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Nathan Golia
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More on Nationwide's Big Data Strategy

A company AVP says that conventional, structured data — which insurers already have in spades — can help inform the insights gleaned from unstructured, new data sources.

Nationwide's Kathy Koontz recently spoke to Insurance & Technology about how much the company values business alignment as it expands its use of big data. It's only when everyone in the enterprise is pulling in the same direction that analytic initiatives can be successful, she said.

At a recent technology conference in the insurer's home city of Columbus, Ohio, attended by InformationWeek editor Chris Murphy, another Nationwide AVP shed some more light on how the company attacks big data. Here's an excerpt from Murphy's article on the event:

Tara Paider, associate VP of IT architecture at Nationwide Insurance, said its statisticians look at its data to understand customer trends. But Nationwide also has a behavioral psychologist, along with marketing, tech, and product specialists, on a cross-discipline team.

While emerging tools like Hadoop let companies explore new unstructured data sources, Paider emphasized that companies already know a lot about their customers from conventional, structured data warehouses, and those environments aren't going away. Better decisions will come from combining the new insights from unstructured data with existing customer knowledge. "Looking at big data out of the context of the information you already have about your customers and policies and products is a bad idea," Paider warned.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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