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That’s not ‘Big Data’, that’s MY DATA!

Personal DataFor the past few years, the press has been buzzing about the potential value of Big Data. However, there is little coverage focusing on the data itself – how do you get it, is it accurate, and who can be trusted with it?

We are the source of data that is often spoken about – our children, friends and relatives and especially those people we know on Facebook or LinkedIn.  Over 40% of Big Data projects are in the sales and marketing arena – relying on personal data as a driving force. While machines have no choice but to provide data when requested, people do have a choice. We can choose not to provide data, or to purposely obscure our data, or to make it up entirely.

So, how can you ensure that your organization is receiving real information? Active participation is needed to ensure a constant flow of accurate data to feed your data-hungry algorithms and processes. While click-stream analysis does not require individual identification, follow-up sales & marketing campaigns will have limited value if the public at large is using false names and pretend information.

BCG has identified a link between trust and data sharing: 

“We estimate that those that manage this issue well [creating trust] should be able to increase the amount of consumer data they can access by at least five to ten times in most countries.”[i]

With that in mind, how do you create the trust that will entice people to share data? The principles behind common data privacy laws provide guidelines. These include:  accountability, purpose identification and disclosure, collection with knowledge and consent, data accuracy, individual access and correction, as well as the right to be forgotten.

But there are challenges in personal data stewardship – in part because the current world of Big Data analysis is far from stable.  In the ongoing search for the value of Big Data, new technologies, tools and approaches are being piloted. Experimentation is still required which means moving data around between data storage technologies and analytical tools, and giving unprecedented access to data in terms of quantity, detail and variety to ever growing teams of analysts. This experimentation should not be discouraged, but it must not degrade the accuracy or security of your customers’ personal data.

How do you measure up? If I made contact and asked for the sum total of what you knew about me, and how my data was being used – how long would it take to provide this information? Would I be able to correct my information? How many of your analysts can view my personal data and how many copies have you distributed in your IT landscape? Are these copies even accurate?

Through our data quality, data mastering and data masking tools, Informatica can deliver a coordinated approach to managing your customer’s personal data and build trust by ensuring the safety and accuracy of that data. With Informatica managing your customer’s data, your internal team can focus their attention on analytics. Analytics from accurate data can help develop the customer loyalty and engagement that is vital to both the future security of your business and continued collection of accurate data to feed your Big Data analysis.


[i] The Trust Advantage: How to Win with Big Data; bcg.perspectives November 2013

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