How 10 industries are using big data to win big

By | 4 minute read | July 28, 2016

Two and a half quintillion bytes or 2,500,000,000,000,000,000 bytes. That’s how much data humanity generates every single day. And the amount is increasing; we’ve created 90% of the world’s data in the last two years alone.

It should come as no surprise, then, that businesses today are drowning in data. That’s because much of that data is unstructured; it takes the form of documents, social media content and other qualitative information that doesn’t reside in conventional databases and is can’t be parsed by traditional algorithms or machine analysis.

But, thanks to new cognitive computing services, that’s changing fast.

New Tools, New Insights

Cognitive services not only cut through the deluge of data, but also bring meaning to it through human-like understanding of natural language queries. They’re helping businesses across a broad range of industries respond to the needs of their customers like never before, driving increased revenue while reducing costs.

Data is Transforming Industries

The industries boosting bottom lines and setting new standards for customer service include telecommunications, manufacturing, fitness, retail, insurance, banking, finance, government, healthcare and the travel industry.

Here’s an overview of how these industries are making all of their data work for them:

1. Telecommunications

A major telecommunications service provider uses cognitive services to index thousands of documents, images and manuals in mere minutes, in order to help 40,000 call center agents solve customer issues more effectively. The company realizes a savings of $1 for every second shaved off the average handling time per call—or $1 million a year.

2. Manufacturing

A specialty sports manufacturer was challenged to fine-tune production in order to eliminate inventory overruns and create better products while saving money. Now, thanks to newly accessible data, the company produces 900 different kinds of skis to match customer personality, preference, and snow conditions—giving customers exactly what they want and meeting the company’s goals for lower inventory and expenses.

3. Retail

Data-driven, personalized customer experiences enabled by cognitive technology are helping a major clothing retailer not only provide outstanding service, but also drive revenue at more than 225 stores. To design a better in-store experience, the company uses sensor and Wi-Fi data to track who comes in, what aisles they visit and for how long. The company also analyzes social media data from millions of followers to improve marketing and product design.

4. Fitness

Cognitive services aren’t just for customer service agents and manufacturers; they can directly serve customers, too. A sports apparel and connected fitness company uses data to power the world’s first cognitive fitness coaching mobile app. The app collects data on users’ workouts, calories burned and more in order to act as a “virtual coach” to help them meet their health goals.

5. Insurance

An international insurance company uses cognitive services to reduce the time needed to process complex claims from two days to just 10 minutes. The company is also using data to identify and eliminate hundreds of millions of dollars in fraud and leakage. The result: a more customer-centric and profitable company.

6. Banking

A consumer banking chain in New Zealand is using data collected and analyzed by cognitive computing to more than double customer engagement online—from 40% to 92%, with a 30% increase in online banking. With a view into customer sentiment as well as data on revenue generation per product held, agents can provide more personalized customer service. Customers can log on to mobile devices to perform more than 120 functions, including applying for a mortgage. As a result, mobile usage is up 45%.

7. Finance

Cognitive technology is empowering the financing arm of a major auto manufacturer to develop insights about more than four million individual customers in seconds. The system combines unstructured content and conventional data from internal and public sources, then displays all meaningful information based on a the user’s job description. Agents can thus provide customers with more comprehensive information faster, and the company can maintain data security.

8. Government

A U.S. state government is using data to enhance the services delivered to millions of its citizens. Cognitive services enable citizens to quickly and easily search hundreds of thousands of documents, including important new insurance requirements. This allowed the state to achieve its goal of helping citizen navigate more than 1 million pages, while saving tens of thousands of dollars in upgrade costs.

9. Healthcare

A large healthcare company is using data and cognitive computing to extract key insights from unstructured patient medical history—including physician notes and dictation—covering 1.35 million annual outpatient visits, 68,000 hospital admissions and 265,000 emergency room visits. The trends, patterns and other important information captured from this data help clinicians identify patients at risk for chronic disease, critical to both improving treatment and reducing readmission.

10. Travel

An international airline has found a way to use cognitive services to significantly enhance the customer experience. Flight crews now use mobile devices to access customer data, including allergies, food and seat preferences and previous travel history to offer truly personalized service. To show its customers that it values their information, the airline has launched a first-of-its-kind customer insights program that rewards those who share data by offering them airline miles.

A Vital Competitive Advantage

As the data deluge grows day by day, it presents greater opportunities for companies to drive more personalized and customer-centered service while boosting revenue and efficiency. But these actionable insights will only be available to companies that leverage advanced data analytics and cognitive computing to collect and parse unstructured data. Those who fail to take advantage of cognitive services risk getting left behind.

To learn more about trends in data and cognitive computing download IBM’s Evolution of Enterprise Search Webinar series.