Confluence and Delivering the Big Data Experience


According to, “’Confluence’ means a flowing together. In a literal sense, it’s about rivers. But it’s more often used to talk about the coming together of factors or ideas, or of cultures in a diverse city.”

Embracing the concept of confluence is imperative for businesses seeking to address consumer demands to interact with brands across myriad channels, screens and devices. Regardless of industry, as a customer I expect brands to know about me – to know when to engage with me, how I prefer to connect and what my distinctive preferences are.  Today, businesses from healthcare providers to auto makers, to retailers to sports teams, have to learn to use data to reveal insights that create engaging and immersive experiences for consumers.

Consider the big data that will be generated by the 100 million people expected to use health and fitness wearable devices by 2018. Hospitals, clinics and health insurers will seek to gain insight into incentivizing people to take better care of themselves. Sports apparel retailers will aim to sell the latest lines of fitness gear. Banks will want to understand their customers, not just from a financial perspective but in terms of behavioral insights, needs and expectations, so that they can identify and predict critical decision points and take appropriate action.

Or take sports and entertainment – tennis fans will have instant access not just to match outcomes but to big data-driven insights from the ATP into players’ performance, strengths, weaknesses and shot selection.  Auto giants looking to reinvent the travel experience are using big data to develop connected cars that prompt you to leave a bit earlier or take an alternative route to work depending on the weather or traffic situation. And maybe you’ve heard about the connected car that will do the driving for you.

Traditional Business Intelligence (BI) solutions are simply not up to the challenge of hitting these ambitious targets.  Emerging open source technology offers a compelling alternative. Backed by a coordinated and collaborative effort involving industry, academic institutions and developers, open source is becoming the standard for big data solutions. Unhindered by restrictions on data volume or type, open source offers unrivaled ability to perform complex analytics on big data in real-time – and at a fraction of the cost of traditional BI.  Enterprises can use emerging open source technologies to reinvigorate existing BI solutions with additional reporting or analytical capabilities, as well as leverage it to build entirely new big data capabilities and create new and innovative customer experiences.

In other words, it’s all about confluence, a true blending of technologies, capabilities and perspectives.  Speaking of which, I will be moderating a panel discussion of business leaders from ATP, SunTrust, and AIMIA at Infosys’ Confluence event, which will be held on Thursday, April 28th in San Francisco. I hope you can join us to discuss open source, innovating the customer journey, managing disruption and a variety of other topics.

About the author

Jeff offers more than 28 years of experience in the sourcing industry, including five years as the CIO for professional service firms and 23 years providing IT outsourcing services to global fortune 500 companies. His main ares of expertise include building and launching commercial markets and high visibility alliances for innovative products and technologies.