Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 35 Number 2 2018 pp. 540-574

Advanced Customer Analytics: Strategic Value Through Integration of Relationship-Oriented Big Data

Kitchens, Brent, Dobolyi, David, Li, Jingjing, and Abbasi, Ahmed


As more firms adopt big data analytics to better understand their customers and differentiate their offerings from competitors, it becomes increasingly difficult to generate strategic value from isolated and unfocused ad hoc initiatives. To attain sustainable competitive advantage from big data, firms must achieve agility in combining rich data across the organization to deploy analytics that sense and respond to customers in a dynamic environment. A key challenge in achieving this agility lies in the identification, collection, and integration of data across functional silos both within and outside the organization. Because it is infeasible to systematically integrate all available data, managers need guidance in finding which data can provide valuable and actionable insights about customers. Leveraging relationship marketing theory, we develop a framework for identifying and evaluating various sources of big data in order to create a value-justified data infrastructure that enables focused and agile deployment of advanced customer analytics. Such analytics move beyond siloed transactional customer analytics approaches of the past and incorporate a variety of rich, relationship-oriented constructs to provide actionable and valuable insights. We develop a customized kernel-based learning method to take advantage of these rich constructs and instantiate the framework in a novel prototype system that accurately predicts a variety of customer behaviors in a challenging environment, demonstrating the framework’s ability to drive significant value.

Key words and phrases: big data, customer acquisition, customer analytics, customer expansion, data integration, data management, design science, IT strategic value, relationship marketing, customer retention