Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

How Visa, Hertz and Clark County are putting information and analytics to work

I am thrilled that we are able to share the remarkable stories of so many IBM customers here at the Information on Demand conference.  

Today we shared details on three IBM customers via press releases, while many other companies have described how they are benefiting from putting their information to work and the impact that analyzing it is having on their business.


Visa was one of two companies that participated in a panel discussion with Robert LeBlanc during this morning's General Session, during which we also shared that they were the recipient of an Information on Demand Innovation Award.  The award recognizes Visa’s use of information technology and real-time data analytics to drive growth, prevent fraud, and improve the consumer payment experience.

I have to admit that until I worked with Visa on this conference, I didn't really understand the specific role they play (which is vastly different from the banks that issue the credit cards and own the relationship with the cardholder).  Because Visa's role is to process and clear transactions (as well as deliver value-added services), they truly are an information company, and as such their ability to manage information and extract value from it is crucial.

As highlighted in today's press release (Visa Receives 2010 IBM Award for Innovation), Visa has been using IBM technology and solutions to develop and advance capabilities such as real-time fraud monitoring, transaction alerts, and special offers (such as discounts and loyalty points delivered to mobile phones).  During the press conference, they talked about adding the ability to send a text message within 7 seconds of a credit card being swiped, offering additional opportunities for cardholder security.


Hertz is working with IBM and Mindshare Technologies to use IBM Content Analytics software to better understand customer feedback, doing so in a way that removes a manual burden from their location managers.  Prior to implementing the new solution, Hertz location managers read each customer comment submitted online, via e-mail or by phone, and then had to manually categorize it for basic reporting and analysis.  As you can imagine, this was not only a very labor-intensive process, but inconsistent, as comments had to be interpreted by each manager.

In contrast, they are now able to more consistently, accurately and quickly assess customer comments, and take rapid actions, such as adjusting staffing levels at a particular location following complaints of long wait times.

The CIO for Hertz describes the impetus for this initiative in the press release (The Hertz Corporation Teams With IBM and MindShare Technologies To Gain Deeper Insight Using Analytics):

"Hertz gathers an amazing amount of customer insight daily, including thousands of comments from web surveys, emails and text messages. We wanted to leverage this insight at both the strategic level and the local level to drive operational improvements," said Joe Eckroth, Chief Information Officer, the Hertz Corporation.

(Update: Here's a video with Joe Eckroth and others describing the impact the solution has had for them)

Clark County

The Family Services Department of Nevada's Clark County (the 15th largest county in the US and the home of Las Vegas) is working with IBM and IBM Business Partner PerformanceG2 to put business analytics software to work to improve the delivery of social services and ensure compliance with new state regulations. They have been able to  generate more than $7 million in new revenue in less than 18 months through the solution they deployed, which has also greatly feed up staff time by eliminating multiple spreadsheets and the need to hand-count information.  Instead of manually tracking case management information, they have cut their reporting time in half, and can instead spend their time providing services to families and children.  You can read more about IBM's work with the Clark County Family Services Department in the press release (IBM Helps Clark County Deliver Social Services).