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Big data and the digital renaissance

By October 29, 2014 No Comments

Operators have been busy, particularly in the area of enterprise architecture management, designing and constructing platforms to enable marketing personnel and other business units to access information pertinent to their functions and to become more autonomous in this pursuit.  Investments are being made in areas such as CRM and fulfillment to help the operator different and compete in the market. Among the working group operator contingency in attendance, there was general agreement that technology advancements are helping operators to become more productive and more responsive while also reducing the total cost of ownership.  They were less certain however, if the same technology advancements are the driving force for new business model creation. Customer behavior motivates most operator strategies and the technology is the means of delivery.  As Operators struggle to maintain margins with the continuous decline in ARPU, new business services provide the best path for delivering data monetization and revenue growth.   

The recurring theme from the big data debate focused on finding that elusive value. Figures from IDC, point to the phenomenal growth of the ‘Digital Universe’, with a staggering two-thirds of data produced coming from consumers themselves through social media interactions and uploads.  KPMG observed in a report earlier this year that all this transparent data provides “the potential to yield patterns that help solve basic and previously unsolvable problems”.  But has it?   We can now see more, see different, dig deeper then ever before.  Surprisingly however, of all the data produced, IDC estimate about 34% of data produced is ‘useful’ and only 1% of it is actually analyzed.

Tools to analyze big data are beginning to emerge in different areas.  Tools for  analyzing security videos, tools for analyzing viewing habits to make recommendations, tools to analyze output of wearable devices, healthcare records, connected car sensors, app transactions and usage, to mention just a few.  And we are beginning to see problems being solved as a result of these analytic tools, for example savings in energy costs, motor fuel consumption costs, and efficiencies in time to arrive at the answer, due to increased analytic processing speed.   

Clive Humby first coined the phrase that ‘Data is the new Oil’ of the 21st Century. We know vast quantities of ‘oil’ still wait to be discovered, refined and transformed.  But what is the data telling us?

Back in the 14 Century much of Europe experienced the Renaissance, characterized by increased reliance on observation, reflection and enhanced understanding. According to historians, the Renaissance brought about an intellectual transformation, bridging the gap between the middle and modern age.  In today’s digital age, we now have the technology capability and analytic tools to perform big data refinement and processing however we are only at the very early stages of insight discovery.  We are witnessing the dawn of the Digital Renaissance, and who knows what insights will be garnered and revealed if we take the time to step back to observe and understand what the data is telling us.