Magazine article CRM Magazine

Big Data Demands Organizational Change: Technology Is Only One Part of the Equation

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Big Data Demands Organizational Change: Technology Is Only One Part of the Equation

Article excerpt

Aside from the advent of the Internet itself, big data is having the greatest technological impact on the economy, Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist at MIT's Center for Digital Business, told attendees during his keynote at the SAS Global Forum Executive Conference in late April.

"We have different ways to address common business challenges as a result of big data," he said, citing the airline industry's use of predictive patterning to determine potential flight delays and health insurance companies' ability to identify gaps in care as examples. However, he added, "I am not confident companies will do what is necessary to make the [internal] changes to address big data."

McAfee and others at the conference pointed out that many enterprises today still struggle to transition from sitting on a gold mine of big data to running analytical processes with that data, due to the sheer speed at which business moves. In addition, companies have struggled to redefine business rules as a result of channel evolution, changes in customer behavior due to the rise of social media and mobile devices, and economic events such as the Great Recession.

One of those evolving areas is revenue management, which in the past was all about selling the right product at the right time for the right price. Historically, when InterContinental Hotels Group relied on data and analytics for revenue management, "we looked at what happened on the property last year,"

said Craig Eister, its vice president of global revenue management, during a presentation. "Now, it's become muddy and challenging for us in several different categories. We're not just selling a room anymore. We're selling a view or the fact that the room is not near an elevator. The complexity around inventory is changing."

That's having a dramatic impact on the organizational chain of command. Now, before marketing teams at InterContinental deploy price-sensitive campaigns, they reach out to revenue management to discuss implications derived from data. …

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