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October 28, 2011

HP Pilot Analytics Project Looks Inward

Datanami Staff

HP Labs in conjunction with the company’s Global Intelligence division recently completed a pilot project that sought to combine different data types to connect insights gleaned from social media and actual sales and other product-specific data.

This project took an inward look at HP’s own products—specifically, its printers. The company claims to have taken a large number of unstructured data sets, including those from customer reviews posted around the web (on social media and forums) and mashed them together with support tickets from customers, sales figures and demographic data.

They were able to connect customer complaints from various social and review sites on the web to internal data that reflected, for instance, a corresponding uptick in support tickets about a particular feature to social media and review data that reflected similar sentiments.

HP says that the experiment in combining these data led to a 90% correlation rate between complaints and support tickets as well as across other areas HP targeted for the pilot. Furthermore, they were able to directly connect actual sales to the indicators from social media and website reviews.

This kind of big data analytics for big companies could yield some insights about the health of a product but on a more focused level, could also allow businesses to reassess the division of support, sales and other internal operations around predicted increases in specific subsets of the business. For instance, if the analytics exercises reveal that customers across social media are saying that a product is too difficult to install, this data can be used to regroup the support team to preemptively address this in larger numbers—and to allow them “advance notice” about a need for revamping customer materials and other elements.

According to Prasanna Dhore, who is VP for HP’s Customer Intelligence division, “Similarly, HP can apply the same type of analysis to competitive products, so if one that consumers are comparing HP’s offering against has dramatically better print quality, the company can investigate to see what that competitor is doing right”

While stressing the phrase “pilot project” in their discussion about the analytics experiment, HP might be leading up to an announcement in the near future that combines these efforts with the fruits of their Autonomy purchase this year. In many ways, the kind of rich “big data” textual analytics benefits from Autonomy would translate well into the same type of analytics offering.

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