new and profound sources of data that can allow companies to realize new business insights. The Informatica Platform delivers the data integration technology that your organization can use to capitalize on this bounty of information. By combining traditional transaction data with new interaction data, your organization will be prepared to realize the big opportunities of Big Data.