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Companies spend enormous sums marketing their product—in some cases, up to 24 percent of their entire operating budget. That’s hundreds of billions of dollars. A great deal of those funds are invested in big data solutions. But turning huge volumes of information into actionable insights isn’t a simple matter.

Big data solutions have big requirements

To deliver the most value, a big data solution must be easy to integrate with either an on-premises system or a cloud-based data source, without requiring re-coding. AI should be native to the platform. Having the option to choose from a variety of technologies, including open source apps, is also important. And regardless of the industry a company belongs to, availability and security are must-haves. Acxiom is one example of a company that found a solution that met all these requirements, and more.

Accuracy drives insights

Based in Little Rock, Arkansas, Acxiom is recognized as an expert in data analytics solutions. Retailers, manufacturing companies, and financial institutions rely on Acxiom’s ultra-targeted advertising campaigns to grow their businesses. The information to fuel those campaigns depends on Acxiom’s ability to draw meaningful insights from mountains of data.

For 25 years, Acxiom used the SAS platform to build those data models. But SAS licensing fees kept increasing, and growth in the volume of data began to strain the platform’s performance limits. “There were other statistical modeling techniques out there that would help us develop more accurate models,” says Marty Rose, Acxiom’s principal data scientist. “The more accurate our models, the more revenue our customers earn, because they can target their marketing more precisely.”

Data analytics in action

Moving to a cloud-based data analytics platform was the right move for Acxiom. Now it has access to AI-powered algorithms capable of working with larger data sets. Tasks can be run in parallel to maximize processing speed. Data models can be created 30 percent faster. Using open source products eliminates the licensing fees associated with SAS. With a full suite of data analytics services integrated in a common platform, Acxiom is now free to push the boundaries of what big data can do.

Read the full story to learn how Acxiom used the Microsoft data platform to turn volumes of information into the actionable insights its customers need. Keep up to date on the latest news about Microsoft’s work in the cloud by visiting the Cloud Perspectives blog.