Delegates from Bytes Universal Systems and several of its key clients recently attended the Teradata Partner Conference in Dallas, Texas.
The growing importance of big data was one of the key trends at the conference, which was attended by 4 500 delegates. Keynote speakers included best-selling author, Daniel Pink and extreme adventurer, Jamie Clarke.

“It was clear that big data is rapidly moving from being a subject for discussion to a key lever for competitive differentiation,” says Hendrik Blignaut, Enterprise Intelligence Solutions Teradata executive at Bytes Universal Systems, the sole local distributor of Teradata’s products in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to Blignaut, leading global companies are starting to implement capabilities that allow them to leverage the increasingly massive flows of structured and unstructured data to gain a march on competitors. In industry, the use of sensors in buildings, on mines and in plants is giving companies powerful information that enables them to improve operational efficiency, thus saving money while enhancing performance.

“The other big role for big data is in taking customer segmentation to a new level, and so enabling companies to provide a much more focused customer experience,” says Blignaut.

“Using data from social media allows one, for example, to identify customers who are influential – a richer perspective that one would obtain than by just considering the size of that person’s spend.”

In the end, says Blignaut, the real benefit of big data will be to enable a step change that will enable companies to leapfrog competitors, redefine markets and enter new ones.

The second big trend evident at the conference was the emergence of integrated marketing management. This trend is borne out by research showing that the chief marketing officer is likely to outspend the CIO on technology within a few years, indicating the rapid emergence of digital marketing initiatives.

These are in part being driven by the move of customers online, and their demand for multi-channel interaction with service providers. For companies, however, the proliferation of marketing channels will only be effective if marketers take a strategic view, and use one platform to manage all marketing applications across the enterprise.

“We are definitely starting to see this type of thinking emerge here in the local market as well,” Blignaut comments.

“The other huge benefit of integrated marketing management is obtaining a single view of the customer, and the ability to manage customers intelligently. It will also help to make marketing costs both visible and manageable, helping marketers to solve their longstanding challenge with understanding which initiatives actually generate results.”

Blignaut says that the conference also presented the client teams with a unique opportunity to network with peers globally and to build valued relationships.

“For the executives of a South African bank to have the opportunity of talking with his or her peers from other global banks is a hugely valuable experience, and an opportunity to swop solutions and lessons learned,” he says.

“After the conference, one of the South African clients who attended remarked that it had been the most valuable event they had ever been to.”