So why did big data giant Informatica lure away Jim Davis to become its chief marketing officer after Davis spent years as CMO at SAS, another big data rival? Informatica CEO Anil Chakravarthy had his reasons. What were they?

Two weeks ago, Chakravarthy was elevated from interim CEO and California-based Informatica formally announced Davis as part of the new management team Chakravarthy assembled.

Bringing on board Davis, who announced his departure from Cary-based SAS in December, is part of Informatica’s new plan to help customers realize ROI – return on investment – for buying into to big data analytics and applications.

“There’s a lot of interest in doing [big data] proof-of-concepts or pilot projects,” he told InformationWeek. But “there has to be a business case. Somebody has to be accountable for how to deliver that business value.”

That’s where Davis comes in.

Chakravarthy said the ROI proof was a big reason for hiring Davis.

“He has a lot of experience working with senior-level customers on how to get business value out of these technologies,” Chakravarthy said.

Davis helped shape sales and marketing efforts that helped make SAS a $2-billion-a-year-plus company.

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