Ever since Tim Berners-Lee invented the worldwide web, it has been augmenting the features of the physical world in a virtual mirror. All over the globe, people are realising a magnitude of potential and possibilities to be unlocked. For some these are fast becoming reality, others are still at the wish list stage. But the internet paved the way for the age of Big Data, and now the ways of collecting, managing and using Big Data, together with how it is affecting the way we operate and behave, are always in the news.
Possibilities in Retail Sales
In retail, for example, online traders can sell to the world, but must have impeccable customer service traits to succeed and grow, and customers are now seeking the same in the stores they walk into. Customers may also have been influenced by reviews they have seen on-line or recommendations by virtual friends on social media.
When they do visit a store which has good big data intelligence, they could be given a whole new shopping experience. Sales staff could be alerted so they are able to greet them by name, and ask if they are happy with a previous purchase, either in store or online, or suggest something that would complement it. A clothing store could direct them to accessories that would match an outfit. In a shop selling goods for the home, the assistant could be made aware of the colour scheme in a room they are making over and serve them accordingly.
Benefits in Hospitality
This sort of thing already happens in hotel chains that have regular customers who travel around the country or the world. We are helping a major multinational chain with master data management that ensures that data input at one hotel is swiftly available in all the others. Guests who are in Tokyo on Monday and move on to Singapore or New York later in the week will have their needs and preferences anticipated and seamlessly supplied. Getting it right can translate into good online reviews and social media comments that can bring new enquiries and bookings as well.
Quality is Everything
Of course, none of the above can happen unless the data collected is timely and accurate, and can be related to records already held. That’s why data quality software is becoming even more crucial. Matching software should always be employed at point of entry, and other data cleansing solutions such as deduplication software and address verification software should be regularly employed.