Data analysis key to business success says Capellas

Businesses that analyse their customer data efficiently can lower risk and fraud and boost their marketing and sales, said Michael Capellas, CEO of electronic transactions processor First Data.

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Businesses that analyse their customer data efficiently can lower risk and fraud and boost their marketing and sales, said Michael Capellas, CEO of electronic transactions processor First Data.

"Data is the new currency," said Capellas, former CEO of Compaq and MCI, during a keynote speech at Accenture's Global Convergence Forum on 7 April in Miami Beach.

By crunching, slicing and dicing data from point-of-sale systems, mobile transactions and electronic payments, companies can identify detailed consumer behaviour patterns.

This in turn allows companies to do fine-tuned, targeted marketing and sharpen their ability to prevent fraud during a transaction in real time, instead of after the fact, Capellas said.

As examples, he cited several First Data customers, including Wal-Mart and Starbucks. Wal-Mart uses a service from First Data's TeleCheck division that generates an instant credit score of customers paying with a check based on their previous payment attempts.

If the customer has issued bad checks, the cashier knows and can reject the payment before the transaction is completed. Wal-Mart has significantly reduced its bad debt as a result. Meanwhile, Starbucks is able to do "laser target" marketing thanks to the data it collects via its pre-paid gift cards, whose transactions are processed by First Data's ValueLink subsidiary, Capellas said.

"There is intelligence in every transaction," Capellas told delegates, which included Accenture staff memebrsand about 200 Accenture clients, all senior executives from large, global communications, electronics, high tech, media and entertainment companies.

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