Palantir Technologies, the data analytics company that counts government agencies including the FBI and CIA as clients, is capitalizing on the currency used by nearly every company: data.
“Data is now the most common currency and it is now the most interesting currency,” explained Ryan Beiermeister, product development lead at Palantir, speaking at Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women Next Gen conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. Beiermeister said that companies that are willing to engage with every aspect of their customer data are seeing the power in mining this information and driving insights.
Palantir, which brought in $1 billion in revenue in 2014, has been working with Wall Street firms to detect fraud, and with pharmaceutical companies looking to expedite the development of new drugs. But the company is also exploring partnerships with food companies and insurance giants.
As an example, Beiermeister cited the way Palantir is helping Hershey’s Chocolate better understand how and where their chocolates sell in stores. For instance, Palantir and Hershey’s were able to mine customer transaction and store data to figure out that when Hershey’s chocolate is placed next to marshmallows, it increases sales.
Palantir, which is reportedly valued at $20 billion, is also working with Zurich Insurance Company to develop data mining software to determine how to price policies more accurately.
Of course, more data also brings more vulnerability. Palantir is working with companies to effectively monitor breaches. It used to be that the first line of defense for companies was to build a wall around their data, explained Beiermeister. “That doesn’t exist any more because employees are accessing data from apps and working from VPNs at home,” she added.
The “wall” is now created by monitoring for breaches, Beiermeister said. But the challenge is using both human and computer power to make decisions about what signals should be used to determine breaches.