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Don’t Gamble on Big Data.

11th February 2015 · Our Thoughts

shutterstock_234375130Disciplined analysis is a key to unlocking business success.

2015 is the year of the Internet of Things and Big Data. That is the message being championed by almost all technology based companies, and it’s clear to see why.

Understanding data is akin to studying race horse form – if mined and analysed properly it can provide a step by step guide to success (admittedly with a little bit of luck thrown in).

For example, this week Netflix revealed details of how their self-produced smash hit series House of Cards hit our screens.

After analysing what is certain to be petabytes of data collected from their subscribers and using the knowledge much like a punter studies a form guide at Aintree studies, a pattern emerged.

People who like Kevin Spacey and watch his films also watched the original House of Cards series. Not only that but they rated both highly. You can hear that meeting in your head already can’t you? ‘A bankable star and a renowned series = millions in revenue’, ’go make it happen’.

The ensuing political series ran for thirteen episodes and was both a hit with critics and audience alike garnering it a slew of awards. With this hindsight it’s clear to see how simple the decision to commission the series was.

Netflix’s success came from understanding its customers on a deeper level and this can only be achieved with effective data management and analytical skill.

Big data and the Internet of Things have raised questions as to security, privacy and ownership, all of which are valid and necessary, but data collected can result in both business and customer happiness a win:win situation. Data has to be at the heart of the decision making process with the analytical process empowering the organisation.

eBay have taken a novel approach to the trust challenge by placing analytics under the finance function which has ensured involvement, credibility and neutrality.

Davide Cervellin, Head of EU Merchant Analytics at eBay Inc, one of the keynote speakers at next month’s CloudExpo* in London, recently stated in an interview: “We have the ability to measure many things, almost everything, but the major challenge is to make sure that what we do is relevant to the business. Every insight that we deliver must generate a business action.

“We spend a lot of time trying to define what we believe will have an impact on business results. All that we need to do after that is to make sure that we resist the temptation to conduct analysis out of curiosity and we solely focus on what can drive our core numbers.”

Whatever the product, this is the future of product development. Collect the data, store it properly, analyse it and then ask it the right questions and more often than not, you will find that your failure rate is smaller.

The Internet of Things will continue to produce data on a tsunami like scale and provide even more chances to understand consumer behaviour but it will also generate more confusion, blind alleys, and a lot of distraction. The key is a strong focus, a disciplined approach to analysis and constant re-evaluation of the finding and results.

Much like the Aintree Punter, backing any horse to win is a gamble but by diligently studying the odds you reduce the risk.

Big Data analytics could be the safest bet for business yet.

 

Andy Croghan

Digital & Social Media Coordinator

*iomart will be appearing at CloudExpo on stand 220. London Excel Arena 11-12th March 2015

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