When Chewing on Big Data, Take Small Bites First

The difficulty of exploiting big data.

March 12, 2013
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Many marketing researchers gloss over articles with “Big Data” in the headlines because the resources necessary to exploit Big Data are just too…big.

But the concept should encourage credit unions to think about the other data sets to which they have access and how to leverage them, say David Cooper and J. Paul Leavell in their report, “The Real Question is How Little is Little.”
Cooper is vice president of information systems for $287 million asset Charlotte (N.C.) Metro Federal Credit Union; Leavell is the credit union’s senior marketing analyst.
Big Data describes large volumes of high-velocity, complex, and variable data that are difficult if not impossible to manage and analyze within the existing frameworks of most companies.
Big Data can translate into a big payoff, but even companies with abundant resources should start by examining “Little Data”—information that can be captured and analyzed right away.
There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit here, Cooper and Leavell say.
If your credit union tracks automated clearinghouse (ACH) payees, for example, can you find insurance payees and leverage them to crosssell insurance products to members you know are using another firm?
Once you’ve capitalized on those opportunities, turn your attention toward “Middle Data”—information an organization collects but is not in a position to analyze, or would be able to analyze if it were available.
Consider that a credit union tracks debit, credit, and ACH transactions, including the amount and payee of each, but it doesn’t have the resources to put that information to use.
But if you knew which members had recent inquiries on their credit reports, staff could reach out to them for loan offers.
In weighing the return on investment for data projects, keep in mind that even moderate efforts can create efficiencies. Emphasizing these concepts can allow for more robust service to members and generate revenue streams in novel ways.

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