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Big Data Is Delivering Benefits, but They Are Not Equal Featured

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If professionals are right, we are moving from an economy that depends on manufacturing to one that focuses on experience. Today more than ever, businesses are required to create memorable experiences for their customers instead of simply ensuring that they deliver reliable products at an attractive price. Nevertheless, in the world where instantaneous, high-volume data is delivered freely through different channels, creating excellent customer experience will always carry the day.

Although big data is creating massive opportunities for companies that have embraced it, the opportunities created are not equal. Companies with more financial power are outshining the smaller ones that have less capability financially in terms of how they acquire and use customer data. In the case of Intuit’s acquisition of Credit Karma, for example, Intuit, through this deal, will have the ability to access customer data and use it in its operations. Just like many modern corporation, Intuit knows that accessing a large pool of user data enables it to better understand what they need.

Who benefits?

While companies may benefit immensely from user data, the question that in most cases goes unanswered is whether the consumers or the owners of data benefit from it. Does the consumer know that their information and critical details are being sold? We are talking about millions of people whose data is gathered by businesses every day. Almost all apps that crop up daily are aimed at collecting user data. With data collected by these companies, they can use it to target customers more accurately efficiently. The point here is that companies may benefit more in the collection of data than users.

For smaller companies, big data gives larger companies an edge over them. Since larger firms can acquire cutting edge big data technologies and algorithms simply because they can afford them, and the smaller companies find it hard competing in the same market. However, no matter the size of an organization, there is no firm that does not want to access customer information such as purchase data, sales, likes, dislikes and others since this can be like accessing a gold mine. Many companies world over spend their time and resources monitoring people on platforms such as Facebook, Google and Instagram, among others. This has given the most profitable companies, an edge over smaller ones since they can create ads based on behaviours as shown by data they collect.  

While it may be true that businesses get more from big data than do their customers, what cannot be refuted is the fact that consumers will also benefit from it. Firms after gathering data from the customers can identify the best way to serve them and the right products that suits their needs. By combining different datasets, a company can come up with schemes that suit each customer or group of customers. For financial institutions, for example, companies can analyze customer data to find out the credit score of different customers. If a customer has an excellent credit score, they can be given access to more money that they can borrow. For those with poor credit score, financial institutions can create other products that match their needs. This is a good thing for both the customer and the banking institutions.

It is unfortunate that some companies in their privacy policy state that they may share information with advertising firms so that they might create products that offer good customer experience. This is just the way that many companies justify their surveillance on individuals. Most people are unaware of how their critical their information can be misused in the name of coming up with the right services or products.

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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for Big Data & Analytics Tech Brief

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