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An Interview with Chief Data Officer James Eichmann

It’s 2017, and everyone is using data. Companies are using it to track customer behavior, strategically target audiences, and increase efficiency across the board. If your business isn’t using data to optimize your business processes, you’re not going to be able compete. We’ve interviewed Billtrust’s Chief Data Officer, James Eichmann, about the use of big data to make strategic moves and better decisions. You can read his insightful interview here.

Q: Jim, could you please provide a bit about your background?

A: As the Chief Data Officer (CDO), I’ve always been interested in databases, I have prior experience with data modeling. With big data and the tools that go along with it, it’s much easier to get that information in today’s world. It’s easier for me to answer questions, make decisions based on data, and aggregate big data because I helped build the architecture behind Billtrust.

Q:  CDOs are becoming more omnipresent and critical to a C-level team. How important is data to the strategic direction of a company?

A: The ability to make informed decisions are critical to any successful business and we see data helping our customers make better timely business decisions. Having a CDO means being able to deliver data analytics to make better business decisions. It’s not an easy task, but having a centralized department with a focus on data Governance, Quality, Architecture and Analytics is a step in the right direction. We expect data intelligence to be an invaluable source for business insight as we grow as a company.

Q: Where does Big Data fit into Billtrust’s strategic vision?

A: Being a data-driven company requires having a clear picture and understanding of how data is used when making your strategic decision. Billtrust looks at overall patterns and trends in the data to identify ways that customers can use it to be more targeted and efficient. The process of needing to make better and faster decisions has put Big Data at the forefront within Billtrust so we can meet the demands of our customers and internal departments. Because of our commitment to data security and PCI compliance standards, all analysis performed on the data is kept high level to identify those trends and behaviors while withholding all names and contact information for privacy.

Q: What are some of the biggest data trends you’re seeing in the industry?

I see third party companies now making it easier for large data sets to be stored and analyzed, showing the maturity of Big Data. It no longer has to be an enormous undertaking to get data in and out of systems for a consolidated view to make business decisions. I now see more companies focusing on application that use actionable data and being able to provide more intelligence to drive better business decisions.

Q: How is Billtrust making strides with data to help customers make smarter decisions?

A: We’ve developed a new way to use data called the Billtrust Business Directory. This is an ecosystem that’s going to allow our customers and customers turbocharge their electronic adoption efforts. It’s taken us years to develop best practices for helping customers transition their customers from paper to electronic invoicing and payments. The Billtrust Business Directory will allow us to use data to give our customers insight, and help us give customers leverage where they need it most.

Q: Where did the inspiration for the Billtrust Business Directory come from?

A: Billtrust is dedicated to providing maximum value to customers, so it was a natural evolution to start to evaluate trends across our customer base. We soon realized that our customers could benefit from sharing some elements of data about their customers’ habits. Our data indicated that many end-users were receiving electronic documents from some suppliers, and paper from others.  We noticed that by sharing data, while maintaining privacy and security, we could help a customer could save thousands of dollars through targeted eadoption messaging campaigns.

Q: What are the long term benefits of the Billtrust Business Directory?

A: Our customers are always looking to Billtrust for innovation and to provide value and cost savings. The Billtrust Business Directory is one of those applications that continually offers insight into the world of end-user behavior. In the long run, the BBD will be able to help our customers with cost savings by delivering most of their documents electronically, as well as, helping to move paper payments to electronic check for a reduced DSO.

We want to thank Jim Eichmann for sharing his thoughts and expertise with us. If you’d like to ask Jim a question about big data or the new Billtrust Business Directory, join us for our Twitterview on Tuesday, June 6 at 2pm EST using #BilltrustBigData

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