Data: it’s all about trust

Data: it’s all about trust

News this week that Unroll.me has been busy selling customer data really gets to the crux of why there is a need for better data management and governance.

People need to be able to trust companies, not worry that when they sign up for a web service allowing them to unsubscribe en masse from mailing lists, newsletters and other email annoyances, they are only to discover that in order to monetise this free service, their personal data is being sold.

This is why GDPR is needed and it can’t come fast enough.

As the value of data increases, consumers trust in organisations to manage it properly is rapidly decreasing. Revelations such as Unroll.me selling aggregated data about users to the very apps they were unsubscribing from doesn’t help.

People are starting to lose trust in the internet because their personal data is such a valuable commodity and they know it. This is why there is a desperate need for better data management and governance.

As data scientist Bradley Voytek famously said while at Uber: “I don’t need to know everything about everybody. I just need to know a little bit about a whole bunch of people.” But these people have a right to know what this is and how their data is being used. They do not need to be told that they should have read the small print.

In data we trust

Whilst the desire to improve the customer experience is at the heart of Big Data it often isn’t being managed well. Clearly, the more relevant data that is gathered, the more personalised the experience for customers but this does mean that the importance of having excellent processes in place to capture and manage data is more crucial than ever if companies want to get it right.

Those that succeed will be the ones who can properly leverage both data and technology to make customers’ lives better. They will also be the ones that consumers trust.

Proponents of data value management have long urged organisations to see data as a corporate asset and they are right. Just like any asset organisations should attach cost and value to their data but it is clear that only a small minority of market leaders are doing this.

The majority only consider data in this way when a specific requirement rears its head.  Often this will be a regulatory change such as GDPR.

We need consumers to trust us

This is understandable as the cost of entry into the data value management club can be high.  There are software costs, management consulting costs and technical implementation costs. The promise of return on investment from data governance has in the past needed to be cast iron. But waiting until a project demands better data management is simply too risky.

Act now

Action is needed now to ensure consumer trust is maintained in online services. And there’s much that needs to be done, from identifying all your key stakeholders, setting up a steering committee and nominating data stewards, to defining data related rules and processes, implementing data quality related processes and assigning decision rights and accountabilities. This all needs to be done properly and in time for GDPR.

If you’re keen to get going and want to get ahead of the game find out more by reading myBench’s latest Ask the Experts Report or attend one of our regular ‘Knowledge Bench’ events.

 

Click here to register to receive MyBench’s ‘Ask the Experts’ GDPR report

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Why we should welcome GDPR

Why we should welcome GDPR

There has been much discussion of GDPR in recent months and this is only set to increase ahead of May next year. It’s fair to say that there has been a general feeling of confusion and trepidation around the new regulation, but it is time for organisations to start focusing on the positives it can bring in terms re-connecting with customers and offering them an improved brand experience.

Getting your house in order 

GDPR offers a real opportunity for organisations to review current practices and get their data management and governance in order. Advocates of data value management have long urged organisations to see data as a corporate asset and now is the perfect time to do that. Just like any asset, businesses should attach cost and value to their data.

By establishing what ‘good’ looks like (something that will vary depending on the nature of a particular business) and constantly asking ‘where’s the value?’, Organisations can start to better measure the effectiveness of their data strategy and in turn make more use of data to improve the customer experience.

Re-engaging with customers 

As well as harnessing data to improve the customer journey, GDPR also presents a real chance for businesses to re-engage with customers and educate them on the benefits of data sharing. People are often increasingly reluctant to part with data and organisations need to demonstrate the value exchange involved. This includes improved service, a better understanding of customer needs and a better brand experience.

Getting ahead of the game 

By taking this approach, businesses can also get ahead of the game in terms of allaying any fears individuals may have around how their data is gathered and used. Many people may have no real idea of exactly what happens to their data and with GDPR looming, there is a real danger that common misconceptions around data use and storage will be magnified.

Showing that they have strong, secure data governance strategies in place can go a long way in fostering consumer trust and helping to build strong brand relationships, something which is good for everyone.

 

Register here to read myBench’s ‘Ask the Experts’ GDPR report.

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GDPR aside we have a moral obligation to protect data

GDPR aside we have a moral obligation to protect data

With GDRP looming and businesses grappling to understand its complexities ahead of May next year, there is a real opportunity to stop and think about how customer data is handled. Putting GDPR anxieties aside we have a moral obligation to protect data and GDPR provides a real opportunity for businesses to get this right.

What’s GDPR all about?

  • General Data Protection Regulation rules will be applicable by May 25th 2018 to all organisations that operate in the EU market
  • The regulations are extra-territorial. Overseas firms doing business in the EU market are subject to it. Even with Brexit, UK organisations will still be affected
  • The fines are serious; data breaches can generate fines of €10m or 2% of
    annual revenue. Wider or consequential breaches of its provisions will generate fines of €20m or 4% of revenue
  • Consumers have enhanced rights so they have control over who has their data and where it is stored
  • Consent to use data must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous for each purpose for which the data is being processed
  • The regulation applies (with some nuances) to both the data controller and data processor
  • right to data portability will make it easier for individuals to transmit personal data between service providers.

What does this mean?

In an age where data underpins everything we do this heralds a new era for businesses. GDPR is all about giving control back to consumers and making companies more responsible for their data management, with company directors becoming personally liable for data management processes.

Compliance is one thing. However, if you do this right then GDPR could be the catalyst for very positive outcomes in your business.  The organisations that lead the response to this challenge will be seen as innovators, as brands with a social conscience who are protecting their customers.

There has always been a strong business case for better information management, solid information governance and sensible information lifecycle management – but there is a moral obligation to get this right as well.

 

Register here to read myBench’s ‘Ask the Experts’ GDPR report

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Adobe Campaign Management – get it right first time!

Adobe Campaign Management – get it right first time!

Marketing automation doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. It doesn’t even need to be difficult to prove ROI. Not if you get the implementation right first time.

With Adobe Campaign Management there are some core considerations to ensure you deliver consistent campaigns everywhere, first time.

Take a look at our checklist to find out more about ‘Getting Adobe Campaign Management right first time’, so you get off to the best start with Adobe Campaign Management.

Advice:

Thinking about implementing Adobe Campaign Management and want to get it right first time?

The golden rule is to make sure you have a clear Requirements Definition – this is the most important stage in the entire process.

Here’s our checklist on how to do this:

  1. Identify who your stakeholders are – both inbound and outbound
  2. Identify what channels the solution will be supporting – do you have a native engine or do you require API integration?
  3. Define the customer journey and contact strategy against business objectives – Welcome, Upsell / Cross sell, Lapse / Retention, Abandon Basket, Order confirmation / Dispatch can be defined based on segment objectives and customer preferences but in order to enable these the data has to be right!
  4. To plan messaging and enable only the most relevant messages to reach the customer – consider if you need to integrate the service messaging into the contact history
  5. Get data integration right – the core operational (behavioural and transactional) data is key and must be right before the integration of new channels or sources of data are added into the equation such as mobile app behaviour, i-beacon information, website behaviour, social interaction.

Thought all this through? Then you’re ready to implement! If not, contact us to find out more.

If you need more information on implementing Adobe Campaign Management or if you’d like to chat the process through then please contact Grant about ‘Getting Adobe Campaign Management right first time’ to speak to our team of experts who will be on hand to help and answer any questions you have.

Ask the experts report

 Ask the experts report

Innovating and pushing the boundaries of what is possible are part of the very fabric of the technology industry. There will always be new and exciting technologies and trends to explore. This is entirely as it should be. However, in order to gain value from groundbreaking technology and turn it in to something that will deliver significant improvement to their customers, it is vital that organisations strike the right balance.

By all means follow the latest predictions and set aside time and budget to innovate, but make sure the basic building blocks are in place too.

Over the last few weeks we have been sharing excerpts from our latest ‘Ask the Experts’ report, which outlines the key marketing and data technology challenges and opportunities facing organisations at the moment.

These can be summarised as:

  1. Getting the basics right

When implemented and integrated correctly, marketing and data technologies have the potential to drive digital transformation, enable business intelligence, allow organisations to become truly data led and ultimately transform customer experience for the better.

All too often, we see organisations either rushing to buy marketing and data technology, or investing in new technology, which then does not deliver on its promise or expectation.

Businesses need to ensure they have the basic building blocks in place in order to get real benefit from any technology they purchase. What is often overlooked is the hugely important role data plays. Nearly every new trend such as A.I, cognitive computing and IoT has data at its core. Sure, data is not as headline grabbing as the above-mentioned technologies, but none of them are possible without access to, and good integration between accurate and relevant data.

  1. Real-time decision making finally gets real

While there was a huge amount of noise about real-time decision-making and real-time next best action marketing a few years ago, we haven’t as yet seen significant practical application of this technology.

This is set to change from 2017 onwards. Many organisations looked into or acquired technology to facilitate real-time when it first emerged as a leading trend, but it is only now that many are actually practically applying it.

  1. Taking steps towards cognitive computing

The concept of cognitive computing and A.I has been much discussed recently, in the same way that real time marketing was a few years ago. While there have been a limited amount of practical applications of this technology to date, there is no doubt that the concept is set to dominate the landscape for some time.

The next few years will see organisations start to get to grips with what cognitive computing can offer. There are still fundamental kinks to be worked out, more fundamentally, though, businesses need to look beyond a ‘gimmick-led’ application of these technologies and instead investigate how it can be applied to actively improve personalised customer experience.

  1. The growing need for data management and governance

Data management is a huge commodity. Proponents of data value management have long urged organisations to see data as a corporate asset and they are right.

Just like any asset organisations should attach cost and value to their data.

Yet how many organisations are actually doing any of this?  Only a small minority of market leaders.

The majority only considers data in this way when a specific requirement rears its head.  Often this will be a regulatory or technology driven change.

The temptation to wait until a project demands better data management is commonplace.  But project thinking can mean data governance and lifecycle management processes happen in a ‘siloed’ fashion.

  1. Getting your digital estate in order

Organisations are still failing to fully understand their digital estates and the systems they already have. Many are fairly digitally mature, with estates that have grown at a rapid pace. Due to the particularly high turn-over in senior marketing roles, coupled with increasing marketing technology spend, businesses are likely to have multiple systems in place, which are not being utilised or integrated properly.

These ‘Frankenstacks’ of disconnected technology have developed for a number of reasons, primarily due to the fact that organisations have been working in silos for years. This creates a monster of parts, all probably very good in their own area but as a combination stitched and patched together and not always serving the common good.

However, in this age of the customer, consumers expect – in fact demand – a seamless, joined up, personalised experience. Something that is difficult to deliver in a disjointed digital estate.

By closely examining current marketing and data architecture, and the way systems, tools and data presently connect (or fail to connect as the case may be), organisations can gather a clearer idea of how to effectively join up and better manage a digital estate.

 

To read the Ask the Experts Report in full request your copy.

Talk to us if you want to learn more.

Getting your digital estate in order

Getting your digital estate in order

Organisations are still failing to fully understand their digital estates and the systems they already have. Many are fairly digitally mature, with estates that have grown at a rapid pace. Due to the particularly high turn-over in senior marketing roles, coupled with increasing marketing technology spend, businesses are likely to have multiple systems in place, which are not being utilised or integrated properly

These ‘Frankenstacks’ of disconnected technology have developed for a number of reasons, primarily due to the fact that organisations have been working in silos for years. Each area, line of business, division, etc. often acquires technology separately. This creates a monster of parts, all probably very good in their own area but as a combination stitched and patched together and not always serving the common good.

In addition, each silo is in various stages of maturity when it comes to technology. Further compounding issues is the advent of the cloud, which has led to a greater ability to operate outside of an IT function and therefore not have to communicate across business functions and other silos.

However, in this age of the customer, consumers expect – in fact demand – a seamless, joined up, personalised experience. Something that is difficult to deliver in a disjointed digital estate.

This disconnect also makes it increasingly difficult to track and understand why and where problems are occurring across the digital estate, especially when there are many stakeholders and agencies involved.

By closely examining current marketing and data architecture, and the way systems, tools and data presently connect (or fail to connect as the case may be), organisations can gather a clearer idea of how to effectively join up and better manage a digital estate.

It may be that instead of putting new technology in place, an organisation could get more value from using its current technology better – for example by configuring it or integrating it in a smarter way. Alternatively, by conducting a thorough audit, organisations will be in a much better position to speedily identify and solve problems such as a sudden drop in transactions. In order to successfully do this though, organisations need to have access to the right skills and expertise to review an estate in its entirety.

 

To read the Ask the Experts Report in full request your copy.

Talk to us if you want to learn more.

The growing need for data management and governance

Data management is a huge commodity

 

Proponents of data value management have long urged organisations to see data as a corporate asset and they are right.

Just like any asset organisations should attach cost and value to their data.

Yet how many organisations are actually doing any of this?  Only a small minority of market leaders.

The majority only considers data in this way when a specific requirement rears its head.  Often this will be a regulatory or technology driven change.

This is understandable as the cost of entry into the data value management club can be high.  There are software costs, management consulting costs and technical implementation costs. The promise of return on investment from data governance needs to be cast iron.

The temptation to wait until a project demands better data management is commonplace.  But project thinking can mean data governance and lifecycle management processes happen in a ‘siloed’ fashion.

There is another problem too.  It is a hackneyed question but apposite in this context; ‘What does good look like’?  The response is typically difficult to define.  What is good for a pharmaceutical company may be quite different to what is good for a retailer. The question also exposes a failing in traditional approaches to data value management projects.  Common wisdom would ask an organisation to consider, say, people process and technology.

Organisations need to identify all the stakeholders, the steering committee and nominate the data stewards, define data related rules and processes, implement data quality related processes and assigned decision rights and accountabilities.

In addition, they also need to constantly ask: ‘where’s the value?’ This is where two key factors come into their own.

The first is measurement.  Don’t they say if you want to improve something you must measure it first?  By building a data governance scorecard organisations can benchmark their progress and see if their strategy is working over time.

The second factor is experience – for which there is no substitute. Here, that means choosing people with experience in delivering a true value-driven approach.  Organisations should also be mindful to select people who understand what value means to their business and have the experience to deliver the results and add value.

 

To read the Ask the Experts Report in full request your copy.

Talk to us if you want to learn more.

Slow down! Is regulation putting the brakes on the hottest technology?

A few weeks ago I was asked to participate in a panel discussion in front of an audience of data experts, software vendors, agencies and customer organisations.  The subject was artificial intelligence and cognitive technology.  It was a lively discussion, ranging from the changes in working conditions brought about by the Industrial Revolution to audience views on the best ways to convince companies to adopt new technologies.

One particularly thorny question was posed; how, given increasing data privacy regulation such as GDPR, should we work with cognitive technologies which use sophisticated and often byzantine algorithms to make decisions for our customers?  GDPR has itself been the subject of this column and should, rightly, be consuming the thoughts of organisations with customers and employees.  However, when cognitive technologies are employed to assist a customer’s journey how will your organisation respond if it is asked to explain a decision?

Read previous GDPR blog here

One of the specific provisions of GDPR is a “right to explanation.”   However, machine learning solutions produce results, in part, by ascribing more weight to certain factors and then making calculations across large datasets using mathematics that even the technology’s vendor will struggle to explain.

GDPR also calls for organisations to prevent any form of discrimination based on personal characteristics like race, gender or health history.  We may assume that cognitive software won’t be delivered with discriminatory factors baked in – but can you be sure that familiar or unconscious biases won’t emerge in the technology?  After all, these are learning technologies that require guidance from human teachers.

Spotting these outcomes behind an arcane technology solution will be very hard but I suspect that will not be a well-received defence.

Essentially what we are seeing articulated here are some of the reasons that these technologies are not pervasive yet – in spite of the ambitions and considerable marketing budgets of the technology developers.  Companies have legitimate concerns about the use of these new technologies and the veil of mathematical impartiality does not sit comfortably with organisations seeking to enhance their customer experience.

Our good old friend, Governance, is critical in this arena.  Understanding what data you have and what decisions are being made using that data will be key to ensuring that the undoubted benefits of cognitive technologies do not create more trouble than they are worth.  It might be less sexy than the promise of the technology itself but the responsibility to do the right thing by your customers – or at least explain your decision – is paramount.

More than just semantics!

At the same panel event another interesting question was posed;

How should we best sell the benefits of AI and cognitive solutions to our own companies?  My response was a cautionary tale but, I hope, offers some insight on how to propose the adoption of these technologies.

An early encounter with the CIO of a household name company left a lasting impression on me as we attempted to position a cognitive and AI solution.  It turned out that the CIO had a PhD in the very subject!  We spent 80% of the initial meeting discussing his strongly held view that cognition means thinking and that, unless I was proposing the single most significant development in the history of mankind, my solution would not be thinking.  The remainder of the meeting was used to explore his contention that, similarly, current AI is not in fact intelligence in any meaningful way but that he was willing to accept that brute force computation might produce some useful insights.  Moreover, machine learning does not mean, apparently, learning in any traditional sense.

The second meeting was with senior marketing professionals and we had certainly learnt our lesson.  That discussion was far more fruitful as we discussed business challenges and how the technology solution’s capabilities might help overcome them.  The label still said cognitive but the tenor of the discussion was a more traditional one!

Perhaps the lessons are very old:  know your audience; focus on your organisation’s challenges and the value of the solution.  Either way, please talk to us and let’s share ideas.

Written by Dominic Bridgman

Get in touch to find out more.

Data governance now? Mañana!!

“See your data as a corporate asset.”

This is the long-standing war cry of the proponents of data value management.

Just like any asset you should attach cost and value to your data. You should make the necessary investments to ensure you can manage the desired yield from it.  Some analysts propose that the data asset should appear on an organisation’s balance sheet.

How many organisations are actually doing any of this?  A small minority of market leaders.

But, the majority only consider data in this way when a specific requirement rears its head.  Often this will be a regulatory or technology driven change.

This is understandable.  The cost of entry into the data value management club can be high.  There are software costs, management consulting costs and technical implementation costs. The promise of return on investment from data governance needs to be cast iron.

The temptation to wait until a project demands better data management is commonplace.  But project-thinking can mean data governance and lifecycle management processes happen in a ‘siloed’ fashion.

There is another problem too.  It is a hackneyed question but apposite in this context; “What does good look like?”  The response is typically difficult to define.  What is good for a pharmaceutical company may be quite different to what is good for a retailer.

The question also exposes a failing in traditional approaches to data value management projects.  Common wisdom would ask an organisation to consider, say, people process and technology.

Have you identified all the stakeholders, the steering committee and nominated the data stewards?

Have you defined data related rules and processes?  Have you implemented data quality related processes and assigned decision rights and accountabilities?

Have you standardised data models, database designs and leveraged service oriented architecture?

Important though these considerations are, the missing question is, “where’s the value?”

This is where two key factors come into their own.

The first is measurement.  Don’t they say if you want to improve something you must measure it first?  Build a data governance scorecard.  But, build it with someone with experience in your industry.  That way you can benchmark your organisation and see if your strategy is working over time.  It will also help focus minds on how the team’s efforts are having an effect and on what matters most.  Measure visible success not simply the work done.  Measuring in this way will also help to secure the requisite business buy-in.  You are measuring business value, not some abstruse data task.  It also helps to establish a common language when discussing data between the business and IT.

The second factor is experience – for which there is no substitute. Here, that means choosing people with experience in delivering a true value-driven approach.  Preferably in your industry. People who understand what value means to you and have the experience to deliver the results as business value.

Finally, remember data value management for your glittering new data lake too.  Assuming that the data lake will deliver value straight off the bat may be wishful thinking. Technologies like Hadoop, machine learning and graph databases will take you so far.  A data value management approach will help to measure the value and govern the data.  As a result it could prevent investments that don’t drive core business value.  In short, it will stop you creating a costly data cesspit!

Remember none of this needs to be scary.  Talk to us about our approach to data value management and how quickly we can get you to the value.

Written by Dominic Bridgman

 

Get in touch to find out more.

GDPR…..it has big teeth

Fear. Uncertainty.  Doubt.  As data and marketing professionals we are quite used to players in the technology market using these emotions to promote their solutions.  The latest vehicle for this ‘FUD’ is another ‘initialism’ GDPR – the General Data Protection Regulation.  It has even been characterised as the new Millennium Bug.

In this case however, we are forced to admit, that there may be some justification in a little fear. You see, this regulation has teeth – and sharp ones.  However, before you start running to the hills – or indeed running away from your advisors and their protestations of having the panacea – let’s take a rational look at the highlights of GDPR, and what you can start doing today that will put you in a better position tomorrow.

What is it and why should you care?

  • General Data Protection Regulation rules, published this month, will be applicable by May 25th 2018 to all organisations that operate in the EU market
  • The regulations are extra-territorial. Overseas firms doing business in the EU market are subject to it.  Even if there is a Brexit, UK organisations will still be affected
  • The fines are serious; data breaches can generate fines of €10m or 2% of annual revenue. Wider or consequential breaches of its provisions will generate fines of €20m or 4% of revenue.
  • Consumers have enhanced rights: to be forgotten, for transparency, to know what information is stored, to the protection of personal data
  • Consent to use data must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous for each purpose for which the data is being processed
  • The regulation applies (with some nuances) to both the data controller and data processor
  • right to data portability will make it easier for individuals to transmit personal data between service providers.

 

This article sums it up particularly well: Law Gazette – New EU data protection regulation 

No part of the business will be able to hide from the impact of GDPR.  It’s a big and thorny challenge and not just one for the security team.  When your legal counsel, your internal audit or your COO makes the phone call and asks you where the data is, what will be your answer?  This is a challenge for IT and marketing as well.

If it’s your job to wrestle with the organisational impact of this regulation, then please start asking the data questions now.  Better to know the scale and complexity of the challenge sooner rather than later.

If it’s your job to know where the data is and who you’re marketing to – then please start thinking about your data source catalogue and your data governance policies and controls today.

Compliance is one thing.  However, if you do this right then GDPR could be the catalyst for very positive outcomes in your business as well.  The organisations that are at the vanguard of a response to this challenge will, we predict, be seen as innovators, as brands with a social conscience, protecting their customers and embracing the new commercial paradigms more fully.

Plus, there has always been a strong business case for better information management, solid information governance and sensible information lifecycle management – all of which you will need to explore as part of your response to GDPR.

You can start small, but start soon.

Written by Dominic Bridgman

 

Talk to us if you want to learn more.