Big data represents a disruptive force to the way the world does business. Think of this – a company’s ability to plan for the future used to be limited to analyzing past trends. Though somewhat useful, that approach is like relying on the Farmer’s Almanac because the past is never a completely accurate indicator of what will happen in the future. Today, with big data, organizations can harness all their data, both inside and outside the enterprise, to enable smarter, more precise action and planning than ever before. The impact can be huge for revenues, customer satisfaction and brand awareness.

Consider the example of Morton’s The Steakhouse -- and the social media stunt “heard around the world.” When a customer jokingly tweeted the Chicago-based steakhouse chain and requested that dinner be sent to the Newark airport, where he would be getting in late after a long day of work, Morton’s went to work analyzing. They discovered the Tweeter was a frequent customer (and frequent Tweeter), pulled data on what he typically ordered, figured out which flight he was on and then sent a tuxedo-clad delivery person to serve him his dinner. Sure, the whole thing was a publicity stunt (that went viral), but it worked. With just a snippet of data and a little analysis and correlation, Morton’s successfully drove a major brand awareness coup. What if more companies could be capable of something like this?

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