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October 30, 2015

Talend CMO bets on real-time data “game changer”

CMO briefing: Ashley Stirrup, CMO, Talend spoke to CBR about betting on Hadoop, Spark and real-time data.

By James Nunns

Real-time data is a "game changer" that gives businesses the ability to actively influence customer buying behaviour.

Stirrup, said: "More and more companies are realising that it’s a game changer to move to real-time. It’s one thing to be able to say "customer A" likes Converse, "customer B" likes Nike, so now I know how to tailor my future campaign.

"It’s another when they’re on the website, expressing interest in a particular item to be able to influence that customer in real time."

Despite its growing popularity, real-time data processing and analytics tools are far from ubiquitous. The technology is still complex and requires a strong IT team.

"Adoption to date has been limited by the size and sophistication of a company’s IT team," said Stirrup. "That is why built the industry’s first data integration platform built on Apache Spark, to make this development far easier and available to almost any company."

He went on to say that the company has interest from many customers, especially from marketing departments that are trying to better target and interact with customers.

Eventually he expects real-time data decision making to become automated, something that could be impacted by trust issues. After all, businesses are still coming to terms with trusting the cloud, let alone having an automated system making solo decisions.

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Stirrup sees an opportunity to build apps that will make the process easier, cleaning the data and applying machine learning to drive better customer interaction.

The company highlighted the benefits of real-time offers in a study regarding the impact of timely discounts on shoppers.

With 40% of online shoppers in the UK abandoning their shopping carts 50% of the time before they complete a purchase, this represents hundreds of billions in merchandise and a loss of potential revenue.

The delivery of timely offers has the potential to recover a huge piece of this revenue.

This can be done by understanding the customer so that relevant offers can be made before the shopping cart is abandoned.

While Talend recently released its integration platform that offers native support for Apache Spark and Spark Streaming, its prior focus had been on Hadoop.

"We look at Spark as a great engine, today our bet is on Spark running on Hadoop. Over time we will also support Spark running as a standalone engine."

The company sees Spark as augmenting Hadoop, rather than replacing it.

While Spark is one area of the Big Data market that is growing, another area that customers are increasingly interested in is self service.

Speaking to customers on the IT side, Stirrup said there is an interest in tools that empower the business and gets IT out of the way.

He said: "It gets them (IT) out of the business of doing low complexity, low value added work. Why not let the business do that on their own, while IT solves harder problems?"

With this in mind the company is looking to release a product that will allow a business person to access a data set, it will then help them understand what it is they need to do in order to package data well for analytics.

This will be done through a guided visual process and is something that the company is moving to with its cloud offering as well.


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