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Thought Leaders in Big Data: Frank Bien, CEO of Looker (Part 2)

Posted on Thursday, Nov 27th 2014

Frank Bien: We’ve found that organizations have now stored lots of data, but trying to layer on the traditional BI tools hasn’t really worked. I think as we look across our customers, that’s a constant theme.

A great customer story would be one of our earlier customers like HotelTonight who are doing same day hotel bookings. They’re really disrupting the hotel booking industry in a big way. The way they have to do that is oriented towards data—understanding how customers are traveling and where inventory will be required. In a place like HotelTonight, getting departmental views was not good enough. What they had to do was have information across the entire organization and that information had to be very reliable.

When we talked to HotelTonight they said, “We want to be data-driven, but we can’t because every way that we’re looking at something, like value of a customer, it’s different.” In each workbook or Excel spreadsheet, everyone is represented in the core matrix differently. That doesn’t work when you try to make decisions on data. There was a deployment of Looker across all organizations in HotelTonight. A big insight that came out pretty quickly was this notion of referral marketing.

We had worked with their data team to represent some new elements of selling when people use the service to book a hotel. I think it was a manager in New York who wanted the metrics of how many times people are using the service and how many hotels are being booked? In Looker, everything is web-based and other people in the organization can share and collaborate on that. There was an e-mail that said, “Hey, you should look at this behavior for bookings in New York.” The referral marketing people saw that. The people of New York didn’t even know the referral marketing people were interested in this particular view. They took that and they combined it with some referral marketing information.

What they saw was if you could just think of a simple chart that looks at the people who are using the service booking and people who are referring new customers. You then put those together and see if there’s any correlation. It was really interesting.

This segment is part 2 in the series : Thought Leaders in Big Data: Frank Bien, CEO of Looker
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