Perhaps the most important trend under Big Data’s umbrella is the ability to think outside the box. We have so much data at hand, there’s countless implications for how this will affect business, compounded knowledge and access to content as we know it. No one recognizes this better than Pete O’Leary, the VP of Customer Relations at analytics firm Quantivo. He has a clear vision of where data fits into the big picture, which he shares with us in this week’s Snapshot Profile Series.
O’Leary discusses the mobile industry’s impact on behavioral analytics, the untouched areas that can benefit from intelligent “decision making,” and what tomorrow’s data exchange marketplace looks like.
What role will mobile play in behavioral analytics?
According to CNet’s Steve Musil, mobile traffic already accounts for 7% of the total traffic on the Internet, so if you’re a CMO trying to analyze behaviors and reach customers on their platform of choice, providing your services and products on a mobile platform should be top priority. In the last few years, there have been tremendous efforts by companies to move their products and services on to mobile platforms in order to take advantage of that very fact, including retailers, brokers and financial services companies.
In terms of how behavioral analytics comes into play, the juiciest promise of mobile data stems from the way that mobile devices have become such an intimate and immediate part of our lives; they’re never more than a few feet away from us, 24 hours a day.
In turn, mobile devices provide a treasure trove of information on second-by-second behaviors that can be analyzed. Successful companies are finding resources, such as Quantivo, that enable them to collect and analyze data generated from their customers’ daily travels and experiences and these solutions are providing them with meaningful and unique approaches for marketing.
What are 3 areas of BI that big data has yet to impact?
Rather than answer this question relative to “BI”, let me answer the same question with “decision making” inserted instead. That’s what BI and analytics are for anyway: helping companies make better decisions.
The three areas of BI that are still stuck in the big data analysis “stone age” is: design, design and design! From my 20+ years of experience in analyzing competing BI systems, especially legacy ones, most every product that I’ve come into contact with could stand to lose complexity for the greater good of the user. Complexity puts the business user at a multitude of steps removed from gaining daily access to the data that they need in order to drive swift and critical business decisions based on what’s happening right now with their products, marketing and everything else in between.
How do you envision tomorrow’s data exchange marketplace?
The current challenge that companies are facing with data exchange is a constantly erratic and shifting legal environment. Consumers’ awareness and subsequent disdain of their data being exchanged has prompted newly enacted and constantly changing data rights laws with severe penalties if violated, such as obtaining the express permission of customers before sharing their data. Not surprisingly, this changing environment has encouraged the growth of a black market, if you will, of data exchange; happening in back alleys, with shady characters promising qualified information under the table, no questions asked.
What boggles my mind is why companies would go to such lengths to investment in information that they more than likely already have! Some have years of their actual customers’ buying habits locked away in database systems and, frustrated that they can’t analyze it, give up and go buy research studies, surveys and lists from third parties.
The future of tomorrow’s data exchange marketplace is going to be a legal hornet nest that is going to drive companies to either revisit and analyze those dusty database systems, or look to the growing black market to get what they need.
Behavioral analytics must make certain presumptions about a given demographic. What does “balancing the future” mean to you?
Whoa, who says behavioral analytics makes these presumptions? Real behavioral segmentation is completely independent of demographic information like age, race, gender or shoe size! In fact, the real power of behavioral analytics lies in searching for patterns in data that represent habits, trends or preferences; and only after recognizing these things, mixing in traditional demographic dimensions, to generate a complete profile of customers.
A new balance in data analytics will be reached at some point where demographic segmentation is actually gone. In other words, it won’t be a balance between behavioral and demographic segmentation. The latter is really just summarization that was done because the first computers – who were human beings – did the data crunching by hand. You had to categorize everything into a just a handful of values so that you could literally write it down on paper! We are heading towards a future where the number of dimensions used to “categorize” people’s behaviors will be far beyond what we can currently imagine.