Michael Hiskey, CMO of master data management software provider Semarchy, talked with TechRepublic’s Dan Patterson about how businesses can use data to their advantage:

Patterson:How do I look then downstream and say, whether my customer’s a consumer or whether my customer’s another business, that I have made decisions that will be helpful to them, of course, but also helpful to me as a business? How can data be used to help my business?

SEE: Turning Big Data into Business Insights (ZDNet special feature) | Download as a PDF (TechRepublic)

Hiskey:There’s so many uses to make better use of data that you have. I think chief among them is, again, customer upsell and cross-sell. Amazon makes an amazing percentage of their profit off of those “customers who bought this also liked that.” That’s a preference engine. Retail institutions that have online ecommerce sites make a great deal of upsell/cross-sell with add-on items, so, “Don’t forget the batteries.” The proverbial “Do you want fries with that?” gives me a lot of information, but the next level of complexity, when you can dig deeper into what’s really going on here … When I have a customer in a buying position, what can I do to maximize the profitability of that shopping cart? When I say make the right decisions, it’s, “Sure. I can add batteries when you’re buying a remote control car, but maybe, at the same time, there’s a completely orthogonal idea that I can sell another very profitable item in that same shopping cart and both make the consumer happy and add to my bottom line.”

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