Philip Sheldrake

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Tag: big data

Value flows when data flows meaningfully through sociotechnical networks – in search of the ideal data architecture

Competitive advantage and profitable growth doesn’t come from scale anymore. The rate at which big players in any and all industries beach their supertanker is unprecedented.

Competitive advantage and profitable growth doesn’t come from efficiency anymore either. What’s the point of making unwanted product efficiently?

Competitive advantage and profitable growth comes from adaptability. Pure and simple. Adapt or die.

A 2011 article in the Harvard Business Review pronounced adaptability the new competitive advantage. It asks how your managers can pick up the right signals to understand and harness change when they’re overwhelmed with changing information. The conclusion – instead of being really good at doing some particular thing, companies must be really good at learning how to do new things.

As Peter Senge points out, organizations only learn through individuals who learn, perhaps aided by machine learning these days. And learning craves meaningful data.

Lack of data was the problem of the 20th Century, yet the opportunity and challenge of the 21st is having too much of the stuff. This is the landscape of digital transformation and, I believe, the very bedrock of the meaning of business: establishing and driving mutual value creation (PDF).

Value flows when data flows meaningfully through sociotechnical networks, and I've been on a mission to find out how to make this happen. Read more

Big data. Big trust.

trust

This morning, my colleague Hector Arthur pointed me to a new report from Ovum's Mark Little knowing I'd have a few comments to make. In the corresponding blog post – "Big Trust is Big Data’s missing DNA" – Mark kicks off with:

In the rush to monetize customer data, companies risk diminishing the trust people have in services and brands. Sustaining and growing people’s trust in services is not just about “doing the right thing,” but also makes commercial sense.

As I like to say in other words, big data is worth more when wielded with customers rather than at them. Ovum calls this approach Big Trust.

Big Trust strategies are designed to build “trust equity” with customers as a basis for making core services stickier, for selling new services, and for brokering personal data to commerce under a new set of trust principles.

Public relations

The outlook is informed, directly or indirectly I know not, by the excellence theory of public relations presented by James E Grunig more than twenty years ago, which champions the two-way symmetrical PR model. This model uses communication to negotiate with the public, resolve conflict and promote mutual understanding and respect between the organization and its stakeholders. My Six Influence Flows model from 2011 extends this work for the digital / social / big data age, and you can find out more about PR models in my post here if it's your thing.

Of course, this is not how the majority of practitioners practice PR, deferring instead to publicity and 'spin', which may be associated more closely with distrust than trust. But excellent practice is championed if, as a shrewd procurer, you know where to look. Read more

A presentation to the Open Mobile Alliance conference on big data

According to its website, the Open Mobile Alliance "was formed in June 2002 by the world’s leading mobile operators, device and network suppliers, information technology companies and content and service providers. OMA delivers open specifications for creating interoperable services that work across all geographical boundaries, on any bearer network."

The OMA met today in Dublin to discuss aspects of big data, and I was invited to present on personal data, social media and social business.

I've met some great people today and we've covered some pretty geeky things between us, but the experience has left me with a renewed appreciation of the differences between 'net' and 'telco' people. For example, this was the first conference I've been to in many years that didn't have an agreed hashtag, or many people tweeting come to that. And mine was the only stack not to claim copyright, rather my normal Creative Common licensing. Trivial examples maybe, but indicative nonetheless of a different (but no less apposite) mindset.

I've tried my best to persuade a standards-setting collective to think harder about when to intervene and about the longer-term ramifications they might have on all the good stuff the Internet, the open Web and related technologies can do and are doing for humanity and our custodianship of the planet. That's not to undermine the value of standards, far from it, but as the saying goes, everything can start to look like a nail when you have a hammer.

I asked them to think about "humans" or "people" rather than "consumers" and "users", and about putting the facility for all humans to realise their full potential ahead of shareholders. That's not counter-capitalist. I put shareholders' best interests first by putting them second. You can find out more about this perspective in my recent ebook, Attenzi - a social business story.

This decade’s number one revolution

“Data is the new oil." So said Clive Humby back in 2006.

"Data is the new soil" said David McCandless in 2010.

In between, in 2009, Meglena Kuneva, European Consumer Commissioner, said: "Personal data is the new oil of the internet and the new currency of the digital world."

I've long been excited about the advent of big data, and started posting about visualising the stuff back in 2008. If anything distinguishes the modern professional – in marketing, PR, HR, R&D, operations, etc. – from her predecessors, it's the facility to work with data.

I'm asked increasingly often to define big data, in particular how it differs from the normal sized stuff. The technical answer is simply when there's so much of it that traditional data storage and database technologies aren't up to the job. The more interesting answer is this: data helps us answer questions; big data also helps us conceive new questions.

The Intention Economy Last week I was invited to the book launch of In Data We Trust (haven't finished it yet), a best-seller last year in the German language. This afternoon I'm meeting up with Doc Searls, author of The Intention Economy (awesome), and thought leader on consumer / citizen data.

Last night I was invited to an event hosted by Gurbaksh Chahal, CEO of RadiumOne and one of those chaps who has difficultly maintaining eye contact during conversation lest he misses something on his smartphone. His company sells a "Dynamic Audience Platform" that "combines first-party social interaction data with our patent pending ShareGraph™ targeting technology and 12 billion daily real-time bidding ad impressions to deliver superior results for the world's leading advertisers."

Got that?

Big data is impacting every aspect of life I can think of. Some might ask "even art?" And I'd say, "of course art!" But perhaps the biggest question remains to be answered – who owns the data?

Does the supermarket own your product buying data, or is that yours? Does the utility company own your customer data, or is that yours? Does your mobile service operator own your location data, or is that yours? Does Google own your search history, or is that yours? Does Facebook own your social graph, or is that yours? Does RadiumOne own your ShareGraph, or is that yours?

Or are there new ownership models?

Influence: Socializing the Enterprise – my presentation at Dreamforce 2011

Salesforce.com's CEO Marc Benioff is excited that there are 45,000 delegates registed for this week's Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. It sure is one helluva a show (and I particularly appreciated the Metallica and Will.i.am gig last night!)

The theme for this year's conference is the socialization of the enterprise and the reason for my invitation to present to the Executive Summit yesterday and delegates at large today. [Disclosure: Salesforce.com is paying me to be here.]

There can be no doubt that Salesforce.com is on a mission to help its customers make the social transition with as much emphasis placed on increasing the social exchange with employees and partners as customers and prospects, and this mission entailed the acquisition of Radian6 earlier this year.

When I spoke at the Radian6 Social2011 conference in April, I felt the excitement at the opportunity to meld the Radian6 and Salesforce.com worlds, but I hadn't appreciated how fast this integration would take place. Simply gobsmacking. Read more

How data is transforming digital marketing

Digital marketing has come a long way in the past decade, as we’ve moved beyond putting existing materials online and learned how to really harness the native advantages of digital technologies.

The pace of change continues unabated, and among its most important drivers is data – and the meaning of that data.

Every one of us is going to be producing more data describing our use of digital products and services. This is what I like to call digital detritus. Detritus – discarded organic matter which is decomposed by microorganisms and reappropriated by animal and plant life – is interestingly analogous to our regard for, and treatment of, the data that we’re all shedding.

Big data

When it comes to the increase in data, we’re working on a logarithmic scale: we’re talking about hundreds and thousands of times more. Data in such quantities may well prove to have important new mathematical properties that are attractive to marketers, customer service and product development teams. Moreover, we don’t actually do much with the digital detritus today – it mostly resides in inaccessible log files, although the technology for collating it is becoming increasingly achievable and affordable.

What does this mean in everyday terms? Read more

Truth be told – Friday Roundup

According to the renowned Excellence study, public relations is a management function that focuses on two-way communication and fostering of mutually beneficial relationships between an organisation and its publics. One might argue that one can't aim to please (benefit) everyone, so it might be more appropriate to emphasise mutual understanding rather than mutual benefit, as indeed the CIPR's current definition of PR does.

Despite the common association of PR with spin (spin a yarn, make up a story), the PR professional focuses on symmetrical communication based on truths and understanding. Indeed, I like to say that whilst 'perception is reality' may have been a dominant axiom for 20th Century practice, the 21st Century professional acknowledges that changes to media, communications technology and societal expectations now renders 'reality is perception' more appropriate.

But what is truth? Read more