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Onecom blog post

How important is big data to the world of communications?

Onecom ,

98% of data is now stored digitally*. Big data is defined as any data sets that are too large or complex to be managed and processed by traditional applications or software. The growth of big data is mainly down to the increase in capture of personal data, growth of video and real-time data, plus the growth of our “Internet of Things” in almost every business world-wide.

The challenges of big data are not just in its capture and storage, but in the analysis thereof, sharing, privacy and transfer. How do businesses use the data in a responsible, compliant and useful manner ?

The role of Head of Marketing, or CMO, in a communications company is almost unrecognisable from 10 years ago. In the age of big data, digitisation, globalisation, the CMO is no longer looking for ad space, or direct mailing their customers, they now employ CRM and website developers, in vast numbers, whether through an agency or direct in their teams. The goals are the same : to position brand, to communicate to prospects, attract and retain customers, and attract investment, but the methods and teams are completely changed.

So, how does big data impact the communications world ?

Firstly, data protection, cookies, collection of personal data are all governed and regulated by Ofcom the telecoms regulator, and the governments Data Protection laws, so this has to be done inline with the appropriate rules and guidelines, such as asking for permissions, securing personal and corporate details, not sharing data with 3rd parties, and being responsible with outbound marketing and telemarketing. Including important elements such as opt-out buttons, and enabling users to unsubscribe easily are mandatory to comply.

Secondly, what we then do with all that data is key. Analytics on the data sets are where the real benefits lie; being able to predict user behaviour by analysing data sets, enabling preventative healthcare, managing public welfare and safety, and many other examples, are all enabled via the internet of things. More and more data is captured daily. It is said that Facebook now knows more about individuals habits and behaviour through our clicking, sharing and liking, than we even know about ourselves. When a major retailer such as Tesco or Walmart analyse the millions of transactions created every day, you can see how that data can soon become invaluable in forecasting demand, creating patterns of user purchases, and intentions, and suggesting users buy something before they know they need it themselves.

Using Big Data to improve the positioning of a company and to differentiate it from its competitors is a great strategy to achieve a competitive advantage. Being responsible with that data and making it work for your company is the challenge.

 * Wikipedia, 2017

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