Recently, I was asked to moderate a panel on big data and my panel members were Sandy Perlman, CMO for Points.com, Adam Eveline, VP Customer Insights & Portfolio Analytics for PC Financial, and Shelagh Stoneham, SVP/General Manager Brands & Marketing for Rogers Communications.
Big Data certainly garners a lot of discussion and the panel weighed in on both the value and the concerns related to it. They all agreed that organizations are increasingly leveraging data to inform decisions and strategy as well as improve customer service.
However, they added that organizations need to strike a balance between using data to better serve customers without becoming creepy or “big brotherish” and risk being perceived as having overstepped the bounds of customer privacy.
According to the panel, customers want organizations to leverage data to anticipate their needs and deliver relevance when they want it while still striking that balance between not being too “big brotherish” and delivering value.
They make it sound so easy but it does present some challenges. Not everyone feels the same way about privacy or the trade-off between sharing certain pieces of data about oneself in exchange for more relevant or targeted value.
User Push Back?
In the age of social media, friction-less sharing, and the continuing saga of Facebook and targeted ads, will users push back or increasingly accept that, in order to have their needs anticipated and receive relevant value, there could be a price to pay in terms of privacy.
Perhaps those that are gathering the data might help the situation by being more transparent about what data is being gathered, how it is being used, and ultimately what it will mean to users. That is not to suggest that such efforts are not already happening but to say that more effort along those lines could only help matters.
While there is an opportunity for relevant value for users, the big data being accumulated also provides value for a number of key business areas within the organizations gathering the data. The panel spoke about the fact that no one C-level person should own the data when it provided valuable insights to a number of different stakeholders.
The panel also went on to say that big data was also driving resourcing requirements for business intelligence and analysis now or in the very near future. This was of keen interest to the host of the event who specializes in recruitment in the business intelligence and analytics space.
I know that Big Data is a big topic but what is your take? Is the cost of relevant value, improved customer service, or targeted needs being met reasonable or too high in terms of the data that must be shared to achieve those things?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.