One major emergence from the Big Data debate especially in the Telco Industry is the sudden elevation of the focus on Customer Experience with QoE or Quality of Experience and CEM or Customer Experience management. With new and emerging technologies such as Near Field Communication (NFC), Machine to Machine (M2M) and Mobile Social Media Apps hitting the news every day like a Reality ‘Stars’ socializing antics; we are all fascinated by how much organisations either know, can find out or deduce about our lives: what we like / dislike, how much we may be worth to those organisations, what we already own and even where we physically are or will be in the next few minutes. All the minutiae of our lives and personalities laid bare to be pawed over, analysed and used to control us and eventually sell us yet more ‘stuff’.
If that sounds far too cynical and a recipe for a Consumer Big Brother nightmare enter the consumer benefits argument and there are definitely the potential for some great benefits for all of us.
What if the offer from a retailer you or your friends frequent and have just passed in the street was for something you actually wanted and wanted now; what if your power supplier knew it was an electric car you had just plugged in to recharge and could charge you at a lower rate and what if your GP phoned you up to remind you to take important medication when you forgot. Scary science fiction – no, really useful, possible and a definite benefit to our daily lives just as long as you had given your permission and this communications process and your personal information wasn’t being abused.
Quality of experience is all about the relevancy and timeliness of response. It’s complex and what we like / dislike differs and changes not just between every person on the planet but also at different times of day, places, ages, during various activities, etc. But with this huge wealth of data from transactions and now interactions and even reactions we can start to use this Big Data resource to understand our customers better and provide a better QoE to all of them.
But and it is an extremely large BUT, it is all down to Permission. In gathering all this personal information and linking together different data sources it can be very likely that you may find out things about your customers that you may not want to know. Knowing that your customers may have life threatening illnesses, political views or lifestyles you don’t agree with may be relevant if you are their GP or a law enforcement agency but if you are a Banker, a Telco Operator or a Retailer this may put you into an untenable position.
So the control and management of your Big Data resource – consumer permissions and preferences, anonymisation of data and regulatory compliance and auditability, is most probably the most important area to address in extracting a lasting Return on Data.
Firstly, getting all the data together to give a holistic view of the consumer is no easy task and issues such as transformation of data formats possibly from partners outside your organisation, data stitching to create a 360 degree view of specific events and standardizing the meaning of terms across your enterprise with Master Data Management (MDM) are just the first step.
Next, you must decide upon the timeliness and therefore relevancy of this data with data from historical records being integrated with live data. And how quickly do you want to be able to respond to these inputs – in real time is not always necessary and can often ‘spook’ the poor customer if immediate actions are not necessary. With huge volumes of Data and therefore potentially huge number of actions being commenced, how to manage them automatically will need the implementation of Complex Event Processing (CEP).
And finally the management of Permissions, Privacy and Regulatory Compliance (different geographies different legal requirements) with Persistent and Dynamic Data Masking and visible Auditing and Authorisation controls.
And all of this is just for starters – what you then do with this Big Data and how you analyze it to enrich your CEM process is a whole new head ache but one that is only achievable if you’ve already constructed the correct foundations of your Big Data and customer information strategy to provide timely, relevant and trustworthy data.
Like most people, if you provide me with valuable insight at the right time when I’ve agreed to share my personal data with you I’ll be happy and prepared to do more business with you. But if you abuse this relationship or misuse this data then our relationship will be irretrievably damaged. I can’t tell you what always makes a good experience but I definitely know when it doesn’t happen – so as you get to know more about me, and you will with the Big Data revolution, there won’t be any golden bullet just a long and careful learning curve.