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February 2015, Volume 3, Number 1

Dip in Hadoop data lake can be bracing for big data users

Customer relations is the cornerstone of service-oriented companies. A slogan like Allstate Insurance Co.'s "You're in good hands" says it all. But behind that friendly tagline, there's a business to be run. Creating a great customer experience in every aspect of the insurance process is one of Allstate's goals -- but so is making money. To help it meet those twin goals, Allstate has deployed a Hadoop-based data lake to support advanced analytics applications aimed at improving its business operations. Data analysts such as Mark Slusar, a quantitative research and analytics fellow at the Northbrook, Ill., insurer, are using the Hadoop system to fish through decades' worth of data that until now was floating around in different databases. The open source framework's distributed processing capabilities let Slusar and his colleagues explore large sets of data on policies, claims and property losses in an effort to identify patterns, trends and insights that point to new business opportunities and beneficial changes in Allstate's ...

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