Don’t make the mistake of thinking that big data is only about analytics for business intelligence. Big data is the fuel, and predictive analytics the engine, that will power the next generation of predictive applications, as I wrote in a prior post (Predictive Apps Are The Next Big Thing In App Development). Sure, there are absolutely many exciting use cases in traditional business intelligence. But the same knowledge, insight, and predictive models gained from big data analytics can transform boring business and consumer apps with the ability to design and develop predictive apps. What are predictive apps?

Predictive apps anticipate user intent and provide the right functionality and content on the right device, at the right time, for the right person by continuously learning about them.

A Home Depot Example Of A Predictive App

Let’s say your toilet is leaking. You go to Home Depot and buy a tank repair kit. You get it home and realize that you need a special screwdriver, so you make a second trip to Home Depot. You go home and find that the screws you tried to reuse were stripped after years of decay. You make a third trip to get the screws. Finally, you can fix the toilet successfully — but it took you three trips to Home Depot. Multiple trips to Home Depot stores is pain point for many customers.

How can Home Depot use big data analytics to create a predictive app to save their customers’ time? Simple. Analyze all item purchase data with multiple same-day trips to find groups of items correlated with common (or uncommon) repairs. Perfect. Now create an app in the self-checkout register to predict the intent of the items purchased. In the above example, the predicted intent is to fix the toilet. Next, based on the items purchased at the first visit, predict right then and there if the would-be plumber customer may have forgotten something. Remind the customer of other tools or parts that he/she might need to complete the repair. Simple. Customers will be grateful if a suggestion helps them avoid multiple same-day trips. Guess who will then need to develop this same predictive app for its self-checkout register? Lowe’s.

Predictive App Opportunites Increase As Big Data Is Available

Look at the apps you’re developing now and look for where you could turn it up a couple of notches by predictung the functionalty and content that would be relevent to the user in the moment. Forrester clients can read the full research here.

Join us at Forrester’s Forum For Application Development & Delivery Professionals, October 17 and 18 in Indianapolis. In addition to my session, “Develop Predictive Apps,” we also have a session on “The Big Debate On Big Data.”