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How to choose big data solution providers

Big data is only getting bigger, creating challenges for businesses to find insights and act on them. For 60% of employees, it takes hours or days to get the information they need from their system and databases, while only 3% can find information in seconds. When those who aren’t adept at analytics need to make a data-driven decision, 79% have to ask IT, slowing down decision-making and putting further strain on an already stretched IT team.

According to research by Econsultancy and Ensighten, only 10 percent of marketers have successfully aggregated data from social, web analytics, customer purchase history, in-store visits and sales. So how can organizations start getting more out of the data they’re collecting?

Keep reading for some tips on how to choose big data solutions that work in your favor.

What to look for in big data solution providers

Here are the top 7 features and benefits to consider when selecting big data solutions.

Security of data

Whether the data is stored on-premises or in the cloud, look for providers who offer data encryption to prevent the risk of hacks or tampering. Time-stamped and source-proof recording of web and mobile sessions provides digital integrity and authenticity. The more secure your data is, the greater peace of mind you and your customers have regarding its usage and accessibility.

PII (Personally Identifiable Information) readily accessible

All industries doing business in Europe must comply with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This means being able to produce, on-demand, any personal data held on an individual, and the right for any individual to be forgotten.

Data compression

Big data takes up a lot of space. To meet industry requirements you may have to store up to 7 years of the customer’s digital sessions. However there is a cost for data storage. Look for a provider that offers data compression technology to shrink down the digital footprint – with some going as low as 5% of the original size – leading to a huge reduction in total cost of ownership (TCO).

Fast to set up and easy to maintain

Some big data solutions involve a lengthy and difficult process to implement. Furthermore, many of them require the tagging of every individual page, which is a huge hassle when it comes to maintenance and prevents the agility needed to stay competitive in today’s market. Choose a solution that requires limited tagging or a tagless solution to save yourself precious time. Also, if you’re hoping to marry data from both web and mobile app interactions, look for big data solution providers that offer a unified view for both web and mobile platforms. Having an all-in-one complete suite for all digital interactions that can be set up in weeks makes all the difference in customer experience analytics.

Accessibility for everyone

If the design and usage of the platform you’re considering is too complex, only IT, software development, and technical staff will be able to access the customer behavior analytics and drive insights. Consider tools with an interface that allows for easy search and retrieval of data as well as visual replay. This way the entire organization can reap the rewards of valuable experience analytics.

Reporting formats

If you’re going to invest in big data solutions, you’ll want the tool to help you make sense of the data you’re collecting. The ability to share data in the form of charts, graphs, clickmaps, and journey maps can provide insights into the KPIs for all departments, including marketing, customer support, risk and compliance and IT. Consider software that lets you create reports based on free-text queries which gives you more flexibility on top of out-of-the-box reports. Instead of just one perspective on the digital customer journey, a big data solution can provide numerous angles of insight into your entire platform’s operations.

Automatic insights

Analyzing the massive quantity of data generated by today’s digital businesses —and business intelligence and traditional web analytics tools—takes time and expertise. Look for big data solution providers which leverage machine learning algorithms to help you to isolate issues in real time, supporting agile processes and rapid business decisions. They detect anomalies in a way that adapts to changes efficiently and effectively.

Right now, there are many new and noisy big data solution providers making big claims about the difference they can make to your customer analytics. It’s vital to dig deep, and check out the value that they have added to the customer experience. You might think that it’s safer to go with the biggest companies, but these are the least likely to be coming up with fresh and innovative solutions. A big data solution is a significant investment in time, money and resources.

Originally published March 2017. Updated May 28, 2020.

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