Where are the Crystal Balls in Business?


Here’s an interesting trend for you: “Data Scientist” was deemed “The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century” by Harvard Business Review. What have data scientists been tasked with? Mining a company’s existing data, then flipping, pivoting, and dissecting it to present actionable, “crystal ball” recommendations – predictions that will improve the chances of a company’s success.

The micro-genre generator

Take Netflix’s approach to consumer viewing habits. While retailers like Amazon are adept at understanding purchasing behavior and recommending products to increase the likelihood of add-on sales, Netflix blew up the recommendation-based model to go “Beyond the 5 Stars.” Narrowing in on patterns and tags in their own data, they created nearly 80,000 micro-genres that adapt to viewers’ tastes and patterns — who wouldn’t enjoy a Goofy Foreign Mistaken-Identity film?

That depth of personalization, along with a gallery of original content, is leaving Netflix subscribers with a you-know-me-so-well feeling; it also makes it harder for customers to opt out. Other streaming services are jumping on the original content trend, but Netflix is dominating in the race — all thanks to smart data.

A lesson in clairvoyance

Besides using data-driven predictions to increase customer loyalty, data trends can also steer companies away from trouble. Much like a fortune teller may predict dark forces in your future; GM is using data to prevent service issues before they happen.

After a record number of recalls affecting 27 million vehicles in 2014 and costing GM more than $4 billion,GM needed a different approach. The US manufacturer now has more than 1,000 employees analyzing a trove of data to identify the need for narrow recalls.

The GM data heads have trained their ears on conversations in social media, blogs, and forums; trends in dealership data and National Highway Transport Safety Administration filings; and data taken from in-car monitoring technologies. An early detection system of sorts, the recalls may head off larger issues for vehicles down the road.

There’s not an owner’s manual for data. According to Gartner research, 85 percent of Fortune 500 organizations “will be unable to exploit big data for competitive advantage.” The other 15 percent? Probably strategizing, scrutinizing, and creating new business models to take advantage of smarter ways to use data to predict – and control – their future. Lytx is part of that 15 percent. We know that every mile driven by your fleet generates data that can help predict and control the future and safety of your drivers.



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