Wednesday, November 16, 2016

eBay's Use of Big Data and Machine Learning Platforms

As we have learned, the use of data analytics has provided a wide range of positive and negative affects for companies and organizations involved in the digital transformation. The main goal for companies implementing Big Data is to provide them with details about their customers and their business operation to make their business more efficient and generate higher revenues. In regards to the companies that are already data driven, like eBay for example, the use of Big Data goes even further. In the article “How eBay Uses Big Data and Machine Learning to Drive Business Value,” Maribel Lopez discusses how although eBay has always been a digital business, its IT leaders are “embracing the latest digital technologies to enhance their existing processes and build new experiences.” For starters, the article talks about how eBay struggled with trying to find a platform that was capable of storing an abundance of data that varied by type. We have learned that every piece of data carries its own value, which respectively has its own price to be stored. Thus, eBay turned to Big Data to determine nine quarters of historical trends to provide information on the items people were buying and selling. Additionally, eBay analyzed data in real-time to assist its customers throughout the selling cycle. The insights eBay found about their business operation encouraged them to transition from a traditional data warehouse to a system called data lakes. This was very interesting to me because it made me realize that companies that are extremely data-intensive, like eBay, are still using the newest data softwares to keep their business up and coming. Among the discovery of an efficient storage platform, eBay also uses big data analytics to improve their customer service skills. Moreover, Lopez discusses how eBay is using data analytics as a platform to address cases such as personalization and merchandising. For example, eBay uses a machine-learning platform to help recommend similar items on key placements on site and mobile. Since eBay receives approximately 10 million new listings via mobile every week, the application of data mining benefits the customer, as well as generating profit for eBay itself (Lopez). However, eBay’s data usage is not just limited to improving their customers’ experiences. eBay has also contrived a predictive learning model that aids in detecting fraud, account take-over, and risk protection. This notion of applying data techniques to reduce security risks is revitalizing for both the customer and the organization. This is ensuring for an eBay customer because it is evident that the most significant issue with the usage of Big Data is security issues. More specifically, customers are concerned with their confidential information being breached, as well as their credit cards being stolen. Thus, eBay’s application of a big data platform to protect their customers and limit fraud encourages customers to continue to use their service. Source:

1 comment:

  1. Brianna’s article does a good job of showing how important it is for firms to constantly adapt to the incredibly fluid environment they find themselves in. She begins by explaining how like most other ecommerce companies, eBay uses the data it obtains from customers to gain insight into buying patterns and product preferences. While this is a common practice, eBay is taking it a step further by utilizing the newest digital technologies to expand its capabilities and grow the company. Brianna writes about how eBay is using a sort of retroactive analysis practice to get insight into historical customer trends regarding what products customers are buying and selling. This, along with their implementation of “data lakes” as a new means of storage, shows that they are making a conscious effort to stay at the cutting edge of technology deployment within the business.

    The machine learning aspect of the article was very interesting to me because of the ways various firms are using it. There are a lot of companies, Amazon and Netflix come to mind, that use various data analytics or data mining tactics to forecast what their customers may be interested in purchasing or viewing, but I don’t think I’ve heard of a company employing machine learning to fill that need. This is another testament to how eBay is looking ahead regarding their technology infrastructure. Perhaps the most interesting part of Brianna’s article was how eBay is using predictive learning to function as a security solution. While I’m sure eBay works with a vendor who specializes in security, the fact that they have devised a way to use their data as a safeguard to detect fraud, unusual account activity and other threats is truly intriguing. In an era when companies and individuals are at risk wherever they are on the web, it is refreshing to hear how a firm has taken it upon themselves to try and protect their customers.


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