Peter Drucker, the influential professor, writer, and management consultant once famously observed about corporations’ use of data: “what gets measured, gets managed.” Recent history has seen an unbounded increase in the amount of available data and the maturity of commoditized data analytics tools. In turn, companies are using these developments to make more data-driven decisions that improve efficiency and optimize marketing efforts
A partnership between IBM and Twitter announced this week illustrates this trend. IBM has developed a set of cloud-based tools for analyzing Twitter data in combination with other data such as weather forecasts, sales information and product inventory. By identifying correlations in these disparate data sets, IBM will unlock insights that were previously unseen and impossible to derive.
The use cases for this type of offering are endless. Cable and wireless network providers may use weather data, tweets, and subscription cancellation data to isolate the factors that contribute to customer churn. Fashion retailers may aggregate weather data and tweets to devise an inventory strategy that accounts for geographic variation in tastes for certain seasonal clothing items. IBM will market these insights on the promise that they will yield a material amount of increased revenue or decreased costs for their customers.
The power of data analytics is useless, however, without good data. For weather specifically, observations of the ‘ingredients’ of weather – temperature, pressure, and humidity – are key inputs for weather forecasting. That you can view tomorrow morning’s weather on your smartphone indicates that current weather data is at least serviceable, yet in a world of data-driven business decisions, more observations are critical.
The fusion of disparate data sets is providing businesses with new, high-value inputs into decisions spanning marketing, sales, and operations. Across all industries, weather is a significant determinant of these business outcomes – and the more data companies have on the weather, the more equipped they will be to handle it.