Using Data in Realtime: an Interview with Alex Miller, QVC

Entering HyperspaceLucky are those who do not need to convince their business’s leadership of the value of using big data strategies to shape relationships with the customer within and across digital platforms. In 1986, the shopping channel QVC began broadcasting—in essence, operating in real-time. As Alex explains,

If you’ve ever gone backstage behind QVC and you’ve watched the live show from the producer’s desk, you understand you are in data Nirvana. It’s flowing data on three or four different screens; they are helping us understand: What is the customer really thinking right now? What are they interested in? What they like, what they don’t like? As a company, we’ve always been awash in data.

In taking the next step from analytics to the possibilities the big data era offers businesses, even organizations that value data-driven stories to improve customer relationships will have kinks to smooth out. The biggest challenge Alex identifies is how to balance the ways of using enormous amounts of data while continuing to place a high value on twenty-seven years of institutional knowledge. At times, it comes down to “letting the data tell you what it is really trying to tell you and not trying to shape the data to tell you what you want to hear.”

Listen to Alex talk about testing and experimentation as a data-driven company negotiates becoming more data-driven.

photo by: Éole