As the world is increasingly becoming digitally connected and consumers generate quintillion bytes a day through their online behaviors, marketers now seek a holistic view of the customer journey for better engagement. The challenge is for marketers to access, analyze and activate this data using traditional RDBMS (relational database management systems). To overcome modern inconsistent and evolving data challenges, NoSQL database technologies represent innovative ways for marketers to unlock data and design more creative omnichannel customer journeys.
A recent McKinsey study found that 42 percent of Americans use the internet frequently each day and 21 percent report being online “almost constantly”- an activity creating a rich data trail and leading the development of “big data” – wherein online behaviors such as web search, clicks, transactions and duration become fodder for understanding customer needs and intentions. To manage this complexity, volume and variety of data generated by digital interactions, NoSQL databases are a next logical step in making systems agile and scalable; handling the increasing volume; and providing high-performance analysis and activation for real-time interactions with digital-savvy customers.
What are NoSQL databases and document databases?
NoSQL stands for “Not only SQL”, and encompasses a variety of different database technologies that were developed in response to the demands presented in building modern applications. Under this NoSQL umbrella, we have document databases that are designed to store and manage data as documents such as JSON/XML. MongoDB and Cosmos DB are two of the major providers in a market that is growing exponentially with the data influx from online and mobile applications. As per one estimate, the global NoSQL market is expected to grow to $4.2 billion by 2020, registering a compound annual growth rate of 35.1% during the forecast period 2014-2020.
What are the business benefits for marketers?
As firms have already established processes and systems using relational data systems, it makes business sense to add NoSQL database systems to fill in the gaps presented by these relational databases and provide business benefits to firms facing inconsistent modern data challenges (by type, volume) and also looking adapt to the omnichannel customer journey. NoSQL and document databases can provide the following benefits to marketers:
Flexibility: To handle their customers’ data in the face of rapid digital adoption, social interactions and omnichannel shopping, businesses now need to manage data at volume, in any format, with many different customer attributes. And they need to aggregate, cleans, and analyze this data with a goal of acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones for better conversions and customer lifetime value enhancements. The schema-free NoSQL database accommodates different and rapidly changing structured and unstructured data, while still providing the performance and scalability needed for real-time interactions.
Cost savings: Unlike high-cost and high-maintenance RDBMS servers, NoSQL databases can be spread across low-cost commodity and cloud systems with low latency and efficiency in data retrieval.
Business growth and status analysis: With agility as the intrinsic feature of NoSQL databases, firms can now leverage the data views created real-time by pulling in data from disparate sources and different business units to extend their business information across other business areas for further growth.
By supporting structured and unstructured data for unifying customer profiles and purchase histories to enable omnichannel and personalized experiences, a NoSQL database not only complements traditional RDBMS within current business ecosystems but also provides high value. The NoSQL database boasts flexibility for disparate data, scalability to manage large volumes of data, and high performance. It’s an ideal offering database for marketers who face challenges orchestrating seamless, integrated and consistent user experiences.
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