How Smart Apps Create Value From Big Data


Data science and analytics are shaping how businesses approach customers while helping to separate the signal from the noise. Companies that invest in predictive and prescriptive analytics are more likely to achieve a competitive advantage in their marketplace, and Tim Girgenti, Chief Strategy Officer at PROS, a big data software company, is eager to put companies on the path to better results through analytics. Girgenti took time to speak with CIO Insight on the state of big data analytics, how smart applications can help neutralize competitors and the new business reality that’s influenced by big data initiatives.

CIO Insight: Is this an exciting time to be involved in big data analytics?

Tim Girgenti: Absolutely. Is there any doubt this is the age of big data? It’s great to see the widespread acceptance of data science and analytics as a way to help individuals, teams and entire organizations get better results. We see it everywhere, from sports and leisure, to medicine, high-tech, food and agri-business, manufacturing, health care and many others.

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For PROS, that means there’s never been a more exciting time to provide software that puts big data to work. I believe passionately that big data has ushered in a new age of software, an age of “smart” applications that combine the power of automation, analytics and data science into a single, end-to-end solution. Automation alone is now table stakes. And using science outside of applications just slows down the speed of business. Smart applications that provide real-time guidance at the point of action are more relevant now than ever. 

CIO Insight: It’s one thing to aggregate data and turn it into a report. It’s another thing to take data and apply it immediately in a business context. Are we there yet in terms of putting to use in real time actionable big data analytics?

Girgenti: We are seeing more companies put their big data to use in real-time through smart applications that use embedded data science to provide users with real-time guidance at the point of action. It’s the nirvana of intelligence plus execution. And it gets great results.

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For example, we have a customer in the food distribution business that sells food and equipment to restaurants. When their sales reps create a quote in their sales application, the quote is populated with recommended, science-derived prices that meet the customer’s expectation of value. And it’s populated with recommended additional products that the customer is most likely going to be interested in buying too. With this solution, customers bought on average 400 more items per month, and the vendor’s margins increased more than 260 basis points. It’s a perfect win-win. Customers are happier, and sales reps are selling more. That’s the power of applying big data science and analytics at the point of action. 

CIO Insight: Can you quantify the value of a successful big data analytics campaign in consideration to money, time and better use of resources?

Girgenti: We’ve found that the closer you apply predictive and prescriptive data science to your customer interactions, the easier it is to measure the impact. Whether it’s identifying attrition risk, recommending cross-sell and upsell opportunities, prescribing products and prices, or optimizing offers, smart applications can drive measurable improvements in revenue and profits. Gartner estimates that price optimization alone can drive 1-3% increases in revenue and up to 15% in margins.;

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