Wibidata, a big data application provider, has a new platform for building real-time apps that shows the increasing accessibility of machine learning and how e-commerce companies can provide an experience similar to a giant like Amazon.com.
The new WibiEnterprise 3.0 platform allows a company to power a site with advanced analytics that fine-tunes itself, providing better recommendations and other features over time, including more relevant search results and personalized content.
The platform is designed for the customer who is beginning to use data science, said Omer Trajman, vice president of field operations at Wibidata. “They are not classically trained but they have an analytics background. They have been doing marketing analytics. The mechanics are similar, what has changed is the availability of data.”
WibiEnterprise 3.0 is built on an open source framework called Kiji, which provides a common platform for building applications that leverage large data sets.
At its core, Wibidata is offering a platform that takes into consideration the fact that companies often have just a few seconds to engage their customers. People use all sorts of personal devices and can turn to a competitor with just a few clicks. But with all this data, companies also have an opportunity to learn about their customers by analyzing their digital interactions. Doing that means building a storage system that provides a 360-degree view of the customer.
Like Google and Amazon, Wibidata’s Kijii framework uses a central storage system that allows a customer to collect user interactions across all of its applications, searches, purchases, likes, clicks and requests for product information. It’s what is called an “entity-centric storage system,” which essentially pools all the data so a company with sophisticated apps and services can do real-time queries and act on a customer’s recent information to deliver content personalization, relevant search results and recommendations.
Wibidata’s approach is in contrast to traditional data warehouse systems that manage data in a much different way. In the context of e-commerce, these older systems store transactional information such as likely purchases, or shopping cart manipulations in a central fact table. For a retail bank, this data might include credits and deductions from accounts. SKU information or geographic location data are stored in dimension tables to provide a detailed view of the transaction.
There are two problems with the approach, Wibidata argues. It can get expensive and it centers around the transaction instead of the user that is generating those transactions. Furthermore, it gets even more complex when using historical data, which has to get extracted from other systems, cleansed and then integrated with the current transaction data.
Companies using WibiEnterprise 3.0 include a top 10 retailer which has integrated it with its website to create relevant, contextual shopping recommendations during the online sales process. An international retail bank is also using WibiEnterprise 3.0 technology to combine multiple customer data sources and apply in-house debt models to better detect fraud and credit risks. Opower uses WibiEnterprise 3.0 to deliver personalized reports to utility provider customers explaining how to reduce energy usage and save money. And one of the largest SaaS providers uses WibiEnterprise 3.0 to help their customers identify prospective customers.
Wibidata is a powerful platform but it also reflects the complexity that comes with managing data across so many different devices. There is an infinite data supply but the technology needed to use it means a new way of organization that cuts across the way a company treats its own historical investments. There are the added cultural hurdles that come with a change in business approach that is more customer, than transaction-focused.
These sets of challenges also impact new startups like Wibidata, which are advocating disruptive approaches that put them in direct competition with companies like Oracle and established SaaS providers like Baynote.
There is no doubt that it is getting easier to have the same capabilities as a company like Amazon.com. But the challenges come with the will of the customer and the ability of a company like Wibidata to keep ahead of the competition.
(Feature image courtesy of Trevor on Flickr via a Creative Commons License)