Seventhman Blog

  1. Is Too Much Data Bad for Your Business?

    "data overload"While participating in another live #custserv chat on Twitter this 28th, I have been intrigued by this post from HBR blog that was shared by @ValaAfsharWhat Data Can’t Tell You About Customers.  How often do businesses really understand customers in a human level, and treat them not just some bunch of numbers?  There are vast amounts of information created these days that are supposed to help in business and customer intelligence.  Big data is fast becoming a household name where tech is concerned.  While these data can expose patterns in consumer behavior, the real issue is that it only shows you the tip of the iceberg.  There’s so much more to scratch beneath the surface.

    The Curse of Information Overload

    Our brains are equipped to handle just enough information before it reaches a breaking point.  Why does this even matter?  While new tools are created to aid in the gathering and analysis of consumer data where your product or service is concerned, studies suggest that you can only handle a few key details.  This means that too much information can lead you to making bad choices and decisions which will carry a detrimental effect to your business.  Though these data mined can be presented in some vanity metrics made to impress, that doesn’t mean what you see will be interpreted correctly.  You only have the what, where, when and how of things, but you are missing the most important link of them all – Why do your customers made those choices?

    Do You Really Know Your Customers that Well?

    In the race to automate the data gathering and interpretation process, we often neglect connecting with customers on a deeper level.  Understanding people is something that’s still a hit-or-miss among many businesses.  Customers are not just a token of transaction; you have to build trust and strengthen relationship with them to inspire brand loyalty as well.  The real issue here is that when we do surveys about our customers, we over-analyze things and assume that some factors weigh more than the rest.  This is why we see certain images or words in abstract things because our minds are designed to fill in the gap.  We can get carried away with the research we do, where we tend to emphasize minor details and irrelevant data.  The more we do this, the more we push ourselves away from getting to know our customers and hitting our goals right.

    Data Don’t Lie.. But Perceptions Do

    A perfect example how data misinterpretation can happen is the unemployment rate.  Governments may boast of lowering down the statistics, but if you ask those who are out job hunting, you might get a sneer.  When Oracle shared its report, From Overload to Impact:  An Industry Scorecard on Big Data Business Challenges , it is quite alarming that executives are saying they’re unprepared to handle the increase in data they gather.  Is it a surprise that businesses are losing revenue because they are challenged when it comes to managing and analyzing these huge amounts of info?  The numbers can be right.. but the way we interpret these are influenced by our beliefs, culture and external factors.  It’s like trying to decipher planets from stars just by gazing at the clear, night sky with our naked eyes.

    How do you separate what really matters from all of that data noise?  Perhaps, it’s time to rewire your brain and start on a clean slate..

  2. Embracing the Big Data

    "big data"Big data may not be new, but the buzz about it continues to grow each day.  We have created data so big that we can no longer work with them using traditional database management tools.  Did you know that we make as much as 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day?  By the word itself, data has become this huge that curating and analyzing it is a big challenge… which can become the next ‘big’ thing for companies wanting to capitalize on it.  Big data may be the hottest IT buzzword for 2012, and to find cost effective measures in working with this massive data is something that cloud architectures are targeting.  Now, even startups can rent server time cheaper than ever.

    Big Data: A Needle in a Haystack

    When data becomes too big and too fast for your database architecture, here’s where the problem sets in.  Data comes from almost everywhere like posts in social media sites, online videos, online sales transactions, GPS signals and so on.  The challenge now is how one can control the volume, velocity and variety of data streaming in – so you can gather business intelligence that will be useful to your organization.  These new types of data can definitely help make your business more agile, leading to faster growth and eventually, success.  Data is indeed valuable for analyzing things and to help you create new products.  It can reveal customer insights from various demographics.  Thus, in the end, it helps you gain a competitive advantage.  The only problem is that with size comes clutter.  So, how can you really manage?

    Creating Big Data Initiatives for Business Success

    I have come across a post lately featuring a study on how big data fueled the predictive analytics process on tracking  college students’ retention rate ( and it’s still a work in progress ).  Think of big data as an early warning device which can stop any organization from committing a costly mistake.  Come to think of it, information is the new commodity today and those who have the right info at their hands have the power to control the fate of their business.  The real issue perhaps that we will face is not only the security of maintaining this big data, but in finding the right people who will manage it.  Those who are specially trained for this job will know the value of data when it comes to your business, helping you sift through all the ‘mess’ and gather those data that you really need.  Because only meaningful data can drive business innovation, it is crucial for you to define internally what big data really means.

    Finding New Opportunities in Convergence

    Big data is more than just a thing for the curious; you need to have an entrepreneurial outlook to make it work.  This calls for a strategy, on how you can integrate a plan at every department so everyone can take accountability.  For example, you can work with your key persons to make sure that data is used correctly so it can deliver the best impact for your business.  You need to understand the why of using this data now and in the future, for you to make the right decisions if you’re implementing change in your business.  Of course, there will be issues when it comes to data quality so you need careful planning – from data collection to analysis.

    Big data fuels the heart of continuous improvement in your business, as you learn from the process and feedback from your stakeholders.  Your end goal is to save time and money so you can reach maximum ROI for your business.  Though not every business treats big data the same, the chance of finding practical ways to harness its powers will open a door to possibilities beyond what you can only start to imagine…

    Finding patterns in your data may be the first step.  What’s next?