Making the most of what you have

Many, many companies have built very sophisticated Data Warehouses -They should start using what they’ve got a little more effectively before moving on to tougher things!

So there I was in an ICA store in Stockholm, a huge trolley of goods for the weekend and dead pleased that eventually I got to the front of the queue. It was Saturday, everyone was in a hurry to get home after queuing for ages on the Stockholm motor ways. My partner was diligently packing the goods because it was my turn to pay so imagine my horror when my debit card was rejected – not once, but three times. Crikey, everyone was looking at me as if I was some sort of crook. Well luckily my partners AMEX card came to the rescue but imagine my concern. I kept thinking of the £20k balance in my account and wondering what had happened to it.

In panic on the way home I missed an incoming SMS but got the second when I got back and was horrified to see the number of my bank come up – well I assumed this, as in fact it was actually some random call centre somewhere on planet Earth. I answered it (at my cost as I was roaming) to be told that this was a routine security check because the behavior on my card had proved concerning (to who and why is a mystery as you will see). I was asked to agree the last few transactions of my card to verify that these were correct and not fraudulent: They were:

Currency exchange (at Heathrow)

A purchase at Heathrow of around £30 (two bottles of champers)

Purchase of an airline ticket – UK to Sweden.

Well I confirmed all of this and was simply informed that my card would now start working again – no explanation, no nothing – unbelievable. My card had been refused at a grocery but imagine what could have happened!

Now you might ask yourself a question, why is this guy moaning about this? Well why I’m moaning is that for the two years previous to this incident I had been travelling to Sweden at least once every six weeks – I invariably change money, always buy champagne and always buy an air ticket so why did my bank see this as unusual?  Why weren’t they using some system to check that in fact this was quite a usual style of activity – nothing unusual here? Why has this bank got the authority to arbitrarily stop me using my own money, none the less in such an preposterous manner?

Well, the bank I am talking about was a pioneer in Data Warehousing so I’m just wondering why this event happened when I know that they diligently record all my transactions and store them in a DW whilst apparently failing to understand their meaning. No need for Hadoop here!!!!

Regulation – a class of Big Data apps

There are bad guys out there!

 

Going back to the gist of my last post, one of the pillars that underpinned de-regulation was the idea that companies would work in a ‘correct’ manner and regulate themselves. The truth is that this worked and still does work very well for 95% of companies but there are always bad pennies committing fraud or simply not being careful in accounting practices. Thanks to a few well known financial disasters, even before the global meltdown, the concept of re-regulation loomed large across many industries. There are many sets of rules that are now in place to bring governance to company business – some of the more well known include Sarbanes-Oxley and Basel II and III which have been around for a little while now. We might ask ourselves what do they have in common and the answer is that both and many more such initiatives, demand that very accurate and accountable numbers are produced quickly from very complex underlying data – the need for Business Intelligence rears its head once again and the term ‘Big Data’ can certainly be applied to some of these initiatives.

 

Re-regulation demands that some very complex numbers are delivered:

 

  • Quickly
  • Accurately
  • Transparently

 

 

Throw into the pot that the data needed often as not comes from tens or even hundreds of operational systems distributed across the world and that some of these initiatives need very complex predictive modelling and detailed segmentation and we see a new class of Big Data applications.

Natural Selection in Business – Does using Big Data provide a sustainable advantage?

 

In nature, when resources are plentiful, species live together quite amicably. Even predator and prey reach a satisfactory balance whereby there is always food for both. However, when resources are scarce, species that were once happy together often turn into bitter enemies. The strong, big guy’s fight each other, determined to completely obliterate their competitor often resulting in mortal damage being inflicted on both. Whilst this is happening, the intelligent guys, who are inevitably smaller and physically weaker, get to work. Firstly, they take advantage of the preoccupation of the others by amassing their basic requirements quickly. They then diversify and find a niche for themselves, knowing that competition will come, but being determined to foresee it and avoid it where possible.

 

Most people accept that this is the way of the natural world and business dynamics tend to follow the same basic rules. Intelligent companies will not measure themselves by numbers of employees, amount of real estate or revenue alone, but will instead increasingly judge themselves on different values:

 

  • The average life time value of their key customers
  • The elapsed time for a new customer to become profitable
  • Public image
  • Customer retention
  • Knowledge, expertise and willingness of the work force
  • Brand awareness and flexibility
  • Environmental friendliness
  • Efficient and focused work practices
  • Customer satisfaction

 

Note: be aware that the little guys don’t always have to take on the big guys directly and in fact it’s usually best not too. Those of you who know the story about David and Goliath should be clear that this was not a simple big guy versus little guy competition in which David shows the world not to be afraid of a ‘larger’ opponent. The fact is that Goliath, although being big, had no noticeable weaponry whilst David however, had the equivalent in those days, of a sawn off shotgun. My guess is that if the two guys had met with equal weapons the result would have been rather less romantic but David showed some real common-sense here. He knew that if he wasn’t prepared for the fight he had no chance so he fought the battle very much on his own terms.

 

Invitation to The Big Data Institute (TBDI) Partnership program

We are contacting you as a follower of TBDI Blog and LinkedIn group and to explore your organization’s interest in becoming a Partner with The Big Data Institute (TBDI).

TBDI is a California registered non-profit organization for Big Data Analytics and Data Science for executives and professionals worldwide. It provides Free and Premium membership with TBDI and provides access to sponsored content such as research, Webinars, and white papers.

By being a corporate partner, your organization has the opportunity to participate in this leading Big Data Analytics & Data Science organization worldwide. As a TBDI Partner, you join an exclusive group of companies that share the TBDI commitment to quality education, content, and knowledge transfer to Big Data Analytics and Data Science professionals worldwide. TBDI Partners receive special benefits for maximum exposure to quality audiences. This includes exclusive exposure at our U.S., EMEA, AsiaPacific events, on our highly trafficked website, and within our well-respected publications.

Partners have access to proven marketing solutions that increase brand awareness, deliver superior lead generation, and ensure Big Data Analytics and Data Science professionals worldwide are familiar with your products and services. Becoming a TBDI Partner provides a cost-effective way to participate in a variety of marketing opportunities, including events, online exposure, research, Webinars, and publications.

I would like to recommend that your organization become a (Titanium, Platinum, Gold or Silver) Partner and receive the following benefits;

Print and Online Exposure
• Exclusive! Partner logo for your website, collateral, and journal.
• Your own content page in the Partner area of The-BigDataInsitute.com
• Two white papers featured in the TBDI White Paper Library for a three-month period (includes lead generation)
• Your logo displayed in an exclusive full-page Partner ad in the quarterly publication – The Big Data & Data Science Journal
• 5% discount on publication advertising and sponsorships, research, and Webinars
• Inclusion of links to all related Partner content on The-BigDataInsitute.com:
– Sponsored Webinars
– Checklist Reports
– Currently listed white papers
– Solutions Gateways
– Videos

Professional Development
• TBDI Enterprise Team Membership for up to 10 people in your organization

One More Benefit
• Access to our Social Media Groups – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

To become a TBDI Partner, please contact us at sales@the-bigdatainstitute.com. Should you need more information than is presented, please feel free to contact us and we will assist you in any way we can.

Best regards,
TBDI