Billionaires are a curious bunch. Many of them seem determined to solve problems which they think the rest of us have, even when we have barely raised a complaint. Take commuting. To a worker trying to get to the factory or office everyday, traffic delays and train cancellations may be the subject of grumbles over morning tea. If anybody is at fault, it is seen as the infrastructure operators for failing to invest enough to increase capacity. That is not how billionaires see it. Rather than putting money into railroads, as their spiritual antecedents would have done, they view it as a data management issue. Improving journey-to-work times could be a doddle, if only all workers agreed to sign up to an information exchange that would optimise their commute. LUUM is the latest such attempt...
In an always-on, multi-channel world of wireless devices and social media, there’s never been a greater amount – and variety – of information available to retailers. And it’s never been more important for retailers to use that information in order to meet their own business goals and create a seamless, consistent customer experience. Today’s consumers are equally comfortable shopping online, in-store or via their mobile device. Regardless of the channel or touchpoint they use to browse or make their purchases, however, they expect the retail experience to be consistent and satisfactory. The results of a survey that we carried out last year demonstrated that the majority of retailers are aware of this demand for consistency, and understand that they may...
If you have been using a dating website recently and assumed the matches it gave you had a data-driven scientific basis, you could be in for a big surprise. In a blog admission that has gained huge publicity, US-based OKCupid.com (owned by Match.com) has revealed a number of experiments it has run to test the quality of its matching algorithms. In one case, it swapped the results around so people with a 90 per cent match were told it was only 30 per cent and vice-versa. (You can read in more detail here.) Turns out that if you tell them they are compatible, they will get into a conversation - tell them they are not and they won’t. So far, so placebo. What that outcome reveals is the role of expectations in conditioning how humans behave. This was further proven by another of OK...
Tesco has had a challenging week, with the departure of its chief executive (just shy of his 40th anniversary with the retailer) ahead of a profit warning. Shares in the company have fallen significantly as investors worry how the grocery chain can turn its fortunes around. Some have even started to voice the once unthinkable - it could be time to ditch the Clubcard loyalty scheme and plough its costs into new promotional activities and price cuts. So is it time to redeem whatever points you may have accumulated and dump your Clubcard on the assumption that Tesco might wind up the programme? Here are three reasons to do so: Competitors are cheaper - and don’t care who you are Go to Aldi or Lidl (as may of Tesco’s customers have been doing) and you will not be asked for a...
Big data analytics is the science and art of bringing information and context together. There seem to be discussions of what big data can offer organisations everywhere and the majority are investing fortunes in the technology required to store and process the terabytes or petabytes of data. Investments here are necessary - compliance regulations, business continuity, recovery storage and business intelligence (BI) tools are increasingly part of the technology fabric in all industries.  However, there is growing confusion and frustration with the current output from funding a BI strategy. CIOs and CFOs spend millions on producing key charts and data to validate their corporate strategy, yet the gap between the plan and outcome is leaving many scratching their heads over the...
When a White Stuff store is celebrating the anniversary of its opening, you might expect the manager and staff to make a fuss. What you might not expect is for its customers to bring in birthday cakes. Yet that is exactly what happens. In a reflection of the depth of engagement which they feel with the brand, consumers join in - or even initiate - activities that marketers have historically had to drive. CRM manager for the brand, Stuart Crawley, shared this anecdote at the DataIQ Marketing Technology Breakfast Briefing on 9th July. Beyond just the feel-good factor which results, there are important implications for the retailer and its data-driven marketing. Without running a loyalty programme and offering no incentives at all, between 80 and 90 per cent of customers purchasing in-...
Google has just acquired the music search engine Songza. But this move is about so much more than just music. It is about data and offers a tantalising glimpse of Google’s vision for the future. Songza is a music-streaming service curated by 50 “music experts”, crafted not only to match people up with the music genres and artists they enjoy, but to complement their moods and activities. Google has said that it is looking to incorporate Songza features into its Google Play and YouTube platforms, while leaving the original Songza service intact for existing subscribers.  So, while this acquisition might not mean much to us in the UK and Europe - nearly 98 per cent of the 40 million visits to the Songza website in the past six months have come from the US and...
Confusion reigns around the nature of the job description for being a data scientist. As you will rapidly discover if you look into it, most of what gets done under this term is in fact conventional data analytics. Taking a set of data, testing a hypothesis, then building a model or segmentation to apply to a new data set - these are well established practices. So it is handy that the Home Secretary has just provided a perfect description of what true data science is really about. The fact that she did so in the context of defending the right of the security services to access communications data in order to track terrorists - and claimed ordinary citizens suffer no invasion of their privacy as a result - is a subject for another day. Here’s how she defined the work of GCHQ:...
Over dinner at the IQ Talent Awards night last week, Clive Humby told an interesting tale about the staff in his new business. The company took on five new analysts and gave them that job title to begin with. As it became obvious the task of exploring social media data was much more complex and required new approaches, he took the decision to start calling them “data scientists”. That was when the interesting thing happened - approaches to those practitioners via LinkedIn not only proliferated significantly, but the posts they were being offered came with an additional £30,000 in salary compared to what was available when they were merely analysts. I mentioned something very similar when chairing the DataIQ NOW! conference back in May. Somebody tweeted my comment...
Forget what you may have read. The ruling against Google by the European Court of Justice has not created a “right to be forgotten” or anything like it. No such right exists, although it may be created when the Data Protection Regulation resumes its path through the EU’s legislative process. What the case has done, however, is create a number of important precedents. And another, almost overlooked ECJ ruling, has done more to impose limits on how long data may be kept. Google is now a data controller The most important effect of the case is to put Google (and any other search engine) in the position of a data owner, rather than a company which just processes information. As with other cases against online intermediaries - especially those brought by copyright owners...