You have a lot of customer data — housed in a lot of different locations. You’re working hard to make sense of it so you can better understand your customers and advance your business. You’ve set objectives for how to use it, hired data engineers and data scientists, and even written algorithms. So…how’s all that going?
If you’re like most businesses, it’s a work in progress. A Gartner survey revealed that 73 percent of business respondents said their organization has invested or is planning to invest in big data. Yet, only 15 percent of businesses reported deploying their big data project to production. The truth is, when it comes to effectively using your big data, it’s a lot easier said than done. But, a little-talked-about tool can help: Data Keying and Linking technology. Here’s a peek at how it can help resolve key challenges when dealing with big data.
Big Data Can be Hard Work
We’ve all seen a messy desk, piled high with stacks of loose papers and files. New stuff gets thrown on top of the old stuff. Big data can be messy like that. It comes in different, discombobulated forms and formats. Often, it sits in separate databases, or sometimes it feeds into a data lake. The whole time, new data is steadily being created and flooding in on top of the old data.
Since it’s all different and disconnected, it can’t be accurately queried until it’s cleansed, standardized and linked together, and that takes a lot of work on behalf of your data engineers and scientists. A Forbes article revealed that data scientists report spending up to 80 percent of their time preparing data to be analyzed and mined, leaving little time for actual analysis, modeling, and insight reporting.
This is where automated Data Keying and Linking makes a difference. It’s basically a hyper-streamlined filing system for your big data, which takes every data file across all your data resources and repositories, neatly organizes it into consolidated customer profiles, and continuously updates those profiles.
Data Keying and Linking Makes it Actionable
Simply put, Data Keying and Linking helps you convert disconnected, multi-sourced data into cohesive, actionable insights that reveal the bigger picture of customers. It involves master data management practices, such as entity resolution, identity resolution, record linkage, data matching, merge/purge processing, list washing, record resolution/deduplication and matching, conflation, data integration, information integration, and more.
Each data file is assigned a unique data key that doesn’t include personally identifying information. This helps secure and protect your customer data, helping to protect your customers and your business. The technology then searches across your data for files with matching identifiers. When matching files are found, it links matching files together into a single, consolidated profile. In the end, it helps you create a trusted, single customer view that is automatically updated as your data continuously updates and grows.
Understand Your Customers from Every Angle
When your data is keyed and linked, you can see your customers from every angle and touchpoint, across functional departments, such as marketing, customer service, accounting, collections, as well as historical account information. This helps you better understand them, offer a higher level of service, and even protect your business. For example, you can suddenly recognize that the “new” customer sitting across from you applying for service, isn’t really a new customer. Instead, they’re a past customer with an outstanding write-off balance that you may now be able to collect.
Here’s another example of how it can help. Take Greg Jones and G. Jones. Same address, same last name, possibly the same first name, but different phone numbers. Surely one number is Greg’s cell phone and the other is his home phone, right? Wrong. G. Jones isn’t Greg Jones, she’s Gail — originally Gail Conlan. She changed her last name when she married Greg, and they moved in together.
By adding the proper context and intelligently linking the data, you can uniquely match your records to the right customer. This may seem like a minor distinction, but if you’re marketing to Greg as if he’s Gail or tailoring a customer experience to Gail as if she’s Greg, you could easily end up losing one or both people as customers.
Data Keying and Linking isn’t the Future, it’s the “Right Now”
The sooner you can make sense of your big data and start using it to better understand your customers, the better you can grow and protect your business. Data Keying and Linking is an essential tool that can help preserve your time and internal resources by automatically organizing and preparing your data for analysis and modeling, as well as helping accelerate your time to insights on that data.