Intel showcases big data efforts

monitor faces

Intel's system to read an employee's mood from facial characteristics probably won't look like this, but it will (if it works) increase productivity by creating the right conditions for that employee to perform well on a given day. (Stock image)

Intel Corp. is well-known as the world's largest producer of semiconductor chips, but it's also an early adopter of big data as an efficiency tool to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars of savings. Speaking at FedTalks 2013 on June 12, Intel CIO Kimberly Stevenson described four types of analytics Intel runs on its often-massive data sets:

• predictive, or "when will it happen;"

• prescriptive, or "how can we make it happen;"

• diagnostic, or "why did it happen;"

• descriptive, or "what happened."

The firm has used big data to significantly decrease fraudulent claims against the company by 70 percent – reducing manual audits from 20 percent of all claims to just 7 percent – and has automated a large portion of its fraud discovery processes.

The decrease in man-hours and processes alone associated with the reduction in manual audits helped Intel realize $30 million in savings, and analyzing these data sets also allowed the company to detect and stop paying duplicative claims.

Stevenson said Intel has also explored big data as a tool to drive sales, driving customer engagement by using data sets to determine which customers had the "highest propensity to buy."

"I'm proud of our results, but it also feels like we're just scratching the surface," Stevenson said. "At Intel, we're always talking about root diagnostics, learning what happened and why it happened. We are creating value through advanced analytics."

Stevenson said Intel has other initiatives in research phases or in pilots, including one designed to improve its employees' daily work experiences.

Their methods include facial recognition software and sensors that might, for instance, tell what mood an employee is in. In that way, Intel can help create conditions best suited for a particular employee's user experience that day. That might sound a bit Orwellian, but the goal is to help the employee and optimize productivity, she said.

"The new user experience isn't about a (graphical user interface)," Stevenson said. "We can tell a lot with facial recognition and sensors – we can tell a lot about behavior. We can tell what mood you're in. We're trying to make employees more productive."

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

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