Many companies strive to make use of Big Data to learn more about their customers’ behaviors and to identify and respond to market shifts. But as business activity accelerates at lightning speed, C-level executives and line of business leaders require access to real-time insights on business and operational conditions.

Increasingly, many enterprises are moving beyond the use of Big Data and have begun adopting so-called Fast Data technologies that allow decision-makers to access and analyze in-the-moment data about customers, market, and operating conditions at critical moments when access to such information is vital.

Fraud detection is a great example of using Fast Data when response time is of the utmost importance. Suppose a cyber attack is being launched against a company’s network. Using conventional technologies, it might take days or even weeks to identify the incident and the potential source and then develop an appropriate response. However, if a security analyst had the means to spot an attack as it’s occurring, senior management could be immediately notified and then take corrective action to mitigate any damage.

Fast Data tools can also enable marketers and other customer-facing employees to provide real-time and relevant responses to customers based on their current behaviors or sentiment. This can include behavioral insights and intent that can be detected when a customer is visiting a company’s product page. Or based on keywords used by a high-value customer that signal that she is planning to cancel her service with a company due to dissatisfaction with support or pricing.

This type of in-the-moment information can be immediately analyzed against the customer’s transaction and product history to generate an offer that can be extended by a customer service agent that’s calculated to retain the customer and prevent a loss of business.

There are a few different ways that the CIO can serve as a change agent in promoting the use – and benefits – of Fast Data. For starters, the CIO can educate senior management about how Fast Data is different than Big Data and how it can be used to create personal and contextual opportunities with customers. In other words, Fast Data represents an opportunity for the company to differentiate itself with its customers. That’s significant, considering that 89% of decision-makers surveyed by Gartner believe that customer experience will serve as the primary basis for competition by 2016.

Meanwhile, developing deeper insights about customers’ needs and preferences can also help companies to create new revenue sources. For instance, a maker of MRI or X-Ray machines can identify an opportunity to provide hospitals and clinics with diagnostic imaging services.

As Timothy Kasbe, Chief Operating Officer at Gloria Jeans points out in an HMG Strategy blog post, “Combining data and algorithms allows you to create new products and offer new services very quickly, based on real consumer trends.”

The typical CIO spends 75% to 80% of his or her time on run-the-business activities, leaving previous time for more strategic initiatives. Fast Data represents the type of opportunity that can clearly demonstrate the value that a CIO can bring to the table.

Key Takeaways

  • Fast Data technologies allow decision-makers to access and analyze in-the-moment data about customers, market, and operating conditions at critical moments when access to such information is imperative.
  • There are numerous use cases for Fast Data, including spur-of-the-moment opportunities with customers and instantaneous fraud detection.