In this business growth show Gayle Sheppard of Saffron Technology discusses the continuing growth of data and how businesses can use it to their advantage. Business growth show: Exploit the data Well, data is extremely important to businesses today. If you think about the growth of data and what’s happening to companies and the amount of data [...]
In this business growth show Gayle Sheppard of Saffron Technology discusses the continuing growth of data and how businesses can use it to their advantage. Business growth show: Exploit the data Well, data is extremely important to businesses today. If you think about the growth of data and what’s happening to companies and the amount of data [...]
Businesses have access to data from more and more individuals who are entering email addresses and phone numbers in to online forms. In this TV show Gerald Lawless explains why respecting individuals information is paramount.
Access to data in hospitality
In the hotel business we really have to understand our responsibility to our guests to maintain the confidentiality of that data. And this is something that is so abused around the world. I mean we all receive these silly phone calls and you wonder how people got your mobile number, apart from me putting it on my business card, which always doesn’t help. But it is important that we treat that with great respect, with great care. And yes, use it but use it in a way that doesn’t annoy the guest, and this is important. So we write and say, “Do you want to communicate with us?” If they don’t want to, well then that’s fine and we respect very much the confidentiality of the guest data that we hold.
Connected Economy TV will continue to follow discussions around access to data and data usage.
Data strategy is an increasingly hot discussion topic. In this TV show Keith Hodlt gives his view on the evolution of data.
Data strategy development
The data that’s out there is growing by the day and I think everybody’s very aware of that and accepts the fact that there is a data and there is an information explosion that’s happening. If you think now, I think what, in the future, the competitive business will be or businesses will be those that are able to exploit the data that’s available the best, not those that have the data.
Well in the past I think businesses and organisations looked largely internally at the data or at external structured data sources in terms of understanding how the markets were changing and what was going on and how they should evolve and adapt and so on, whereas now I think that 80% of data is outside the organisation. And it’s exactly in sources and pools like Twitter and Facebook and all of these unstructured areas that this is happening. And in Google’s book ‘Winning the Zero Moments of Truth’ they talk about the whole idea of people doing more and more research and looking more and more at what other people are saying about products and services before they buy them than ever before. And when I talk about organisations needing to use, external data, we’re needing to look beyond the box or beyond themselves to what’s out there and how best to use it. That’s the sort of thing I’m talking about. I’m talking about learning and adapting to how they can actually bring that to bear when they make their own corporate decisions, when they understand more about their customers, when they understand more about how they should be evolving to be able to deal with the market challenges and how the markets evolve and how they need to fit within that.
Connected Economy TV will continue to share insights and opinions on data strategy.
Data strategy for unstructured data is the next challenge
Data strategy is increasingly important for organising the vast amounts of data that companies have, as Gayle Sheppard explains in this TV show.
Data Strategy for decision making
Well, companies have a long way to go in capturing unstructured textual data. Companies have done a pretty good job of capturing structured, transactional data. Relational databases, data warehouses, have evolved to help them organize data so it can be analyzed in traditional ways. I think the big challenge for companies in the future is really -- maybe there are three elements to it, actually.
One is that there are so many mergers and acquisitions that have transpired across the Fortune or Global 1,000 that there are many databases or data warehouses that contain information. And they are treasure troves of information. But integrating them or bringing them together in any way that makes sense is very challenging for corporations. It's very expensive to do it. It takes a lot of time. And these databases are filled with disparate ways of describing things. So the challenge is quite great. How do we bring all of this data together?
So, that's the first challenge. The second challenge I see in corporate America is how do we take advantage of all the text that we have? Customers write us. They send us messages on the web. We capture notes about our customers, our partners, our suppliers, employees. We have emails rich with information coming in from outside as well as inside the company about what's happening, whether it's customer-related or employer-related.
And so how do you take all of that information and make it part of the knowledge base? Not just transactions. Who bought from us, who do we sell to. Who was the supplier that we used in this particular situation. But the comments that actually capture experiences that we're having in real time with our partners, suppliers, and customers is truly an important part of the knowledge of a corporation. And companies haven't figured out how to use that yet. That's one of the things that Saffron helps them with, but that's challenge number two. All that textual information inside our company.
And then challenge number three is, how do we then go out to the web, how do we go to the resources we have available to us, whether it's open source news or blogs or other social networks, and capture the essence of that experience into our corporate knowledge base, so we can also use that information as part of our decision making process.
Connected Economy TV is very interested in new data strategy for the digital world, explore our channel for more discussion.
digital engagement analytics measure the ROI of social media
Digital engagement analytics have been of growing interest to businesses as they want to know exactly what impact their social media marketing campaigns are having.
Digital engagement analytics in marketing
Over the last ten years, people have really taken a lot of looking at analytics for their website. People want to know how many page view you're getting, how many unique visitors, how many click-throughs did you get, what was the percentage click-through on a banner ad. Some of those elements we're finding are less useful than the end result about ROI. You know, what was the revenue that you generated from your website? What was that brand perception that was improved by seeing your content on another site through public relations or partners and customers talking about you?
The new elements in social media people are still coming to grasp in terms of what's a successful campaign. What is the good result? How many followers do I need to consider this a success? How many click-throughs do I need to have success? Those same analytics that you've been running on your website can be run on social media. I can know how many clicks every single Tweet received. I can know how many followers I received over a given time period. I can know how many re-Tweets or how many forwards that I received from a specific campaign. I can know how many new people commented and interacted with me on my Facebook fan page. So each of these elements are converging, so you can find out just how many people you directly influenced through a campaign, how much reach that received, and whether that was a good use of your money and your time.
In any corporation, a marketing team needs to prove that it has value. Every single campaign needs to show that it had success, or every single message needs to be continually tweaked to make sure it's hitting the right people at the right time and saying the right things. If you are measuring your success in social media, you can help validate the activity that you're doing. You can help show direct results in terms of engagement with people, in terms of creating new customers, and in terms of helping your brand, both in popularity and in relevance.
Connected Economy TV will continue to follow ideas around digital engagement and analytics.
Information management strategy for Financial Directors
Information management strategy needs to ensure that members of the company have access to the data that they need, whenever they need it. In this video Sara Daw discusses how real time intelligence helps FDs build business.
Information management strategy for accessible data
I think all businesses should have real time information and that is something that technology can bring and it really aids the whole business. The FDs right now are expected to have information at their fingertips and technology can deliver that if used in the right way
If you’ve got real time information it means that you don’t have to wait until the end of a cycle to collect all the information, look at it, analyse, interpret it, and then make the decision, which can take a good few weeks after a month end. So it means that you’ve always got the information to date. And if you’ve got specific KPIs in your business - Key Performance Indicators, what it means is that if you know what those are and you’ve got real time access to those, you know daily or by minute how your business is doing. And that really does aid decision-making and keeps up the pace of business. I think that’s the role that technology can play right now in really making a business engine efficient.
Connected Economy TV will continue to follow ideas around information management strategy. Look out for more TV shows from Sara Daw.
Innovative technology from Saffron Technology aims to make business intelligence more natural by capturing people, places and things in a memory base. Gayle Sheppard explains in this TV show.
Innovative technology for a knowledge base
Saffron was conceived with the idea of making business intelligence natural and providing natural intelligence for everyone. That's the core of our foundation. And we did that by creating a technology that is essentially biologically inspired. We capture memories of people, places, and things. And in those memories, we don't store data, we actually store the connections of other people, places, and things that are connected to you, or that event, or that company, or that thing.
And with that, we also count the frequency so we can understand the strength of those connections. What that does is provide us a fundamental base of knowledge that can be used in sense making, decision support, and anticipation or prediction. And with that, no rules, no models. It's one of the great things about natural intelligence. And we naturally can ask questions of our memory, just like we do as humans. We store information in our brains, we recall it automatically, and we apply reasoning methods to it. That's exactly what Saffron does.
What we do is, through having a memory base, which is a base of knowledge about all the people, places, and things in data, and all the connections they have with other people, places, and things, we can explore hunches very easily. So if I were asking the question, gee, I think I've seen this before. Where have we done this before? I could ask that question of Saffron's memory base, and it would provide back to me, in more specific context of the thing, the event, the situation I'm discussing, where we've actually done it before. What the outcomes were. Were we successful. Were we not successful. Who was involved. Where did we do it. How long did it take. So that's an experience-based reaction to a question. Based on knowledge, implicit knowledge and explicit knowledge that we have about people, places, and things in the data.
If you found Gayle Sheppard's explanation of this innovative technology interesting, then please browse more shows on Connected Economy TV.
The digital world and mobile technology means that information is more easily available. This has caused the pace of business to increase as Arthur de Haast explains in this TV show.
Digital world and data interpretation
The digital world just makes things move a lot more quickly, it gives people access to a lot more information. You know, we’ve just launched our own app so that people can, you know, click on that. They can tap on it rather, not click these days, tap on the screen. And it tells them, you know, what opportunities or what investment opportunities there are available in that locality, can direct them to it, can give them basic information and so on. So that makes the market move more quickly, it’s a lot more transparent and actually information in its own right is no longer valuable because everybody has information. What is now much more important and what we concentrate on is how do you then interpret that information and use it to give good advice to people who want to invest and so on. So it means that you’re having to think much harder about the value add and how you’re going to, so on the one hand it’s very positive and it creates, you know, speed to market and that sort of thing. But at the same time it means that we’ve got to think a lot harder about how we can add value and look after our clients, given that what’s happening in that space.
If you found this video interesting and want to hear more about the Digital world and data interpretation, please browse more videos on Connected Economy TV.
Information management strategy for business may now include getting outside help and training. in this TV show Ian Goldin discusses filtering through the data.
Information management strategy changes
I think the increase is so rapid that managements that have been in place for a while just aren't up to speed. And there will be entire industries helping business synthesize the data, presenting it to them in forms which are usable and that the value added.
There's a lot to be read in to it but this can be misread. One of the most dangerous things is trawling the internet because it is absolutely undiscerning between garbage and genius.
That's why proper education and training does really matter because that's the filter through which you pass all of this information.
Connected Economy TV will continue to follow ideas around information management strategy.
Information management strategy has been revolutionized by "Big Data". In this TV show Andrew Sangster discusses turning expensive data into clever data.
Information management strategy is expensive
The problem with data or to get technical its relational database, is that it is so very fixed rigid. You have lines, addresses and the purchases made.
So you will have a relational database for what the guest has done in terms of their booking.
You will have one in terms of what they have done when they have gone to a food & beverage outlet.
You might have another one in terms of how guests have browsed your website.
So it’s all stored in lot of different places, what guests have booked in terms of amenities and you know whether there’s a spa, and it’s all stored in different places and it just doesn’t talk to each other, it’s just sat there, sitting there in this database in a very expensive way actually.
These relational databases are very expensive to maintain, they require lot of hardware in terms of the data itself there, the inputting, setting them up and constructing them.
Well actually, if you can break them all free and actually get all of those databases talking to each other.
I think the evolution now, well revolution actually with big data coming along actually breaking those data bases apart, linking them all together ad actually doing it faster, cheaper on the fly.
So what would take days if you had the time and money to it, the getting the databases to talk to each other by traditional routes you can do instantly on the fly now.
It is possible to produce very compelling offers now for customers using this data.
Connected Economy TV will continue to bring you expert insight and opinion on information management strategy and the uses and challenges of Big Data.
Information management strategy: “decision-making packages”
A strong information management strategy is important in a business environment that produces such incredible amounts of data. Ed Fuller shares his experience in this TV show.
Information management strategy for data overload
Getting data today is not the problem, we have tremendous amounts of data, that is just not the problem.
The problem is making sure you can deliver it in a package so that you can make decisions on that data.
We have what we call our data warehouse, which is always full. We draw from customer information, we draw from our Marriott rewards, we draw from the various financial results, but we work extremely hard to put this data in to what I call decision making packages that one can digest and therefore try to come up with the best conclusions at the time.
So you constantly go back to your data warehouse to research specific issues and the like rather than publishing volumes and volumes of data you try to make it into a decision tree that you can truly make a decision from and that's the challenge of today and the future.
If you enjoyed this video about information management strategy why not watch more TV shows on Connected Economy TV?
The digital economy is changing business strategies from technology centric to information centric as David Moschella explains in this TV show.
Digital economy and data
Well we often say that the challenge today is to put the I back into IT.
That a lot of IT professionals really are technologists at heart and build systems and really give secondary preference to the actual information and the value of it.
And whether the system even does what it was supposed to do in terms of satisfying the market.
So, you know, it’s been a technology centric industry.
But now as you move into the big data business and this concept of information at the edge being your smartphone or in and out.
There’s much more focus on the value of the information itself and in using information in new ways.
And therefore we think the I is very much going to be put back in IT and that’s why the future of the data to us is a very bright one.
If you enjoyed this video about the digital economy why not watch more TV shows on Connected Economy TV?
Access to data through a practice management system can help CEOs stay connected with the needs of the business and its clients. Sir Nigel Knowles gives his opinion in this TV show.
Access to data: Maintaining the flow of information
A flow of information, to me is very important, but fortunately we have a practice management system that allows me to access that information at any time, wherever I am.
So in terms of the basic financials of the firm, how many recorded hours we achieved yesterday, what our billings look like for the month/year to date.
What percentage is recovery against charging rates we've got, that's always immediately available from the point of view of marketing and business development and new work coming in or tenders and pitches that we are preparing for.
I am familiar with those and in many cases get involved in them. Because if you are doing my job I think its crucially important to remain connected with clients, you can't build and run a law firm without knowing what the client dimension is.
I think the more time I can spend with clients the better I am able to develop and push the practice.
Without clients we have nothing. Clients are everything to our firm.
Connected Economy TV will continue to follow ideas about data, access to data and connecting with customers.
An active customer interface will produce real time data and inform business decisions, as Sean Worker discusses in this TV show.
Using customer interface data
We have to start with our customers' needs, rather than sometimes the operation drives what they want to see.
So if you take the mandate of our company, we are here to provide real-time customer feedback. And we want it the moment they hit it.
Our customer service scores, since we introduced our intelligence system, has gone from about a 3.9, to a company high of 4.43 in January.
To a large extent it's coupling with our associates, asking and being proactive about asking our customers to fill it in. We send them a request for feedback, three times during their stay, as well as an advance expression of interest before the arrive.
We get that in real time and they are being vocal. We're getting about a 35% response rate, which is very high. Now some of the sample sizes on smaller properties are low. Bit if we can get somewhere north of 20, we are getting a real meaning.
But that actually turns onto a real conversation on a Monday morning at our executive committee meeting about 'This is what this sub set of customers said about this specific building, on this specific day, about a maintenance issue, an experience.
We can actually rectify a problem that week. We didn't have that a year ago.
The other component of the technology interface is that when we are doing client reporting we can actually bring that real data to them. What their own staff are saying about their experience, that helps them pick properties and determine what value statements are important.
Maybe it's a risk issue a security issue, maybe even if it's our own apartments, we give them the real data, and that's whats really changed in that interaction.
If you found this video about customer interfaces and data interesting why not watch more TV shows on Connected Economy TV?
A customer profile at the Hilton has been built up by mining data from a 30 million strong loyalty programme, as Simon Vincent explains in this TV show.
Understanding the Hilton customer profile
I think our data is quite fragmented at times.
But though our loyalty programme, Hilton HHonours.
We've got over 30 million subscribers in to Hilton HHonours and we've got a very good understanding of those customers.
They are our most loyal customers, they are the customers that stay will us most frequently, and we are building a very strong picture of the Hilton customer and mining that data very actively.
I think any good company will tailor their communications according to customer preferences.
There's no point communicating with customers in a way that they're not happy to be communicated with, because that will ultimately turn them off.
So we work on being flexible, we work on trying to tailor all of our communications, be that, through whichever channel we choose to use and the feedback we get is very positive.
If you enjoyed this video about customer profiles, data mining and personalised communication, why not watch more TV shows on the Connected Economy Channel?
In the midst of the digital revolution, technologies are emerging that can actually process the large amounts of data that have existed for years, as Manny Aparicio explains in this TV show.
Digital revolution - What is data without technology?
Saffron is a revolutionary technology, very very different than, you know, the twentieth century technology that we’re still, relying on, but is over this last decade, is showing increasing failure.
Revolutions never happen until, it’s that dissatisfaction if you think of our customers, the experience and the dissatisfaction with the status quo, with the technology that everyone has, from databases to business technology solutions, statistical approaches, all that is there and, when it still doesn’t answer the business.
When it still doesn’t answer the real line of business you look for something new.
That’s when a revolution occurs. That’s what we’re enjoying right now, ehm, and, you know, if you look, they’re across every industry, err, to give national security. Even years after 9/11, err, the Christmas underwear bomber, we had all the data.
We had all the data, but still couldn’t connect the dots and so there still is a reliance, a way of thinking that, if I have all the data, I’m good, I’ll put some, you know, data visualisations, some user interface or, we’re familiar with SQL for searching databases.
We have search engines for finding documents so, with all that technology, there was still a failure.
If we think in the financial community, Lehman Brothers and the , October 2008, you know, global collapse is, we had all the data.
Artificial intelligence in the future might replace professionals, as technology could automate the procedures which workers currently follow. Graeme Codrington gives his view in this TV show.
Artificial intelligence in the future - The GP
Take your local GP. You to to your GP you've got something that you feel is really wrong with you, pain down the side of your body. You go in to the GP and the GP follows a very strict diagnostic pattern.
In fact you'd be upset if they didn't follow the medical practices as laid out by the Medical Council of your country.
Once they've got a diagnosis based on that very strict process, they then probably turn to their computers and go on to netdoctor.com just to double check and make sure they've got the latest information because just like you, your doctor only had to get 50% to pass at university, and I don't know if you have ever thought about that, about which 50% you're happy your doctor doesn't know.
So you are actually very comfortable that they go the internet to find that extra information. and then of course they send you off to a lab for tests, and at the lab is just a machine that takes your blood, everything is automated.
So even one of the most intimate of professions, the doctor, is easily replaced. Just like the investment banker. this is happening and is going to continue to happen over the next decade.
It's almost every profession from accountants and lawyers, who I think will be the first to go, all the way through to medical doctors and everything in between could easily be replaced by technology.
Connected Economy TV will continue to discuss artificial intelligence and the future world of work. Look out for more from Graeme Codrington.
Robert Scoble and Shel Israel's book 'Age of Context' discusses ideas around the digital economy. Thomas Power explains more about the book in this TV show.
Digital economy: Thomas Power Reviews 'Age of Context'
So I think it’s kind of like a de-fear guide – that would be the wrong term – but it’s trying to give you some element of hope and companionship around technology, which to the majority of people is totally and utterly terrifying.
Because soon these sensors are going to be inside us. One of the stories he tells in the book is of the pills with sensors in that send messages on Bluetooth to your app on your iPhone or your Android or your Windows phone. So it goes down into your tummy, the pill breaks away.
Sensor, powered by the energy inside your tummy, sends messages out to your phone, so you can sort of see your physical health, so the technology is telling you how fit you are or how unhealthy you might be.
The book is called ‘The Age of Context’ … or ‘Age of Context’ … which is a very interesting word to use because people struggle with the word ‘context’ anyway, it’s a word that everyone struggles with because people say ‘oh, you need to put that in context’ or ‘is that in context?’ or ‘can I help you put that in context?
What he’s done is he’s focused on five things. He’s focused on social media, he’s focused on mobile, he’s focused on location, where we are, he’s focused on big data, analysing all the data that comes out of those first three, and he’s focused on sensors. Five things.
And what he’s effectively done is he’s taken these elements of social mobile location and sensors and the analysis through big data and said they are provisioning the context, this technology is providing the context, ‘cause they say who you are, they say where you are.
You carry you around so everybody knows where you are, the big data analyses all this stuff about who you are, where you are and what you’re looking at. And all the sensors in these phones are chatting away to all the other sensors on the TV and the Wi-Fi and in the gallery and at the airport and saying Facebook, Twitter, Linked In.
And he’s put it all together in a whole series of stories and genuine applications of how people are using them in different industries around the world, because he’s interviewed 4,000 people, he’s interviewed the geeks and the users. So, ‘well, I use this for that, I use this for that’. There’s so many little nuggets and stories in there, I think ‘hmm’.
What he’s actually doing, he’s contextualising technology for all of us so we don’t have to because we can’t understand it because it’s too hard to keep up with technology and it’s accelerating.
And he’s tried to create a little companion guide, I think, to sort of help people go ‘okay, I get it, I get it’. And at the same time he’s identified all the little outliers that might come and attack your business and kill you, nibbling away at you in a thousand different ways, and I think that’s really like it’s like a travel guide for technology and I imagine with ‘Age of Context’ he’ll do ‘Age of Context 2013’, ‘Age of Context 2014’, ‘Age of Context 2015’ and we’ll get a new companion guide every year, with this big smile on his face, with his glasses in the shower.
Names for our current era include the Digital economy, Age of Context, Connected Economy, Age of Data. Explore the site to find out more.
In this TV show Thomas Power explains why he thinks the best information management strategy is to be ORS (Open Random Supportive).
Information management strategy for the evolving digital world
A big discovery for me, going back to 2009, was the way the internet or the web behaves and thinks. You, as a human, you have to match it, you can’t make it match you. Primarily, when we’re taught at school, at university, at church, by parents, whoever teaches us teaches us things like don’t talk to strangers, teaches us to behave primarily closed about information – keep it to yourself, be selective about what you read, you notice, you share – and try and be in control of everything in your life – you know, your calendar, your money, your time, your job, your relationships – try and be closed with information, selective with what you use and be in control of everything.
That’s the institutional world that’s trained all of us, at school, at university, at church, wherever. The internet, or the world wide web, is a network, it’s not a hierarchy, it doesn’t have layers, it’s just a lump of glue connected together.
And the environment online is completely open, the web is completely open, it doesn’t have any closed bits. Oh, you can have a VP tunnel through it out of China, fine, you can call that a closed bit, but primarily the infrastructure is an open environment.
There’s no CTO, there’s no Chief Executive Officers, there’s no CFO, there’s no shares on the stock market, it’s the internet. Who runs it? I don’t know, no idea. The data is flowing in it in a random way. People think it’s structured and organised, it isn’t, it’s completely random.
So, it’s very hard to be selective with random data sets and the more you embrace the random the better data sets you get, the more selective you are the more blind you are.
Ironically, being selective makes you blind; accepting the random makes you more aware, ‘cause you’re more engaged in the change, the shift, of the way the data sets flow at you. And then lastly you have to be supportive online, you have to behave like a friend, not like somebody who seeks control or seeks power or seeks to dominate, none of that works online, you have to be very friendly and supportive all the time, to everybody.
Whether you have a relationship with them or not, whether you’re trading with them or not, if somebody asks for help on the internet, you help them. And that shift, from institutional thinking – close, selective, controlling – to network thinking – open, random and supportive – as I say, that took me a long time, ’99 to 2009.
Now, four and a half years of just studying that, teaching, training, coaching, supporting, nudging … and I do think it is more of a nudge than a push.
It’s a long old journey and it’s not like you can sort of get to the end of it and say ‘da da, I’ve nailed ORS, I am ORS, you’re just gradually evolving and evolving and evolving, meanwhile the systems are getting more and more complex around you, the data is getting harder, people are looking at their mobile phones 150 times a day, trying to get context from this phone.
You know, where are my friends, what are they all doing, what location am I in, who am I? You know, we’re being fed from this context machine, trying to understand. And the only way you can deal with the information coming at you from Facebook or Twitter or Linked In or Google Plus or Instagram or whatever you might be using, is to deal with it in an open, random and supportive way.
Information management strategy is just one element of the connected economy. There is more expert discussion to come.
Digital strategy should exploit data to inform investment decisions. Andrew Sangster discusses finding data for the hotel sector.
Digital strategy and research methods
Data has a huge vital role in determining quite important investment decisions.
You’re looking at a big hotel asset in a major gateway city, it's a hundred million plus Euros.
That’s serious amounts of cash and it should warrant some serious amounts of research.
Traditional methods, sure they go in, go have studies done in terms of local demand patterns, you list all the local hotels and what the existing demand is.
Often what’s not being fed in are new things. What new businesses are coming? What businesses are actually exiting from the market?
What’s happening in that city, in terms of its local economics? What’s happening in terms of the feeder markets into that city?
All of this data is very hard, under traditional models, to actually digest and process.
But actually if you’ve got a more sophisticated something, which can actually take this information and process it efficiently and quickly, you can have much more powerful and incisive information.
Connected Economy TV is following ideas about big data and digital strategy with new shows everyday.
The connected digital economy is a global revolution
Connected digital economy set to revolutionise business
In the industrial age, as before that in the agrarian age, in the age of farming the people who either owned the land or owned the factories or worked on the land or worked in the factories, they were the people who were in charge. Those were your assets, physical ability. What we’ve done over the last 100 years is replaced peoples' physical needs in terms of what we need from them physically with machines, you know, the combined harvester and the container and the robots in factories.
And then for the last 50 years we have plowed our resources, as human beings we’ve become clever by being clever. We have moved into the information age where your mental ability is what sets you apart from other people.
Now, somebody who was gifted at birth, not by my choice, but was gifted with a reasonable intelligence and a nice IQ and a middle class family that could get me through university, that’s been brilliant.
I’ve been able to use my brain to make money, but unfortunately right now computers are about to do to me what robots and machines did to my farm working, factory working uncles and grandparents
They’re about to make me redundant because they can think faster than I can. They can think more than I can. They don’t need to take a break to eat or sleep or all the other things I like to do.
The question is what’s next?
You see if we’ve used machines to replace our bodies, our physical strength and now we’re using machines to replace our minds, there’s only one step left and that’s our emotions, the soul if you like, inside of us. And that’s why I believe we’re heading into a connection economy, because computers can’t do that, not yet. I’m not saying they never will, but probably not in my lifetime.
That ability connect with other people, that ability to engage, to have relationships, that ability to be in another person’s life, not just sending information, engage with the data point but actually engage with a person, that’s vital.
Connected Economy TV will continue to explore the connected digital economy revolution, with new shows added daily.
The age of big data is a new and exciting time for business. In this TV show John Halpin shares his thoughts and experiences of data.
The age of big data creates unknown territory
Big data is basically saying, it’s not just all about big brands and big systems and the back office of big head offices, it’s about social media and Facebook and online and Twitter and that’s all data.
It’s about blogs. It’s about, videos. It’s about news.
It’s all this information being captured somewhere. How can you use that from a company perspective?
And the answer is, we don’t really quite know. It’s very new.
Rather than get quite excited about big data and all this additional information and terabytes of new data going into organisations, and basically being quite pleased with yourself that you’ve actually got it. To me, it’s just like well, there’s always been lots of data.
I’ve been involved in lots of data for many years. It’s how you have it and use it. If I was going down the route of beginning, doing something in data, rather than get quite excited about big data and how it’s used and how it’s interact.
First of all, understand your customers, know what they are, have the information on them. Can you speak to them?
There’s laws in this country about, speaking to customers. You might have all the information, you’ve got to legally be able to speak to them and say, if your customers are a prospect, all that kind of thing.
There’s regulation around the financial services, which is even tighter as well. But big data is quite exciting in terms of a phrase I used before, is dealing with the fact.
If I can prove something on the data that I have now, it helps me very much to go back to my directors or people who are on the budgets and say, “Right, to move us into the realms of big data and transactional behavioural information via social media, I’ll need some software to do that.
I’ll need some money. And the reason why I need money, because I’ve just proved something with you with the data I have already.
The age of big data is another exciting aspect of the connected economy. We will continue to bring you expert insight into the impact of social media and digital innovations.
The digital economy creates a lot of unstructured data. In this TV show Nigel Huddleston discusses the challenge of making it relevant to your business.
Using big data in the digital economy
There’s a real hot topic around big data and it means lots of different things to different people.
But I think the key is, is finding an intelligent way to make this massive confusing information relevant to what you’re looking at.
I think in the hospitality sector again, one of the key things is, is bringing in data from third parties and your own data in a meaningful way
So integrating things like your loyalty programmes with search behaviour, you know, who’s looking for what hotels in which cities and at what times and from what devices, and being able to track that with your own data.
And bring all of these bits of information together so that you can both serve the user but also carry out transactions and push information to the user in a meaningful way.
It’s very confusing. There’s lots of companies out there trying to help with this at the moment.
It’s early stages but it’s very, very important to the industry.
Connected Economy TV is following discussions about the digital economy and we will have more expert insight daily.
Nigel Palmer: "There’s a huge amount of data available. And we heard today about how we can know how many people come in and out of a 200 meter square, where they’d been two hours ago etc. And that’s really good data. And consumers at a personal level, if you can be intimate with them and give them the information about that them and the product that they want, you can attract them back into there because they know. It’s like going back to your friendly restaurant, like me going back to my bike shop, they say, “Hi Nigel, we know exactly what you want, we know exactly what we’ve got to do to sort of service it.” And I think more time should be spent on that personalisation, that service as well and time and effort put into that. I think when, for example, shopping centres like Bluewater opened a while back we saw some innovation on that. And we saw beautiful shopping centres open up in, you know, with Westfield. But I’m not quite sure how much more they’ve moved on, maybe it’s been more about the design and the physicality of the building as opposed to the services and the encouragement of how you bring the customer journey, not the online, not the store journey, together."
John Halpin: "When I first started out in my career, I was very small in the, what’s called IT in them days, computer programming, but an IT function. So I’d learnt languages of how to code and how to code information, be it data. That was quite interesting. A movement or a role, sort of middle management in that one, well I did a lot of stuff for marketing, in terms of the campaigns in them days, predominantly direct marketing, letters, notices. But big pieces of marketing, 10/15 years ago companies sent out hundreds of thousands, millions of pieces of paper in one go or all, in terms of one campaign, did a lot of that. But I was always slightly interested at understanding what was the results like. So I’ve written the programme, I’ve created this big computer programme that pulled a list of 100,00 people from a database and I’ve give it to Mr Marketeer. What actually happened, because I really want to know, did it work, did they not work? Was there any hotspots? Was the uplift better for target for your control? So very much more marketing questions than technical questions that I was in. That got me moving into more a marketing arena roughly at the same time, sort of the explosion in data warehousing kicked in, which is the very beginnings, the embryonic beginnings of big data, understanding people, building a single customer review. We’re talking about 15 years ago, so I got involved in that. I owned, I got given a role to own the data warehouse for the organisation I was in. And ever since then, I’ve been buried in data and driving insight. I’ve constantly been doing that and like loved it ever since really."
John Halpin: "Is there a difference between data offline and data online? If there is, what is the differences and are they used differently? And basically the answer is no. The channel is what’s different, offline and online. Data being captured from either source is relevant and very useful. And again, back to joining all this together. Organisation sometimes miss that point where their online presence is, what they do and it’s very different from the offline. But I always try and think about it as a customer, of an organisation, I don’t really care if I email an organisation or phone them up, if both sides of that sort of organisation understand what’s happened, I’m really impressed. You emailed us last week Mr Halpin. Christ, how did he know that? That’s really impressive. It’s joining that all together. It doesn’t really matter about the channels, about joining all that information together."
Having ‘data scientists’ to understand information
John Halpin: "Data is the blood – the lifeblood of any organisation. And people understand that. People who aren’t in the industry will say, “Yeah, it’s all about the data.” But when you get into that information and understand it, that’s where you need specialists. And that’s where it becomes a bit of a grey area and a bit of a mystical unknown for lots of people. Organisations have lots of data so that challenge has really gone. That was there 10 years ago because the cost of storing data has come right down. Most organisations have the information, but are they using it? Not really. So to me a data scientist, it’s about, what data do you have? Can it be used? Can it be put into a structure that we understand? All this has to happen before people get into the realms of modelling and segmentation and behavioural trend analysis, all wonderful stuff. But you’ve got to get the building blocks sorted out first. And certain industries, again, back to financial services, like I have, you’ve got to be really clear. There’s legislation round about, you have to have the legal right to talk to customers, some of the products, in terms of a legal perspective, you can’t sell to certain people.
I can’t really send things to people who are under 18 to buy a product that was, for certain products need an adult to buy. I’m breaking the law, I can’t do that. Now, that could be because the data we have, our data births that we captured are rubbish. So it’s this kind of information you’re thinking, right, we can’t do that. We’ve got some wrong information. So understanding the data is key for any organisation, before you go down the route most people want to talk about is more of like the insight and the analysis and trending and behavioural output, that’s great, but make sure your data’s right first place."
John Halpin: "In terms of, myself at the bank, we’ve got a lot of products and we launch products, products what people know, like mortgages for example, and we’re going to be launching that. And we’ve got general insurance products and savings products and credit cards. People know about that. But in terms of maybe the next product or enhancement of the product, it’s quite interesting. You can use some of the data in terms of, what do people think? So that moves what I do into more of a research, so with the colleagues that I deal with in terms of, well let’s speak to these people. Let’s create a piece of research based on their cross product holding or what they have now. If someone’s recently bought travel insurance, for example, from the organisation and I might want to tweak that product. I might want to offer it slightly different. I will speak to the person, find out what was his customer journey like, what would he think if he bought that again, maybe at a higher price but different features? So you can use this kind of information that’s held within a marketing database to drive that. And that will help in sort of the product insight. So it’s linking some of that with some of the other research that you can get widely available from the research agencies in the UK. But talking to your customers and again, back to channels and the power of what we do
I mean traditionally you could commission a piece of research. You can go outside into a shopping centre and ask people. You can phone people up. But nowadays email, internet, social media again, these channels can potentially be used. And that helps back more to another point you recently made about how quick you can do that. So if you know someone bought a product as of yesterday, how impressive would it be if that company got back to you and actually said to you, “Well how was your customer journey? How do you think? You bought this product. They actually tell you what product that they bought. And then do that within a week back to your buyer, that’s quite impressive. You know, and it sounds relatively straightforward, and companies should be doing that. But again, because of technology and systems and integration and that kind of thing, not a lot of companies can do that."
John Halpin: "Not great, I would say, in the life of the UK economy, certain areas and certain industries may be a bit better, but not that great. A lot of businesses will talk about being customer centric, you hear a lot of them talk about this. And you’re not empowering the customer, putting the customer at the heart of the business. But the technology behind that statement and the interaction of how to do it is very difficult. And if you’re a big organisation, if you’re a big bank, if you’re a big retailer, you know, if you’re a big pharmaceutical, doing all that is going to cost a lot of money. So we’re not that great, there’s lots of data being captured. I just read a snap this morning, 90% of all data captured on systems has been captured in the last two years. So 90% in the last two years, so my career being 20 years, it’s only basically been 10%. And 90% has been captured in the last two years. How you unlock that and how you use that is very difficult. And a lot of organisations, again, where I see and I’ve done this before as a consultancy, you go in, and you say, “The reason why Tesco has been very successful with Clubcard, because they know who the customers are and they know what their shopping behaviour is.” That kind of thing is the same with Sainsbury’s on Nectar card. They know who their customers are. So using that information, that’s what you need really to drive profit and drive trade and drive insight, get to know your customers, find out who they are. And that’s what we have to capture this, rather than, to me, rather than capturing transactional information, understanding the metrics. If you don’t know who the person is behind it, you’re going to struggle."
John Halpin: "At Tesco Bank there’s round about five million customers in the UK that we have, who have our products. We have a range of products, about 28, and counting, products in Tesco Bank. Besides all that data of customers and their information, there’s all the behaviour, all the transactions. So millions and millions of records of information that we own and we hold, we link that into Clubcard as well which everyone knows about, from Tesco stores. And we have all the information on their shopping basket and store behaviour as well, so millions and millions of rows of information."
John Halpin: “There’s a data explosion happening in the world and the industry now as well. There’s more and more data coming on board. You have got to start at some of the basics, you know, in terms of have you got the customer details right? Have you got their permission to talk to them and offer them offers and campaigns and interact with them and all these kind of basic pieces of information that you need, even before you go down the realms of transactional information and data mining and segmentation and modelling and that kind of thing. But there’s a constant battle about sort of, it might sound very interesting having multimillion rows of information, but actually using it doesn’t require that much."
John Halpin: “The big thing we’ve done is what I call building a marketing database. It sounds relatively straightforward, it’s my remit and the job’s what I’ve been tasked to do. You’d be, not surprised, but people would be surprised, a lot of organisations can’t actually do that and they fail. They might spend millions of pounds failing to do it. It’s the key achievements, it’s very different from operational databases and operational data stores. It’s linking all this data, it’s joining a customer, turning it into people, turning the data into a person. And ask that person, what products they have, how they interact, what loyalty factor they are. You can even start to segment the database into high, medium and low value, these kind of things, you can model that database, building that database is one step which is a big achievement and then maintaining that database. You know, as an organisation, you know, that’s constantly launching new products, each new product to me it’s got to go into the marketing database. So you never really stop building this thing, it’s constantly getting built, as we interact and talk to customers. We might need to store a contact history of that record, we’ll have to put that into the database. We might then have to link that into potentially social media interactions, link it into call centres. So can get bigger and bigger and bigger, but you’ve got to start off with the marketing database initially."
John Halpin: “It’s a problem but it’s an opportunity as well. It’s always there. It’s been in every organisation I’ve worked in, not just in financial services, but in retail services and other industries besides FS. But in terms of siloed data, a senior manager in database marketing, you’ve got to understand. You have to start somewhere. I can’t grab everything and build it all in one and say, “You know, I’m the master of my own domain, I’ve got all the information.” There’s always going to be a need for siloed data, in terms of an operational system a call centre. A call centre and what they store, how a dialler system works and how they interact and talk to customers is very different from a marketing database. An online social media data store and how that’s used and how people interact in social media is very different than a marketing database. Where I come from, in that is not so much joining those systems, it’s joining that data. So bringing that data in to maybe help me understand a mine of customers and look for any trends and behaviours. But there’s always going to be a need for different data sources within an organisation. The marketing database is separate and has separate keys for example. But you do have to understand that. This is what I say quite a lot to senior colleagues, marketing database, think of the words, marketing database. So it’s about marketing and helping the customer, my remit’s not really to make sure that the dialler system works or the online booking system works for example. It’s about the marketing side of the data."
John Halpin: “The real paradox for me are the interesting elements of that, how you link that into a business. And I don’t think no-one’s quite worked that one out in terms of social media conversations, it’s basically people speaking to each other about anything, you know. So where does the big blue business come into that? Where does some brand advocacy come into that? What you might see people twittering, oh, I like Tesco Bank because this product’s great, it’s quite interesting. But linking that into, does that mean they’re an advocate, they’re loyal, can we sell them something else? How can we use that piece of information? I don’t quite know. And you don’t see a lot of advertising at all within the social media space because it’s peoples’ downtime. They’re not really in work, it’s that kind of thing. So I think a lot of organisations, they understand that it’s interesting, big data again, having this information, the linking it, using it. You can see some trends in there. You have to be on the ball as well because they can spiral, in terms of a viral, completely snowball, if someone doesn’t like you and they tell a lot of other people they don’t like you. There’s going to be a lot of text coming in to say there’s thousands of people that have read that message. But how do you use that in terms of sort of selling stuff or in terms of trade? And I think it’s quite difficult. It just might be sort of a monitoring exercise and try your best to interact with those customers."
John Halpin: “You can spend a lot of time structuring the data. A lot of people aren’t really interested in that in organisations. It’s very technical. It’s very IT focused. You know lots of phrases and acronyms or words people don’t understand. But where you can bring people with you in terms of my roles I have to do that, bring people with you, is you turn that into insight. Now, insight could just be a pen portrait, a visualisation of the customer. And it could be as straightforward as, do you know who your customers are, Mr Guy who looks after savings products? And they might say, “Yeah, are people aged 50, they’ve got about 10 grand in their savings account”. They may be C1s, the majority live in the south of England. Great, and you could say, “Well factually, that’s not really right. The average is 35, they’ve only got £5,000 in them. You’ve got a higher propensity in Scotland than England, you know, you’ve got this little hotspot in South Wales” that kind of thing. They seem to be more loyal in Birmingham than Aberdeen. And you could drive things. And what I tend to find with specialist and commercial areas and product areas, they will know a lot of this stuff . But there’s always an element they don’t know. So you bring that data to life. A pen portrait is just a phrase, it could be a one page piece of information of what your customer actually physically looks like. You bring it to life. And once you get that engagement with colleagues in the organisation, that’s the first step for me. That’s one of potentially 20 things you could roll out and do and move that down, so you bring that to life. And when you start, again, what I say, you start dealing in fact. It’s not theory. It’s not based on theory. I think people are aged 50 in my database, well actually here’s what they are. So you start dealing in fact and that’s very powerful."
John Halpin: “A lot of people talk about big data and you see that quite a lot. But one thing I think that is big for me is more the security of that and sort of how secure is an organisation with your data? You know, again people, and people become more empowered. I’ve used that phrase a few times now, within their own data. Potentially legislation, the government might bring in where, organisations have to have permission to store data. It’s really interesting. But in terms of security, and how that’s governed, and again specifically on financial services, we’ve got very rigorous controls around security and risk in terms of how the data’s stored and captured and how it’s given out. So for example, for credit cards, we’ve got a good thing called PCI compliance, which basically means we’ve got to mash up the credit number, it can’t be visible, this kind of thing, because that’s a key piece of information. But you do see, you’re starting to see things in the news where companies get fined for, some poor bloke in an organisation threw away a manual with customer details in, threw away an old CD with customer details into a bin, it wasn’t encrypted. Someone’s found the CD. It’s got 10,000 records on there with someone’s credit card details. Companies, they get fined five million pounds just based on that, so it’s massive. So to me it’s all round about security and how that all links in and about permissions for customers."
AMANDA LING: "One of the kind of key challenges that we find for clients is bringing together the various different disparate sources of data. Insight is often held within an organisation in lots of different places, and this is generally because an organisation's systems will be set to run their business, so to run their operations, and so data is stored all across the organisation. And bringing those key important insights that can actually influence the customer journey together is critical, but often not that easy to do. Response One can help clients by not changing the internal processes or operational systems, by just taking different feeds of the very relevant data that can inform marketing strategy and pulling that together in very simple way to drive communications."