Collecting loads of data is the easy part. Using that data creatively and effectively...that’s a different story altogether. Whenever I drop my car off at the garage for repairs or service, the guy behind the counter takes my keys and has access to information on how many kilometres I’ve driven, my rev counter usage, that kind of thing. All relatively basic information regarding my driving behaviour.
But that’s only because my car is pretty old. In the latest generation of cars this data is more efficient, expansive and all live! Everything the driver does, the manufacturer sees. They know how often you use the seat heating, and for how long. GPS gives them information on know where their cars are driving at all times of day, which warning lights are flashing, which service stations are used for refuelling, how often the seat belts are used, whether an airbag has gone off, you name it. All very functional and a great way to continually improve the production of cars.
But they also look at which telephones are linked via Bluetooth, the names in that phone’s address book, who called, what songs were played on Spotify… No kidding, your car knows more about you than you do! Amazing stuff. As a data nerd, I think it’s incredibly cool they can see all this…but what on earth do they want it for? Or, better still, what on earth do they do with it? Why is this data being collected in the first place? What is the key question behind it? Or is it a question of: …Not because we need it, but because we can…
Collecting data is easy! In fact, there are many businesses out there whose main focus is on collecting as much data as possible, or at least setting up all kinds of links to be able to collect that data. And so you have all that information on one big heap… what next? Well, you are the proud owner of stacks of data. But can you do anything useful with that data? Did you collect the right data? Or did you simply sweep all the data you already had onto one big pile? The focus is usually on data that is readily available. But where’s the focus on the data you actually need? On the data that’s going to help you make a positive difference in the mind of the consumer, before your competitor does?