A New Big Data Lesson

 In the last couple of years there has been a recurring theme on media press sites covering technology, of companies compromising the security and belittling the value of their customers information – whether it be dangerous (i.e. bank cards) or personal. The recent headline that drew my attention was on BBC News - “Social apps ‘harvest smartphone contacts’”. According to the report, the Twitter App on the iPhone has been copying entire address books from the phone to another third party company.

While apologies have been made and policies changed, it highlights a growing trend in security and private information breaches. This rise has also been matched in the amount of data that is being captured and stored by companies. This blog has already covered the issue of Big Data and the difficulties in controlling and utilizing that information to maximum effect – but perhaps I left one thing off the list of key challenges of Volume, Velocity and Variety – and that is Protection.

Without sounding like a school teacher addressing a disobedient child, thought needs to be put towards ensuring that data security is tight throughout the whole organisation, but that it is also treated with a level of respect. The above example demonstrates that this is not always the case. 

Managing the customer experience and customer feedback in particular is no different. Aside from ensuring that all the data is secure and regional laws are abided by, contact with the customer requires a handling with respect. Whether this is in how we protect data or in using it to engage with the customer in a conversation.

For companies to gather data and effectively map the customer journey it is paramount to ensure that customers feel comfortable and happy for their information to be stored and used. These recent articles should be a warning to us all that despite the vast increases in the amount of data that is being used by businesses and the subsequent challenges that throws up, its protection and responsible use must constantly be at the forefront of companies minds as well.

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