'Data-driven transformation' is a hot topic these days, particularly in marketing, which in most organizations is keenly feeling the pressure of data overload.
"The reason the emphasis now is on data-driven is because organizations are struggling with absolutely being overwhelmed by data," says Dale Renner, CEO and founder of data management and digital marketing software RedPoint Global and a veteran of Accenture who founded that firm's CRM practice. "There's just so much data. Part of this issue is about the volume of data but a pig piece of it is about what data to use and how to use it."
What data-driven really means?
What it comes down to, Renner says, is that the marketing function has allowed — or rather forced to allow — the proliferation of data silos. They have something for SMS, something for sending email, all flavors of social, mobile, call centers, customer relationship management solutions, maybe even a print shop. Each of them probably sits in or at least touches different business divisions with different business rules.
"When you hear someone say, 'I need to be data-driven,' it's short-hand for, 'I need a unified view of my customer that allows me to see my customer end-to-end,'" Renner says.
Bringing that all together may sound tricky, but it's even more challenging than it sounds, says Monte Zweben, CEO and cofounder of Splice Machine, maker of a Hadoop RDBMS designed to scale real-time applications.
Splice Machine was founded in 2012, and Zweben says that early on his team met with the CIO of a major omni-channel retailer.
"This CIO said something that was profound to me," Zweben says. "'It's all fine and good to have the silos collecting data and then bringing some of those silos together to build models about our customers — frequency, recency, average basket size, etc. But all those models are kind of stale. What we really want to know across our channels is what have you done with our brands in the last 10 minutes and then be able to respond with a personalized ad, offer or whatever it is.'"
That CIO understood that being able to react in time led to a much higher conversion rate, Zweben says.
"That CIO was promoted to be CMO," he adds. "That is what requires a new generation of data technology."
Splice Machine and RedPoint unite
And that is what brought Splice Machine and RedPoint to the decision to form a strategic partnership today to bring together Splice Machine's massively scalable database technology and RedPoint's cross-channel marketing and data quality technology to deliver a big data digital marketing platform that can serve as a complete omni-channel marketing solution.
The partners have integrated and certified Splice Machine's Hadoop RDBMS on RedPoint's Convergent Marketing Platform. With the new integrated solution, organizations can land their data in a data lake (built on Hadoop from Cloudera, Hortonworks, MapR or others). RedPoint's platform takes care of the ETL and hygiene work, while Splice Machine provides the transactional processing on that data.
"So many people have used Hadoop as a dumping ground and a place to store data," Zweben says. "It's kind of like a data roach motel. Data gets in but it usually doesn't get out. This lets you quickly and reliably get data into Hadoop and then power omni-channel marketing with customers directly from Hadoop."
The end result, Renner says, is that marketers can use the platform to master the logistical headache caused by channel proliferation while dramatically reducing latency in decision-making and action.
"That's what being data-driven is all about," he adds. "Bring it together at speed, at need, to drive those insights. Otherwise it's a spray and pray approach."