Lift the fog of data warfare
Why external data is broken and how to fix it
External Data is valuable
There are always more smart people outside your company than within it.
This quote from Bill Joy, computer science legend and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, rings just as true for your data. The insights you may glean by looking outside of your own data pond may be game changing.
Forbe’s Dan Wood has written extensively about the value of external data: the more data you use the better picture you have of the world as a whole. External data can help you understand the why behind the “what’s happening”. Say, a retailer wants understand the context outside their store. Use this to target campaigns to win back lost customers. Or anticipate and thrive on trends in the marketplace instead of getting beaten by new competitors.
External data is broken
By now the word has spread about the awesomeness of external data. However, little has changed since Dan Wood asked Do you suffer from the Data Not Invented Here Syndrome? Just why are we not using more of it?
Duh, it costs money
Sorting through the cornucopia of outside data sources, deciding which is most relevant, accurate, actionable is expensive.
Even so called open or free data is very costly. Cleaning, munging, connecting and cross-referencing, analysing, machine learning and reporting eat up valuable time and resources.
Having seen everything from NLP on social media, deep learning on satellite imagery to geospatial analysis on mobile beacon or credit card data I can tell you a secret: the really good stuff with strong signal and lift you pay for. Which is great. If the ROI is strongly positive a business should invest, should it not?
Ignorance is bliss
I’m a great proponent of the idea that we need to put science back in data science. We want to go about exploring hypotheses and business questions without bias and preconceptions. Let the data do the talking my professor always said.
What if you don’t have the data? This is where science clashes horribly with the reality of business. Unless external data is brought into the business through the heroic efforts of your data scientists, manager, partners or other stakeholders: it remains an unknown unknown with little consequence. Dealing with data in your own backyard is challenging enough. In the face of uncertainty few are willing to take on the risk to stick their head out for unusual hypotheses or outside validation. When Chipotle sales tanked in 2015 amidst a food poisoning scandal everyone knew that this was clearly the cause. It took one savvy analyst at System2 to cross-check with credit card data, clearly see it was just a cold weather spell and deservedly make a handsome profit on Chipotle stock.
99% of the time there will be no academic community or blogoshpere to set you or your people right, however. Only the market will separate companies that embrace and profit from the global data-sphere and those who miss out. Don’t want to wake up one day like the jolly tower builder above? Read on.
Cost + Uncertainty NOT = Profit
Managers and practitioners who resist the use of external data do so in the interest of profit. Cost and uncertainty are universally the worst thing imaginable for a business. Avoid like the plague. This fatal combination poses a steep challenge. Science is spending billions dollar dark matter detector because the math checks out, guaranteed. What’s your appetite to take on similar endeavours? For science? The payoff will be huge and transform your business! Well, this is business. And business is people.
How is an organisation to respond to the double whammy of cost and uncertainty? Processes, meetings, resistance, ignorance. NewVantage Partners’ 5th annual survey of senior corporate executives on the topic of Big Data laments “If only people were as malleable as data”. External data is broken because the combination of technological cost and inherent uncertainty poses an organisational challenge that requires an integrated solution.
Lift the data fog of war with Gyana
At Gyana we think no business should solve the external data challenge alone. Instead, every business should use platforms that provide an aggregated, quantified window into the outside world.
Gyana’s technology is all about producing smart data to solve the technological challenge of external data. In short, smart data is data that actually makes sense and is valuable to your business and it requires us to apply several enrichment steps to your ordinary big data.
Data cleaning, munging and connecting datasets together is part of our core technology. We use machine learning and AI to sift through data and find the insight needle in the haystack.
Instead of talking to hundreds of data vendors, engineer appropriate data pipelines to eventually conduct analysis, advanced machine learning and find useful insights this is all taken care of in one place.
By lowering the exploration costs, employing AI we drastically change the cost/uncertainty equation. Just like an investor putting his money in an index fund instead of a single volatile stock: you can make the smart choice, leverage our smart data platform and let the AI scan its data universe in a split second to answer your business question.
Gyana embraces simplicity in design. After all, technology and smart data alone will not help overcome the organisational problem of dealing with external data. External data implies a decision on resources and costs. Smart data is not going to make this decision for you. People will.
Gyana is made for everyone. What differentiates Gyana is the intuitive and simple user experience. Everything in one place. No complex entanglement of decision makers, data engineers, scientists, consultants, external data vendors, reports, procurement decisions, meetings, … just insights. Simplicity enables the decision maker to leverage external data insights with clarity and confidence.
One often overlooked challenge and process stumbling block with regards to the use of external data is security. The ongoing Equifax $70 Billion damage data breach underlines the importance of the issue. When connecting and exposing data sets confidentiality, privacy and security of data is of highest concern. You may or may not upload to our platform to leverage its full potential. Third parties may be willing to share on our platform and care a lot about the privacy, anonymity and integrity of such datasets. Going forward, technologies like differential privacy can be seen as a key enabler to better external data sharing. That’s why we invested in this from the start. We’re ISO 27001 certified for Information Security Management and will guard your own and external data like a hawk.
In short, here at Gyana we built a platform that is smart, simple and secure enough to help you lift the data fog of war.
War is the realm of uncertainty; three quarters of the factors on which action in war is based are wrapped in a fog of greater or lesser uncertainty. A sensitive and discriminating judgment is called for; a skilled intelligence to scent out the truth.
Carl von Clausewitz