The data revolution

By Chris Averill, CEO & Founder

February 8, 2016   

We all know that mobile usage is exploding and businesses around the world are scrambling to get in the game. In fact, mobile has probably been the biggest disrupter in recent years leading to the acceleration of digital interaction and precipitating huge product and service change.

That’s because, thanks to mobile devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) , power is now in the hands of the user. As a result service culture has had to adapt dramatically in the way businesses respond to consumers. In fact, businesses now need to make sure that they stay relevant. Mark my words, those that haven’t adapted will disappear very fast.

And those that simply can’t disappear such as government funded banks and so on, are increasingly spending large amounts of money trying to understand this new digital and mobile world as they struggle to stay abreast of ever-changing trends.

The growing data challenge

The rise of mobile and digital is also of course creating unprecedented amounts of data, which has spawned an entire industry.

According to IBM there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created every day and as a result many industry verticals are now talking about hiring data scientists to capitalise on their ability to make sense of the vast amounts of data, spot behavioural patterns, inefficiencies and forecast potential opportunities.

And when we talk about all this data, we’re not just talking about big data, we are also talking about is the ubiquity of personal data. This is the quantified self and the self-knowledge that comes through self-tracking with wearable technologies like Fitbit and the Apple Watch. Now individuals can gain unprecedented insights into their own daily behaviors through these self-quantification technologies, ultimately empowering them to make healthier daily decisions.

The challenge for businesses however is determining what to do with all this data. Sure you can create algorithms to make it useful to mine organise and search, but with so much data at our fingertips, it is also about understanding how best to utilise the data in order to enhance our businesses, enhance our customer relationships and ultimately deliver better services to consumers.

Do we need data scientists in our business?

There is a lot of talk in the media right now about data scientists being the new coders and that hiring data scientists will show us the way forward. I would argue though that it is not just about hiring a bunch of data scientists when we don’t know what to do with them and we don’t really know why we have hired them. Quite frankly paying big salaries for such talent, and then bedding them into an organisation requires a massive leap of faith.

Whilst we might have a lot of data that we want to mine I would question what is the use of information without purpose? We first have to understand what problem we are trying to solve. Otherwise we can’t really do anything meaningful with that data. It almost feels like data has become the new marketing – what we have is a solution looking for a problem and we don’t yet know what the problem is.

Therefore what organisations need is a long term strategy to better understand ‘needs and problems’ from a customer perspective before they dive into crunching through volumes of data. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the mobile revolution is that experiences begin and end with the customer. I believe the interaction between customers and technology is all about uncovering the value from a customer point of view, how will the data make the customer experience better, how will the information we have gleaned enable us to do things differently and enhance the service to the end user.

The Internet of Things – the next major disruptor

Data obsession is captivating both the consumer and businesses alike as we work to understand how to make best use of it. I actually believe that the explosion of data is going to be more powerful than mobile itself and over time I predict that we will see the death of mobile as we know it. With the rise of the Internet of Things and the Internet of Everything there will be a huge and fundamental shift. As we start to make things intelligent, this will become a major engine for creating new products and new services. Out of all the technology trends of the moment the Internet of Things will be the most disruptive, driving major opportunities over the next five years.

That said, all of this will succeed or fail based on trust. Whatever new products and services we deliver, consumers need to be able to trust that we will deliver what they need and want. And in my view the only way to build trust is to truly understand your customer and that means taking a customer first approach. Going back to my earlier remark, you can have all the data in the world but if you are not delivering something meaningful in the eyes of the customer, if it is not solving a problem and enhancing a service, it is worthless. I firmly believe that data is set to create the next revolution, a revolution that will be even bigger than mobile which has arguably been the biggest disrupter of the last decade.

If you are looking to adopt new ways of thinking in order to drive a customer first approach and deliver better services- please get in touch, we’re here to help – LDN@hellowae.com