Research Association New Zealand urges businesses to turn big data into smart data

  • Technology
  • February 16, 2017
  • Courtney Devereux
Research Association New Zealand urges businesses to turn big data into smart data
Tony Mitchell, Datamine Consultant and Key Speaker

Research Association New Zealand (RANZ) expressed the importance of businesses and corporations tuning their stored data into smart data to better market to customers at the RANZ first professional development seminar this week. We headed along to see what it was all about.

Tony Mitchell, consultant for Datamine New Zealand and host of the event, says businesses have an internal and external source of data, but it’s the way in which business use it that is important.

“Big data is painful unless you can turn it into smart data… Smart data helps to build the model based on customer purchases.”

The process of turning big data into smart data is useful for businesses that need to use their sources to properly market to customers on a more personal level.

“There is a gap in the marketplace to understand the client… Customers shift, they change. Data can ensure the correct way to connect with these customers,” says Mitchell.

The seminar, hosted at New Zealand Marine Centre, was a look into how changes in the marketplace are parallel to changes in global trends, and how organisations are using them to their advantage.

Robert Bree, CEO of RANZ stated that their goal is to providing inspiration in the fields of research, analytics and insights.

“Our aim is to develop and grow the information economy in New Zealand thus building our nation’s social and business economies.”

Mitchell stated that the trend of data is becoming more popular as businesses are given the opportunity to change their behavior. Yet some smaller independent retailers are reluctant to include themselves in the data hunt.

“There is a lot of fear when it comes to investing too much, but you don’t have to invest much, there are software and services out there to help.”

Larger corporations such as Fonterra, Air New Zealand and select insurance companies are some examples of corporations using their extensive customer data to target each individual based on user information.

“It's not about the tools they use, because technology is improving all the time. For me, the number one thing is how you tell a story using this data. How you set it up, how you share it and then how it affects the rest of the organisation,” says Mitchell.

Mitchell’s top advice for clients he deals with, is to create a single customer view through machine learning; the collection of a whole lot of information and the attributes it shows.

“This means [businesses] can target a specific message and figure out the behavior of a single customer using all the information they have in their system, both internal and external. It's about the data, but it's about the process you go through as a business to ensure you’ve got the right information.”

Those who know how to turn big data into smart data are called ‘data scientists’, and their expertise— in collecting the data and using it to answer questions—makes it a simple process.

The process of a data scientist profiling a business involves listening to a business, defining internal information and creating a diagram that shows relationships of every single system.

For businesses, the advice from Mitchells comes in four parts:

1)    Don’t stop learning

2)    Get your head around your data strategies

3)    Learn your catalyst projects

4)    Know that third parties need to know where they can fit and how they can help

Big corporations can largely benefit from turning their big data into smart data, but does the same work for smaller independent retailers with lesser storage? Mitchell states that no, size doesn’t matter, but the level of time to understand what’s capable is the only barrier.

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