Companies everywhere have recognised the critical role Big Data can play in improving their business. However, organisations have also discovered that unlocking the value inherent in the data is not always easy. It’s often challenging to generate insights from the vast amount of rich data a company collects and to use those insights to positively influence company performance. Succeeding in capturing these insights is critical and can be a key to enabling “innovation at the edge” of an organisation, taking advantage of the cloud, analytics, social and mobility to expand core systems. Essentially, bringing more value from existing systems to employees, customers and partners.
A Global Communications Software Provider wanted to be able to take advantage of new insights from its volumes of data and open up its ability to innovate. The company was looking for a solution to help it accomplish this objective by bringing together cloud, big data and analytics.
Avanade had previously worked with the company to provide business process change, project delivery and finance support services. It now turned to us to help address two specific issues: reduce costs and improve customer service and insights.
Avanade was asked to align the company’s operations dashboards to its business strategy and provide visibility into the metrics several layers deep. To accomplish this, Avanade replaced the company’s existing data analytics tools and PowerPivot/Excel toolsets. The new solution is delivering a high volume of data to a broad user base using Microsoft Office 365.
The system leverages a number of technologies, including Microsoft SQL Server 2012, Hadoop connectors, Hadoop clusters, Microsoft Azure data storage for the Customer Insight & Actions solution and specific SQL Server 2012 features for the Travel & Expenses solution. Avanade leveraged the cloud with Office 365, as well as PowerPivot and PowerView connecting Excel Services and SharePoint, to provide a centralised set of reports and visualisations with deep drill-down capabilities and the user-friendly feel of Excel.
The Company has realised results from both the Customer Insights and Actions and Travel and Expenses solutions. These include identifying mistaken expenses that cost the organisation money and developing new customer offerings based on usage and various customer feedback sources.
The depth of insight that is now available enables the communications company to strategically guide the business and identify new views that help it to better understand its customers. For example, understanding the percentage of usage on certain platforms can directly affect support decisions totaling millions of dollars over a year. Developing offerings better tailored to customer needs can see uplifts of over 100% to business results in terms of sales and customer satisfaction. The company can now leverage new information about its customers from social data streams, call records and web logs. This data enables it to better forecast, pattern and predict usage, and support and enhance customer experiences and revenue opportunities.