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Posts from the ‘Big Data’ Category


Customer Journey Analytics and Data Science

DigitalJourneys-WhyFortune 500 companies are making large investments around Programmatic Marketing (“Marketing that learns”). One of most often implemented use case in Programmatic Marketing is customer journey mapping and analytics.

Why? Because, deciphering the nuts-and-bolts” of individual customer journeys online (and deducing intent) is core to improving customer experience and driving brand loyalty.

Specifically, the objectives are:

  • Visualize and map the end-to-end customer journey by personas
  • Optimizing on the right journey attributes to increase yields  by >30% lift… Uncover the right combination of web, mobile and physical channels, content and experiences that  best achieves the target goals
  • Enable marketers to identify journey bottlenecks for individuals and aggregates
  • Leverage actual behavior data to enhance and personalize the experience for each individual customer


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Data/BI/Analytics Evolution @ NetFlix

More data + Better models + More accurate metrics + Better approaches & architectures = Lots of room for improvement!

netflixIt’s amazing to watch how quickly the data engineering / analytics/ reporting/ modeling/ visualization toolset is evolving in the BI ecosytem.

There are clearly massive foundational shifts taking place around big data. I am not sure how large conventional Fortune 500 firms can innovate and keep up with what’s going on.  I have run into CIOs who have not heard of Hadoop in some cases.

It’s also fascinating to see how data-driven “bleeding” edge firms like NetFlix are pushing the envelope.  Netflix stats are amazing:  1/3+ Internet traffic (NA / peak);  100+ Million hours per day; 65+ Million members / 50+ countries; 500 Billion Events / Day.

NetFlix is clearly reinventing Television and targeting 90 million potential subs in the US market alone.  Binge-watching, cord-cutting are now part of our everyday lingo. What most people don’t realize is how data-driven Netflix is…. from “giving viewers what they want” to “leveraging data mining to boost subscriber base”.

Viewing -> Improved Personalization -> Better Experience is the virtuous circle.

Here is a glimpse at how their BI landscape has evolved in the past five years as they integrate 5 million to 6 million net adds for several years now.  The figures are from a presentation by Blake Irvine, Manager Data Science and Engineering.

BI tools @ NetFlix pre-Hadoop

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The NoSQL and Spark Ecoystem: A C-Level Guide


New Technologies | New Possibilities

As a C-level executive, it’s becoming clear to me that NoSQL databases and Machine Learning toolsets like Spark are going to play an increasingly big role in data-driven business models, low-latency architecture & rapid application development (projects that can be done in 8-12 weeks not years).

The best practice firms are making this technology shift as decreasing storage costs have led to an explosion of big data. Commodity cluster software, like Hadoop, has made it 10-20x cheaper to store large datasets.

After spending two days at the leading NoSQL provider  MongoDB World event in NYC, I was pleasantly surprised to see the amount of innovation and size of user community around document centric databases like MongoDB.

Data Driven Insight Economy

It doesn’t take genius to realize that data driven business models, high volume data feeds, mobile first customer engagement, and cloud are creating new distributed database requirements. Today’s modern online and mobile applications need continuous availability, cost effective scalability and high-speed analytics to deliver an engaging customer experience.

We know instinctively that there is value in all the data being captured in the world around out…no question is no longer “if there is value” but “how to extract that value and apply it to the business to make a difference”.

Legacy relational databases fail to meet the requirements of digital and online applications for the following reasons:

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Love, Sex and Predictive Analytics: Tinder,, and OkCupid

Have we got a girl for you” Some very sophisticated predictive analytics are powering the online dating or hookup world.  A lot of innovation is taking place around real-time, geo-location based matching services.

Take for which debuted its online dating first site in the U.S. in April 1995.  Today, the brand hosts sites in 24 countries, in fifteen different languages spanning five continents. offers an interactive way for singles to meet other singles with whom they might otherwise never cross paths.

How to model and predict human attraction? is powered by Synapse algorithm. Synapse learns about its users in ways similar to sites like Amazon, Neflix, and Pandora to recommend new products, movies, or songs based on a user’s preferences.

IntelligentMatching (1) uses to do personalized surveys and get detailed preference data. But when it comes to matching people based on their potential love and mutual attraction, however, analytics get significantly more complex when you are attempting to predict mutual match… the person A is a potential match for person B…. but with high probability that person B is also interested in person A. Read more »


Domo – The Hot New Visualization Stealth Startup

Domo seems to be hottest emerging company in the visualization, BI and so-called “Business Management Platform” area.  I have been seeing it at several clients recently.

According to their pitch.. “Domo is the future of business management.  For all the trillions spent on technology solutions, the way we do business still feels pretty painful. Data lives everywhere. Insights arrive too slowly. Collaboration is still wildly inefficient. Until now. Domo puts the right information, at the right time, into the hands of the people that actually use it to collaborate and make decisions. And it’s transforming the way people manage business.”

Domo grabs live business data from some 300 different sources — Salesforce, NetSuite, Twitter and Facebook included — and presents the data in a live interactive dashboard that can be customized and mixed and matched in all kinds of ways.

A screenshot of is shown below (courtesy of Recode).



Given the 2 bln valuation and growing hype, I have been struggling to figure out what Domo does that Tableau Software can’t do.  Domo claims to bring the business and all its data together in one intuitive platform. Doesn’t every BI and Data Visualization platform do this? Domo claims to be developed hundreds of proprietary connectors (traditional data sources and cloud based) that connect directly to any source of data across your entire organization, and bring it into one intuitive platform.  Again so does everyone else.

Recode explains this in the following manner…”Domo is not just an application but a platform, which means that if there’s some specialized business app that Domo hasn’t connected to yet, you can now start building your own connections to it and bring that data in. Those individual sections of data in the shot above are called “cards,” and you can rearrange them and add new ones to your view all the time. But if you need a special card that combines a few different bits of data and which hasn’t already been built, Domo today announced a feature it calls Card Builder that lets you create your own.”

You can be the judge and jury on how novel all this is.

Notes and References

1. Domo have been valued at 2 Bln and raised a round of 200M.

2. List of Domo Connectors



2015 Year in “PreReview” in Technology

The summer of 2015 marked the release of the blockbuster Sci-fi movie, tEREUy1vSfuSu8LzTop3_IMG_2538“Terminator Genisys,” which grossed a record $350 million at the box office and further popularized the notion of time travel. In addition to sequels and prequels, Hollywood has now adopted plots for movies in which the audience can choose among alternate storylines and follow them to their logical conclusion. The future, as we know it, is plural. This year in our PreReview of 2015, we once again present a few alternative scenarios for the future from our vantage point at the end of 2014.

New business models created by emerging technologies and unforeseen partnerships dominated the headlines in 2015.  Trending technologies such as the Internet of Things approached half the level of big data during 2015. Trending terms in the mainstream media such as drones and Bitcoin scored high in Google trends.

Here are three headlines from 2015 that caught our attention.

FedEx launches “parcelopter” service for 50-minute delivery  Read more »


Apple’s HealthKit vs. Google Fit – Wellness Platforms powered by big data and analytics

mobile-applicationsGame on….I think we just witnessed a next generation leap in Healthcare Wellness (powered by Data and Predictive Analytics).  Apple jumped into the health information business on June 2 2014, launching both a new health app (Health) and a cloud-based health information platform with IOS 8 (HealthKit). This was followed by Apple Watch, (Watch launch in September 10, 2014), an intelligent health and fitness companion.

Google followed with Google Fit on June 25. Fit is a set of APIs that will allow developers to sync data across wearables and devices. Google Fit is the equivalent of Apple’s HealthKit.  Google didn’t announce an equivalent of Apple Health app.  It is expecting its ecosystem of Android partners to innovate with apps. Google also might be taking a different approach with Fit aligned with Android Wear SDK which extends the Android platform to a new generation of wearable devices.

The connected health and wearable devices market has a multitude of participants, including specialized consumer electronics companies, such as Fitbit, Garmin, Jawbone, and Misfit, and traditional health and fitness companies, such as adidas, Nike and Under Armour. In addition, many large, broad-based consumer electronics companies either compete in fitness market or adjacent markets, including LG, Microsoft, and Samsung. Read more »


Cloud-based Healthcare Analytics and Decision Support Solutions

CostTransparencyThe old playbook no longer works. Everyone acknowledges that U.S healthcare is broken.

Technology (preventative apps like Apple Health and HealthKit; EHR, claims and reimbursement analytics; Physician Practice management etc.)  will reinvent healthcare as we know it.  I expect the  healthcare transformation to start incrementally and develop slowly in sophistication.  Though the early changes will appear clumsy and underwhelming, by 2030 they will seem obvious, inevitable and well beyond the changes we might envision today.

Why change? Consider this:

  • Honeywell, a Fortune 100 technology and manufacturing company, needed to manage the ever-escalating cost of insuring its 130,000 employees and their dependents. Honeywell has reported that health care costs were growing approximately 8-10% per year.
  • Self-insured employers like Wal-Mart want to make health care cost and quality information available to their 1.2 Million employees.  Useful information that can be used by employees to select physicians based on how their rank, or how much they cost, resulting in savings for both the employee and the employer. Decision support enabler.

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Consumerism, Health Exchanges, and Payor Big Data – A Primer

EmployerRequirementsHealthcare Benefits are the 2nd costliest line item for companies in the U.S. So, companies are taking aggressive steps to reduce this spend. Consider this:

  • IBM is moving to a private health exchange…Extend Health private exchange will be handling plan options for 110,000 IBM retirees
  • Walgreens is moving employees to a Corporate Health Exchange. Of the 180,000 Walgreen employees eligible for healthcare insurance, 120,000 opted for coverage for themselves and 40,000 family members. Another 60,000 employees, many of them working part-time, were not eligible for health insurance.
  • Trader Joe’s  — decided to send some employees to the new public exchanges. Trader Joe’s has left coverage for three-quarters of its work force untouched but is giving part-time workers a contribution of $500 to buy policies. Because of the employees’ low incomes, the company says it believes many will be eligible for federal subsidies to help them afford coverage.

For the past year I have done strategy and implementation work in the employee Healthcare benefits and Private Exchange area.  I wanted to share my insights into the massive structural changes taking place in health insurance. The move to patient-centered, consumer-driven, and value-based models is real.

This posting has been updated and posted on



Fan Engagement and Wearables: Disney MyMagic+

MagicBandA satisfying experience is the driver of any business’s revenue growth. Disney Theme Parks is no exception. Disney is executing a guest (and fan) personalization strategy leveraging wearables (and analytics) to track, measure and improve the overall park experience. The goal is increase sales, return visits, word of mouth recommendations, loyalty and brand engagement across channels, activities, and time.

Wearables are the next big thing.  The new crop of gadgets — mostly worn on the wrist or as eyewear — will become a “fifth screen,” after TVs, PCs, smartphones, and tablets.

Wearables are already being used to monitoring vital signs, wellness and health. Devices like Fitbit, UP, Fuelband, Gear2 track activity, sleep quality, steps taken during the day. Consumers of all sorts — fitness buffs, dieters, and the elderly — have come to rely on them to capture and aggregate biometric data.

What most people don’t understand is how powerful wearables (coupled with  analytics) can be in designing new user experiences.  Businesses thrive when they engage customers by creating a longitudinal predictive view of each customer’s behavior. To understand the wearables use cases and potential we did a deep dive into a real-world application at Disney Theme Parks.

Wearable Computing at Disney: MyMagic+

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