In America, the White House signals its innovation priorities by announcing Presidential Innovation Fellowships where experts from the public and private sectors team up for a “tour of duty” to tackle a hot topic. The latest Fellowships, announced in February, include disaster response and recovery, 21st Century financial systems - and “MyData Initiatives”.
Here, says the White House, the team “will work with public sector and private sector organisations to continue to expand the ability for Americans to securely and privately access their own data from wherever it might be, and encourage the development of private-sector tools and services that help people utilise their own data for their own benefit.”
Now there’s a thought. For decades, experts have worked hard to maximise the value of customer data to companies. But what about maximising the value of customer data to customers? If companies can use customer data to drive analytics, spot trends, gain new insights, support decisions, target activities and realise administrative efficiencies, couldn’t customers do the same or something similar?
The White House aren’t the only ones asking this question. In fact, the UK led the way with its midata initiative to persuade companies to release the data they hold on customers back to those customers in machine-readable form so they can use the data for their own purposes. Legislation to back midata in the current account, credit card, energy and mobile phone industries reaches the House of Commons this month. And if draft EU Data Protection Regulations are passed in their current form, this right “to obtain from the controller a copy of the data undergoing processing in an electronic and structured format which is commonly used and allows for further use by the data subject” will be enshrined in European law.
This simple idea of customer data as a tool and asset in the hands of the customer is now spinning out in many directions. To manage and use their own data better, individuals will need specialist tools and services to help them - hence an explosion of interest in personal data stores, lockers, and clouds which do just this.
Data market leaders such as Tesco are revisiting their data with new eyes: having mined the data for corporate gold, can they mine it again, this time for diamonds of customer value? Tesco has a new “Product Manager: MyData” whose job it is to provide Clubcard customers with “simple, useful, fun access to their own data to help them plan and achieve their goals.”
Meanwhile, a growing number of banks are realising that providing customers with information services that help them use their data to manage their money better can offer them the chance to add value and re-build trust in low cost, efficient ways (“What are banks for? Customer Loyalty in Retail Banking”
For the last 50 years, we’ve done many wonderful things with Customer Data 1.0 - customer data as a tool in the hands of organisations. There’s a whole lot more we can with Customer Data 2.0 - customer data as a tool in the hands of the customer. Are you on top of it?