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Why don’t we measure (and analyse, and then act)?

Tech Republic has published the results of a survey into the use of data analytics  and big data in businesses (Beyond hype:  70 per cent will use data analytics by 2013) . I’m not sure I agree with some of the conclusions and headlines in the blog by Bill Detwiler, partly because the data he presents begs a better set of questions.

Acknowledging that it is early days in the life of big data, why are so few companies using analytics to measure effort, success and returns?

When I look at the report’s chart for use of data analysis or big data, what I see is nearly one-third of respondents not using either at all, and less that 15% using either in anger.

Nearly half of respondents don’t use any kind of analytics or big data platform.

And while half see the future benefits and returns possible from analytics and big data, that means nearly half either see no return or claim to operate in sectors without large amounts of data.

Having heard too many times the question from CEOs and CFOs, “what’s working, what isn’t and what’s it costing us?”, I admit to being surprised that analytics systems, at least, are still not being deployed as often as they could be.

Alongside web page and web site analytics, and big data tools that make sense of web traffic, are social media channels and the social web, which provide new ways to asses what’s happening in a market.

Someone once said that talk is cheap. It is, and listening to talk is a affordable as well. And in the same way that the inference behind the phrase “talk is cheap” is that action is much harder, so it is in taking the insight gleaned from the social web and acting on that insight.

All of this, though, is about engagement, and for engagement to work you need to understand the other side and the argument.

The advertising model of interrupting continues to crack under increasing pressure. The provision of advertising channels (print, broadcast and on-line media) as a means of carrying interruptions in the form of advertising is flawed when the content that gets carried in the gaps between the interruptions becomes tainted, irrelevant, or plain boring.

Tuning your message to the needs of individuals seems like a better idea. Analysing who is saying what, and why, is the start point.

Alan Smith: is Head of Customer Engagement at DIGIVIZER.