Reducing time-to-delivery of customer analytics from 26 hours to 10 seconds

Re-designing and embedding customer analytics in a modern data appliance

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Corios recently helped a client transform their customer analytics database from a virtually unusable resource into one that is agile, responsive and fast, making it a highly valuable asset for the business to drive more effective and profitable campaigns.

Challenge

Our client had developed a large customer database containing more than 10 million active credit card accounts and billions of records of detailed transactions. The database platform included specialized functions for customer analytics, including customer value calculation and opportunity identification. However, using these analytics functions to design and execute marketing campaigns took more than a day to run. This is because the customer analytics literally required an average 26 hour run time each time they needed to refresh the database or add a new group of customer records. The database platform wasn’t optimally designed or executed, and required movement of data to multiple places, rather than only leverage their data appliance.

As a result, this condition made the customer analytics platform virtually unusable by the marketing analytics team, and this potentially valuable asset sat mostly idle. When we started working with our client, this platform was composed as a hybrid of a legacy database and a set of sophisticated analytics functions that ran as separate and distinct processes. The client and Corios team agreed this was the source of the challenge. The client had the opportunity to move this entire process into a modern data appliance, but lacked the capabilities and knowledge to do so without advisory, design and build assistance.

We also uncovered that the business had an incomplete view of the customer relationship over time. Specifically, when a customer needed a new credit card, the issuance of a new card was  treated in the database like two customers, instead of one customer. This meant that the business missed out on an accurate view of the customer as one who would exhibit a consistent purchasing and payment profile over time. Furthermore, if the customer started to change their purchasing and payment profile, this would be much harder to detect, since the customer record had been truncated arbitrarily.

A final source of the challenge was the enterprise’s customer information security policies, such as PCI-DSS, placed important safeguards over this information. The implication was that redesigning the analytics functions to stop moving customer data outside of the data appliance was a highly attractive design pattern.

Solution

Corios redesigned the customer data platform to embed all the analytic functions inside a distributed data appliance that was already supporting the enterprise data warehouse. Working collaboratively with the business and the enterprise data team, Corios consolidated all the analytics functions directly in the data appliance as a small series of highly-specialized analytic processes. This wasn’t easy, but it was highly effective in reducing computational load and run times by a dramatic margin.

Corios also designed and implemented a solution to align customer identities across multiple cards, so that even when a customer was issued a new card, the longitudinal link back to the same customer’s transaction history was maintained. This strengthened the value of the analytics based on transaction patterns such as purchases and payments.

Corios re-factored the legacy analytics code so that it ran on a single data appliance platform, leveraging the computational scale of the data appliance and the significant investment by the business in that physical asset.

Finally, Corios helped ensure that the redesigned process met all corporate security needs, including encryption and tokenization of customer identities.

Results

Through Corios’ redesign and the collaborative delivery work to implement this solution in production, we converted the 26-hour customer analytics process into one that runs in 10 seconds.

This opens up opportunities for our clients’ marketing analysts to use the power of customer value over the entire lifecycle of the customer to identify opportunities for new campaigns.

This will also revolutionize the role of analytics inside the business, so that it’s available to marketing analysts as rapidly as they come up with new ideas to meet unserved needs of their customers, with refreshed data and a more accurate view of the customer relationship.

A subtle yet strategic benefit of this client engagement is that Corios also helped forge a new understanding about customer analytics on a shared data platform between the marketing analysts and the tech database analysts. By putting the customer analytics database on the same enterprise platform as the EDW, the business gained an internal partnership with their technology colleagues, and got to move out of the business of data maintenance and squarely into the business of customer behavior analytics and campaign strategy.

Repeatability

This client success story was a great example of how a large number of small innovations spanning technology, processes and people can produce really significant and strategic results.

Through Corios’ Tempo solution, this isn’t a one-of-a-kind solution. Sure, turning a 26-hour process into one that runs in 10 seconds is pretty dramatic. But we’ve delivered similar results for other clients on multiple occasions. You can read more Corios case studies here and here. If you’d like to explore how Corios can help you with similar challenges, give us a call.


Robin Way

Robin Way

The Founder and President of Corios, Robin’s professional passion lies in democratizing and demystifying the science of applied analytics. An established thought leader fueled with 30 years’ experience in the design, development, execution and improvement of applied analytics models, Robin welcomes every opportunity to move the analytics conversation forward.

Connect with him on LinkedIn , or reach out to Corios to get in touch.