February 22, 2014
Information Insight

Connecting the Dots to Create the Bigger Picture

Currently, there aren’t many bigger or more popular buzz words in the business world than “Big Data”. Everyone is talking about Big Data, but what is its impact going to be on your organization? Is it going to be important to you or only to places like Google and the NSA? Are these projects going to be expensive? To put it simply, yes—Big Data will impact your business by creating a new era in data collection and availability, but not all Big Data initiatives need to be expensive.

Big Data can be summarized as the evolution of how much data we capture (hint: it’s a lot), what kind of data we are capturing (standard transactional data, unconventional social media data, automated “smart” data), and how we store and analyze these data points (data marts, analytics tools). Society is already creating massive quantities of data. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt said, “Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003, that’s something like five Exabyte’s of data.” For those of you following along at home, we are creating half as much data DAILY compared to what had existed since the dawn of time. To put it in numerical terms, an Exabyte is a million petabytes, a petabyte is a billion terabytes, and a typical, new home desktop computer has around 1 terabyte of hard drive capacity. A desktop computer can hold about 2.5 x 10-15 of the total data created each day.

The question that arises is, “With all this data pouring in from multiple sources, how can we gather meaningful findings to drive business decisions?” Kenway is currently engaged with a major telecommunications company to do just that—we are pulling together data from various sources in order to link together events in a meaningful manner. In other words, Kenway is helping this client turn its data into information. The objective is to create a comprehensive view of a customer’s end to end experience with the telecommunication client’s customer service platform. With this information, the client can make educated decisions on how to improve customer interaction and, hopefully, to increase Net Promoter Scores, or NPSs. For additional information on NPS scores, check out Sarah Welch’s blog here.

Much of the data needed to understand the customer service experience already existed in multiple databases; the issue was that it had to be connected. Using our data analysis and data mining experience to find and categorize data in the various warehouses, Kenway was able to string together the interactions and create a graphical flow of customer interactions for the client to analyze. From here, the client requested a method to track specific interaction types moving forward. Using Qlik’s Business Intelligence software QlikView, Kenway was able to package the flow information into a BI dashboard application from which the client can view recent, updated information.

After this first iteration, Kenway was approached with a bigger challenge, which was to clear up the data gaps between the customers’ interactions with an automated system and a live customer service representative. A major pain point for this client is transfers between different customer service representatives due to a customer call being directed to the wrong department from the initial welcome message. However, the information detailing those interactions wasn’t readily available in a database. After some investigation, Kenway found that various organizations were tracking their transfers on their own. Utilizing QlikView, we were able to include a view of transfers into the flow details and began to analyze the experience from an end to end perspective.

Using data analysis and business insight, Kenway was able to launch a meaningful BI project for this client to significantly increase visibility into their business. This is proof that Big Data projects don’t have to be large, five year projects that cost millions of dollars to be high value and high impact. We weren’t analyzing tens of petabytes, but the data was still sizable enough to be meaningful. The client has “Big Data” (both structured and unstructured), but the team assessed the value of the data and made a tactical decision to start small and iterate. The project was not a multi-year initiative that tied up client resources, but one that continues to provide meaningful insights as it moves forward. With the additional insight, the client was able to reduce the number of times a customer was transferred between representatives, thus improving their overall experience. Not only does this improve the customer perception of the company, but also includes a cost savings in person-hours for multiple representatives handling the same customer.

Big Data, Business Intelligence, and data analysis doesn’t have to be a scary subject. Companies can start small and work their way up, realizing benefits as they go along. There are a range of options available and companies like ours to help you navigate them. If you have questions about your data or how to start a BI or Big Data program, contact us at or check out our Business Intelligence page on our website.

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