By Andries van Staden, Managing Director Innovation Group South Africa
Data is prolific; it’s ubiquitous and pertains to virtually every aspect of life and its ability to offer additional value to customers – and, in turn, the industry’s ability to leverage it – is extraordinary. The trouble is effectively collating raw data across multiple industries and platforms and transforming it into useful analytics. But despite the challenges, the future is Big Data.
In the auto insurance business, for example, the ability to ascertain a driver’s driving habits in real-time enables insurers to offer more accurate premiums, based on their unique risk profile. And the vast sum of data that can be accrued from across industries – insurance, health, law enforcement and automotive – will significantly improve the ability to accurately predict the likelihood of a claim. This will greatly aid Insurers in the calculation of loss ratios and the pricing of premiums.
Across industries, data gathered through ever-lengthening longitudinal studies would go a long way to inform improved car design and innovative safety features. Authorities would be notified of an accident or infringement instantaneously over a wide area network like LoRa. And the real-time telematics, concerning driver performance, engine performance and the health of the vehicle might alert a contact centre to a potential problem, who then contacts the driver over a built-in hands-free device to notify the driver of the imminent problem.
Of course, Big Data will also prove indispensable to mastering AI implementation – in self-driving cars, city planning, health, finance and virtually all of industry. But it will also allow industry to optimise systems, extract expense, more accurately segment markets and crucially, improve customer experiences and offer more customer-centric products and services.
Data sharing needs to be used to monitor customer feedback at every point of the sales journey, to allow for optimisation and innovation. And it’s needed to create an almost powerful omnichannel experience, since it costs significantly more to earn a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.
The rise of Big Data will force industry to continuously innovate and disrupt the market with new services and products, to keep pace with customer buying habits.
It’s going to take a lot of work to initially implement – to master data security, relevancy and redundancy, migrate away from legacy systems into the cloud, and to adopt a far less siloed approach between businesses and across industries. POPI also means that compliance is going to be more of a focus than ever, and sharing data won’t be as simple as uploading it to the cloud for all to access.
The potential for substantial return on investment – more than other innovations has made prior – will far outweigh the risks and expenses. It will require that industries come together, to form holistic alliances and partnerships and share data in a way that has never been done before. Ultimately, the future of Big Data is a bright one, filled with unfathomable potential.