Big Data MOPS Series

12月 052014

The Big Data MOPS Series with Tamara Dull

We have a love/hate relationship with ads. Whether they’re on television, in our favorite publications, or online, we love them if they’re relevant and interesting, or get annoyed when they get in the way of [insert whatever we’re doing]. I have to admit: I rarely watch a television show in real-time anymore. I’ll record a show, wait 20+ minutes, and “chase the show” with the recording—ad-free.

So what does this have to do with big data privacy, the “soapbox” I’ve been standing on for weeks? (Ha!) Well, some would have you believe that the big data privacy debate is all about online advertising—i.e., you get interesting, relevant ads in exchange for your personal information. If this what you believe, you’re sort of missing the point. Read on and see if you agree.

About online advertising. Do you remember September 3rd when Facebook had an 18-minute outage? Given that Facebook generates about $22,000 per minute, this means they lost almost $400K during that outage. This may sound like a drop in the bucket for them, but if you add in all the lost revenue from all the businesses who generate ad revenue on Facebook’s platform, a lot more than $400K was lost.

Behavioral online advertising example

Advertising is big money, and behavioral online advertising is even bigger money – and companies like Facebook, Google, and Yahoo! get that. They know what we’re clicking, posting, liking, and commenting on, and they’re using this information to better target us for advertisers. And contrary to popular belief, when it comes to advertising and privacy, advertisers really don’t care about what we do or where we go. They only care about one thing: getting us to buy whatever they’re selling.

Why this matters. You may be thinking, “So what? What’s the harm?” I mean, who doesn’t appreciate a targeted ad when you’re surfing for a certain item online or a coupon delivered to your smartphone when you’re near one of your favorite stores? It seems like a harmless trade-off: a little bit of your personal information in exchange for some helpful, free service that could help save you some money.

But here’s the catch: the information we freely share is not just used by these advertisers selling stuff to us. It’s being used, bought, and sold by a lot of other data “players”—some good, some bad, some we’ve given explicit permission to, some we haven’t—and none of which we have any control over.

The big data privacy debate is not just about online advertising—or even the collection of data. It’s about who’s using our data, why they’re using it, and how we can protect ourselves from privacy invasions when we don’t even know who’s watching us. It’s about you, me, them, and us.

The bottom line. Vigilance, not apathy, is the right response to the opportunities and challenges this big data era is ushering in. Be mindful of what you click and share. If you don’t click it or share it, “they” can’t use it or abuse it.

Originally written for and published on Smart Data Collective as part of the Big Data MOPS Series

Editor's note:

We all get it now - big data is both a challenge and an opportunity for marketers. And the opportunity is realized by applying analytics to garner the insights that lead to better marketing. And big data is really BIG - so the data now available to marketers is like a digital "horn of plenty," a virtual cornucopia just overflowing with potential information.

And the point for marketers in Tamara's post here is analogous to the message of this biblical parable once used by John F. Kennedy:

To those whom much is given, much is expected.

As the steward of the customer relationship, marketing can't just harvest and use the truckloads of customers' personal data irresponsibly - it's reasonable that we'd be expected to safeguard it and respect the rights of the owners of that data.

There's more information on consumer's expectations regarding digital behavior and personalization that you can read in this report based on a global study SAS conducted this year:

Finding the Right Balance Between Personalization and Privacy

Check it out and let us know what you think!

tags: advertising, big data, Big Data MOPS Series, privacy, search
11月 282014

Admit it: If you’re like many marketers, when you read or hear about “big data privacy,” you’re ready to move onto the next topic or swipe to the next screen. Even though you know the discussion is important, you know it’s not fun, it’s sometimes creepy, and it’s not easy to navigate its complexities. But please bear with me.

Restricted area: Authorized personnel only.For this blog post, I’ve pulled out five steps from a recent webcast I did for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) called “A Marketer’s 5-Step Guide to Data Privacy in a Big Data World.” It builds on the idea that big data privacy is caught in this tug-of-war between consumers, constituents, and the private and public sectors. There are steps we can take based on each of these perspectives.

Step 1. Take digital control and reduce your digital footprint.

This step applies to all of us as consumers. You don't ever want mom to be alarmed, skeptical or speechless.I could easily spew out hundreds of tips and tricks on how to take digital control of your life, but for the sake of space and time, I’ll highlight three ideas:

  • Make sure all the information you share passes the Mom test. Or the Thanksgiving dinner test. The Mom test considers what your mom would think if she saw the information online. Would she approve? The Thanksgiving dinner test asks: Would you be willing to share this information at the turkey table? If you can’t pass these two tests, red flags should be going up.
  • Create professional and personal personas with your online networks. Use different email addresses. Use a different browser for each persona so there is no cross-tracking.
  • Become a stealth browser user. Here are two simple things you can do immediately: block third-party cookies and enable anti-tracking software like Disconnect. There’s a lot of options here. Google it.

Bottom line: If you don’t share it, they can’t use it or abuse it.

Step 2. Give customers easy access and rights to their data.

The following “letter” is directed at the private sector, but could be applicable to any organization, for profit or not:

Dear Favorite Company,

I would like to make four requests:

  1. If I give you my personal data for free, don’t go behind my back and share or sell it to someone else without my knowledge.
  2. Figure out a simple way to help me understand who owns my data, who has rights to it, and for how long.
  3. Make it easy for me to access and manage my own data.   
  4. Be transparent about what and how my data is being used, what requests have been made by external entities, and the steps you’re taking to keep my data secure.

Sincerely yours,

Bottom line: If you’re in the business of collecting and using customer data, treat it as a corporate asset and respond accordingly.

Step 3. Become a privacy advocate.

Most of us are aware that politicians buy reports about us. They know the issues we support, how much money we make, and what we like and dislike on Facebook. We’ve all been profiled in sometimes not-so-flattering ways. The problem is that many Americans have no idea that they’ve been profiled. Not only do they have no idea, they have no way to control that process.

So what can we do? Some would argue that erasing your digital footprint as much as possible is the way to go. But let me ask you this: Are you ready to give up technology to preserve your privacy? I’m not. We have come a long way in the last 20 years and there are a lot of upsides in this new digital economy.

So, again, what can we do? The better answer is to fight back and become a privacy advocate. We talked about a few ideas in step 1 and taking digital control. But here, as fellow citizens, we need to work together, collectively and collaboratively, to make sure we have rights to our data. That we can review our data. Or correct it. Or remove it. Or dispute it.

Protecting privacy goes beyond signing online petitions and adding comments in Facebook. It’s something that we need to do for ourselves, and then do again on behalf of others. Here’s a few more ideas:

  • Continue to educate yourself. The more informed you are about big data privacy issues, the more influential you can be in shaping and affecting data privacy policies, standards, and regulations.
  • Pick your battles. Start with the companies you do business with frequently or communities you’re involved with.
  • Understand that your choices aren’t everyone’s choices. What I deem important and valuable may not be as important to you, and vice versa.

Bottom line: Focus on the right issues and don’t get side-tracked. Be the voice that speaks up – even when it’s not convenient and you don’t feel supported. Because if it’s not you, then who?

Step 4. Take a lead role in the global privacy theater.

This step is directed at the public sector. No country is leading the way when it comes to data privacy—but this doesn’t mean significant efforts aren’t being made.

In the US, the White House released two reports earlier this year on big data privacy. There’s still lots of work to do, but it’s a start. The FTC, the agency who handles consumer protection issues, also released a report recently recommending that data brokers give consumers more control over their data. Again, it’s a start.

Europe is big in the news, too, with their right to be forgotten act. In fact, Eric Schmidt from Google is over there right now on a 7-country tour to hear views about the best ways to remove search engine links to information that petitioners contend is intrusive and no longer relevant. To date, Google has received almost 150,000 requests for the removal of 500,000 URLs; 58% of them have been removed so far.

Big data privacy on a global scale is extremely complex. Given that data is growing exponentially and knows no borders, and views of privacy vary around the globe, we have our work cut out for us. With the US being the home to 1/3 of all the data in the world, we have an opportunity to step forward.

Bottom line: As citizens, we can support politicians and policy makers who are passionate about these privacy issues and are actively engaged in moving the ball forward. Do we know who these players are? Let’s do our homework and find out.

Step 5. Stop the madness.

As I mentioned earlier, these five steps come from the ANA webcast I did earlier this month. In the webcast, I also presented 5 “facts” people think are true about data privacy – and then exposed these “facts” for what they really are: myths, distractions, and misunderstandings.

We need to educate ourselves. We need to be able to separate the facts from the fiction. We need to stop the madness. Let me give you an example: You hear people say “I’ve got nothing to hide” or “If I have done nothing wrong, I have nothing to worry about.”

If this is what you believe, you’re missing the point. Statements like this are just a distraction from the real discussion of online privacy. Consider this: Every day, someone new is coming online. Maybe it’s a young person who just got his first iPhone or it’s someone in a region who’s just getting affordable access for the first time. They don’t know the rules. And even though you may not care about being openly tracked, don’t put these newbies into a dangerous situation by letting them believe the internet is safe. Because it’s not.

Bottom line: As Maya Angelou so famously said, “When you know better, you do better.” We each have a role to play when it comes to big data privacy. What’s yours going to be?

tags: big data, Big Data MOPS Series, privacy
11月 222014

The Big Data MOPS Series with Tamara DullSometimes a life lesson smacks you right upside the head—and if you’re anything like me, it may take a day, a month, or even a year or ten before you “get it.” Fortunately, this particular life lesson hit home quickly, and has quietly reminded me of its truth over the years. However, with my more recent focus on big data privacy, this lesson’s reverberations have become almost deafening.

About the life lesson. The colleague/friend balancing act has always been a tricky one. Earlier in my career, when the internet was still making a name for itself, a dear colleague/friend was going through a challenging time in her personal life. I knew some of what was going on, but not much—given that it wasn’t any of my business and it wasn’t anything we really talked about. But due to the nature of our respective roles and the relationships we shared in the company, I was often asked by others about my colleague/friend’s situation. The questions made me uncomfortable, yet each time, I responded with, “You need to ask her.”

One day, I mentioned to my colleague/friend that I was being asked a lot about her personal situation. Instead of her responding with the expected “yea, so-and-so asked” or “who’s asking” or “what are you saying” questions, she said rather indignantly, “Why are they asking you? It’s not your story to tell!” Needless to say, the discussion ended there.

Little did she know that I wasn’t telling her story, yet through this brief exchange, she gave me a not-yet-realized, valuable life lesson: “It’s not your story to tell.”

Why this matters. Just like “I see data. All the time. It’s everywhere.”, I marvel at how technology, the internet, and this digital age have forever changed how we share our personal information—and how others (individuals, companies, and governments alike) share ours.

And at the heart of all this sharing is our personal privacy—and the privacy of others. Even though technology has made it easier for us to exchange information, we can’t depend on technology to protect us from the use and abuse of it, and nor should we. This is where trust, an important human element, comes in. In this data-intensive economy, trust between individuals, companies, and government agencies needs to be earned, respected, and maintained. Without this trust, I firmly believe the data ecosystem will crumble.

Situations to think about. Let’s briefly look at some examples of how big data privacy issues are impacting what we share:

  • The NSA. We all know about Edward Snowden and his need to tell the story of how the US government and several large companies are sharing information about us. He’s now sharing a similar story in New Zealand. Is this his story to tell? The debate rages on.
  • Home Depot. One of the latest retail data breaches – larger than Target’s – has hackers sharing our personal information on the black market. It wasn’t their story (or their data) to tell (or sell). Who’s to blame? Who can we trust?
  • Celebrity photos. Privately-stored intimate photos of various celebrities were ferreted out and stolen recently and continue to be shared in the public social sphere. These are visual stories we should have never heard about.

Now let’s bring it closer to home: Let’s say you share a funny video on Facebook of your youngest son running around the backyard in his birthday suit. (Is this your story to tell?) Your mom comments and tells your 534 friends about when you relieved yourself in the community pool when you were a kid. (Is this her story to tell?) She then asks you how to scan and upload the picture.

We laugh at stories like this while we jokingly call it “TMI” (Too Much Information). But this is big data privacy in action. Did you realize that the videos and images we share of ourselves and others are just types of “big” data that we are sharing through big data applications (like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.)?

You’ve heard me say it before: We are living in a big data world. While this Facebook example may seem harmless to some, there’s a lot more “big data” out there that can and is being used to harm individuals, companies, and government agencies. Let me leave you with…

One final thoughtBig data privacy is about you, me, them, and us. You have limited (if any) control over what others share about you, but you do have control over what you share about yourself and others. Just because you have someone’s personal information doesn’t mean you have to share it or act on it. Remember: It may not be your story to tell.

Originally written for and published on Smart Data Collective as part of the Big Data MOPS Series

Editor's note:

As Tamara says, the nature of social media is to share content. And the onus lies with each person in the social network to be congnizant and respectful of the rights of those impacted by the sharing of the content.

This whole idea of data privacy is very much a concern for marketing because of its role in forming and nurturing customer relationships. With data at the center of customer interactions, it falls to marketing to address customers' concerns about safeguarding personal data and using it responsibly.

You might find a recent global study interesting on consumer attitudes toward privacy and personalization that SAS concluded this year:  Finding the Right Balance Between Personalization and Privacy. The research confirmed two important points:

  1. As consumers continue to use technology that opens their lives to others, they have dual expectations of businesses: understand me as an individual and protect my privacy.
  2. In the end, it’s clear that businesses must align customer incentives for personalization in terms of relevancy and context with concerns over how personal data will be collected and used.

There are many other great take-aways in that report and I'm confident you'll find it worth reading.  Thanks, as always, for following our blog!

tags: big data, Big Data MOPS Series, content marketing, privacy, social media
11月 142014

The Big Data MOPS Series with Tamara DullThe big data privacy discussion is subtle, complex and complicated – and we each have a role to play. What’s yours going to be?

It was 9:53 AM. Sarah was racing against the clock: she wanted to finish a long overdue email to a Canadian colleague before her team’s weekly 10:00 AM meeting. Just as she clicked the ‘Send’ button, her manager, Mason, appeared outside her cubicle.

“Are you headed to the meeting?” he asked her.

“Yep, I was just heading over.”

“Great. I’ll walk with you. I was wondering if you had time after the meeting to go talk with Angie in HR. I got a call from her this morning, and a situation has developed that she wants to talk to us about.”

“What’s going on?” Sarah asked.

“I don’t know. She wouldn’t tell me. She said she wanted to discuss it with the both of us at our earliest convenience.”

“Well, I hope everything’s okay,” Sarah replied, trying not to think too much about it.

It was 11:05 AM. Mason and Sarah sat down in the two chairs across from Angie in her office. “Thank you for meeting with me on such short notice,” Angie began. “I wanted to talk to you about the summer picnic your department had a week and a half ago.”

Sarah remembered the event well. People were still talking about it and sharing the fun video she and her husband had put together and posted on YouTube. Even though the company didn’t sponsor the picnic, it wasn’t uncommon for employees to get together on their own time and their own dime.

“Do you know Nick over in Tech Support?” Angie asked.

“I know of him, but we’ve never met officially,” Sarah replied, and then she started smiling. “But we did get some great clips of him in the video we put together. That boy certainly knows how to party and have a good time!”

Angie continued, “Well, it seems that Nick is in a little bit of trouble. Did you know that on his drive home with his family after the picnic that they got into an accident?”

“Oh, wow. No, I didn’t!” Mason exclaimed. “What happened?”

“From the reports, Nick was too drunk to drive. His blood alcohol level was 1.2. He’s now been charged with a DUI. And what made matters worse for him is that the police department found your video on YouTube. Those ‘fun’ clips you mentioned of Nick knowing how to party – well, the police seem to agree.”

“Was anyone hurt?” Sarah asked, still trying to process everything she was hearing.

“My understanding is that no one was seriously injured – just the cars. Thank goodness!” Angie replied.

“I feel so bad. I know it wasn’t my fault, but the video that I’ve been so proud of going viral has just complicated things for Nick. I wish there was something I could do,” Sarah said.

Angie looked at Sarah for a few seconds, and then asked, “Are you up for doing an experiment with me?” Sarah nodded. “Good. Do you have a feather pillow at home?”

“I do.”

“Bring it into work with you tomorrow and meet me back here at 9 AM tomorrow morning.” Sarah had no idea what was up, but she was curious.

It was 9:00 AM the next morning. Sarah walked into Angie’s office with her pillow.

“Good morning! Let’s go downstairs to the café, grab some coffee, and sit outside,” Angie said to Sarah. She then grabbed a pair of scissors out of her top drawer, and the two of them went downstairs.

After buying their coffees, they found a nice table to sit at outside. Angie handed Sarah the scissors. “I want you to cut open your pillow and pile all the feathers on the table.”

Sarah thought Angie was a bit nuts, but she did as she was told. With all the feathers now on the table, Angie started talking about the event again. Sarah tried to pay attention, but she was distracted by all the feathers blowing away off the table. After about 10 minutes, she looked around at the feather ‘storm’ that had hit the café. And the sidewalks. And the streets. “What a mess!” she thought to herself.

Angie then told Sarah to gather all the feathers and stuff them back into the pillow case. Sarah knew now that Angie was indeed nuts.

“What kind of experiment is this, anyway?” Sarah snapped back. “There’s no way I can get all the feathers back. They’re everywhere! Even if I could retrieve most of the feathers, the pillow will never be the same again.”

“That’s exactly right, Sarah. And so it is when we share information on the internet. We could be sharing our own stories, or our kids’ stories, or even a “harmless” video of employees having a good time. In today’s digital world,” Angie continued, “the lines between our professional and personal lives continue to blur. We need to be mindful of what we’re sharing. Because what happens on the internet stays on the internet. Forever.”

Sarah knew what she needed to do. What do you think she did?

Author’s note: This is my adapted version of the popular "Feathers in the Wind" tale attributed to Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev. I presented this story during my big data privacy presentation at the Social Shake-Up conference on September 16, 2014.

Originally written for and published on Smart Data Collective as part of the Big Data MOPS Series

Editor's note:

This tale of the "Feathers in the Wind" goes back over 200 years to the days of Rabbi Levi and perhaps before, yet its lessons still apply to our lives today. In our online world, those feathers are all like data points, and the task of controlling them might seem impossible. To recreate the pillow or to make something else with those feathers, you first have to get them in order.

Well, data-driven marketing is the same way -- good marketing depends on good data, and a good first step to get there is with data management. From there, the power of customer intelligence solutions is within reach to get you in sync with the customer journey. Take a look and let us know what you think!

tags: big data, Big Data MOPS Series, customer intelligence, data governance, data management, data security
11月 072014

The Big Data MOPS Series with Tamara DullToday, we live in an always-on digital world. We work online. We socialize online. We shop online. We bank online. We support causes online. Not to mention, we drive on toll roads with our EZPasses, go to Disney World with our MagicBands, and check our personal stats with our Fitbits. We are living in a big data world.

And when it comes to big data’s impact on privacy, we seem to be caught in this tug-of-war with multiple players and perspectives. Let’s look briefly at four of these perspectives.

Perspective #1: The Consumer. As consumers, we like "free." We just do. But what does “free” cost us in this digital world we live in? I’ll tell you: the cost is our personal information. And typically, the higher the perceived value of the app or service we’re using, the more information we’re willing to share.

It sort of makes sense when we hear reports that up to 70% of all data in the digital universe is being generated by us, the consumer. Everything we do is leaving a digital footprint and letting others know: “We were here.” And if we were here, we can be tracked and our data can be found - by any individual, company or government agency. For good or for bad.

Perspective #2: The Private Sector. While companies are motivated to make money, sometimes it’s not the consumers’ money they’re necessarily after. Or even the advertising dollars. It’s the data they want – because with the data, they can figure out who their audiences truly are – on both a macro and micro level. Yet companies are struggling to keep up.

With technology advancing so quickly and data growing exponentially, how are companies supposed to keep on top of the accompanying and escalating data privacy issues and concerns? With more technology? Maybe, but not so fast.

I like how Marie Wallace of IBM explains that data privacy is more of a societal challenge than a technological one. Her point is that we have the technical ability to build systems that are transparent, ethical, that respect privacy, and ensure personal autonomy. The problem is that society-at-large has not yet made a big deal about putting these protections in place.

So until then, companies are going be hard-pressed to focus on data privacy given everything else that’s on their plate. It boils down to priorities.

Perspective #3: The Constituent. Earlier this year, I was at a technology event put on by the mayor of L.A. A gal who called herself “Dee” came up to me after a panel discussion and shared this:

“Big Brother?! I’m not afraid of what the government knows about me. I’m more afraid of the internet and what it will expose about me. Heck, I’m even more afraid of people on the street with their smartphones who can take my picture without my permission and post it anywhere. I’ve been so diligent about living a private life, yet now I live in fear.”

Dee’s concern really wasn’t with Big Brother as much as it was with Big Companies collecting big data on her. While some of us share Dee’s concerns, there are others who are convinced we’re moving towards a more Orwellian surveillance state.

And then there are those who are advocating for a global, virtual “Cheers” where everyone, everywhere, knows our name—and our dog’s name, and where our significant other went to grade school, and what we had for dinner last night. “I’ve got nothing to hide!” is their rally cry.

As constituents in this digital age, we’re each having to define and redefine what privacy means to us.

Perspective #4: The Public Sector. There are no universal laws governing the collection and usage of data, let alone protecting a global citizen’s right to privacy. I use the term “right to privacy” loosely because it means something different depending on which country you’re in.

For example, in the US, our view of privacy is focused on the home and on the person. Did you know that there are only four privacy torts that set the standards by which privacy violations are determined in the American courts? When a violation occurs, the first question we ask is, “What’s the harm?” And that harm must be tangible.

However, in Europe, we find that the right to privacy is centered around preserving the individual’s honor and dignity in the public sphere. When a privacy violation occurs there, the first question asked is “What’s the harm to the individual?” And this time, the harm doesn’t have to be tangible; it can be intangible.

Then beyond the U.S. and Europe, there are those who live in more repressive regimes, like China, Syria and Russia – and they have zero expectation of privacy.

The global right to privacy discussion is all over the map. Literally.

It’s all about trust. Big data privacy is not a fun discussion. It’s subtle, complex, yet very important. And we’ve barely scratched the surface with these four perspectives in this post. We didn’t even get into the interplay between consumers. Or consumers and Big Companies. Or Big Companies and small companies. Or constituents and Big Brother. Or Big Brother and Big Companies…

Moreover, this privacy issue is only getting bigger, especially as companies and government agencies get better at collecting, analyzing, and (sometimes) selling the data we’re freely sharing with them. Trust – not more technology - is the glue that’s going to keep this big, complex data ecosystem together.

Your takeaway. Who are you entrusting with your data, your personal information? And who’s trusting you (and your company or agency) with their data? Can you be trusted? A couple of weeks ago, I watched a news story about Target’s new CEO. Do you know what’s keeping him up at nights? It’s figuring out ways to regain his customers’ trust. He’s on the right track.

Originally written for and published on Smart Data Collective as part of the Big Data MOPS Series

Editor's note:

I'm so pleased to include Tamara's Big Data MOPS series on this blog. Marketers have a stake in understanding and addressing all four aspects of MOPS - Monetization, Ownership, Privacy and Security - because all aspects impact directly on the customer relationship.  And she's absolutely right about the role of trust in the health & well-being of our digital ecosystem.

Big data can help deliver epic experiences, but it also has the potential to deliver nightmares and we all have a responsibility to favor the former and do everything possible to avoid the latter. If your organization operates in multiple countries, tread carefully with the issue of data privacy. One visit to a place like Budapest's Terror House Museum will vividly open your eyes to why privacy as an issue is so sensitive - and recent - in many corners of the world.

On the other hand, for a view of how data can help deliver epic customer experiences, take a look at this paper, How Vail Resorts Creates Epic Experiences with Customer Intelligence.  And as always - thank you for following our blog!

tags: big data, Big Data MOPS Series, data privacy, Internet of Things
10月 312014

The Big Data MOPS Series with Tamara DullWho would you give your personal information to: your state’s new toll road system, an amusement park, neither, or both?

At a Forrester event earlier this year, Melissa Parrish, a Forrester VP and research director, told the story about how her father (we’ll call him Bob), who lives in New Jersey, was rattled by NJ’s E-ZPass system to streamline toll collection on roads. “There’s no way I’m giving them my personal information so I can get a pass!” he told his daughter.

Bob had been traveling the toll roads to his job in New York City for decades, and he had no interest in getting an E-ZPass electronic tag in his car. Yet later, when Bob went to Disney World in Orlando with his grandchildren, he was delighted with Disney’s new MagicBand, and couldn’t stop raving about it.

Given Melissa’s deep knowledge of customer data and how it’s used, she didn’t understand why her father was not okay sharing his personal data with the NJ Turnpike Authority—even though it meant he would save time and money on his daily commute. Yet, Bob was more than willing to let Disney track his every move, check-in to FastPass+ rides, buy food, and get in and out of the park and hotel—all with the swipe of the band on his wrist.

This is the dilemma we all face: How much personal information are we willing to give up to enjoy some of the conveniences offered by technology today? And at what point does cool (like Disney’s MagicBand) cross the line and become creepy (like NJ’s E-ZPass)?

About personal data collection. A minority of us travel toll roads, and it may be years before we visit a Disney park and have the opportunity to wear a MagicBand. Yet all of us are experiencing the universal impact of big data privacy in our daily lives, whether it’s in our cars, on our devices, at home, in our work places, while traveling, or just out and about around town.

Big data privacy and personal data collection are tightly coupled. Companies and individuals we do business with have been collecting our personal information for decades – either on paper or electronically. Technically speaking, they’ve been collecting our “small” transactional data (and in some cases, a lot of it). “Big” data has changed this data playing field. “We the people” are now generating an exponential amount of data with all our Facebook photos, Twitter updates, YouTube videos, smartphones, GPS tracking devices, FitBits, and smart home appliances and devices. And yes, even with our E-ZPass electronic tags and MagicBands.

By establishing an account, relationship, and/or connection with a company, brand or app, we are trusting them to use our personal data ethically, securely, and more often than not, privately.

Why this matters. I love this quote from Vala Afshar: “We are not a team because we work together. We are a team because we trust, respect and care for each other.” When a company/brand/app makes our trust, respect, and care a top priority—in action, not just in words—it strengthens the relationship and creates customer loyalty.

It is no longer good enough to make the connection or get the account. The challenge now for companies/brands/apps is to demonstrate that they are trustworthy, respectable, and care about safeguarding what customers have shared with them—i.e., their personal data. Failing this challenge or not taking this challenge seriously enough only opens the door to your competitors.

Now it’s your turn. As a data professional, you understand your customers’ concerns with big data privacy because you’re grappling with it yourself on a personal level. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes as you consider the following priorities:

  • Convenience. We all like convenience, and in an economy where time is short and competition is high, it’s important that we continually improve our customers’ experience with us—whether it’s faster processing times, easier site/app navigation, less clicks, or more channel options to connect. In making your customers’ experience more convenient, be sure to properly safeguard any additional data being collected.
  • Connection. In today’s economy, we largely stay connected through the data we share and the devices we use. Even our cars, homes, workplaces, and cities are becoming more connected through data and devices. What role does your company play in this connected economy? Are you making it easier or harder for your customers to stay connected?
  • Value. Customers will share their personal information with you if they believe they’re getting something valuable in return. The rub here is that value is both relative and subjective. What one person desires and values highly, another person may quickly dismiss. The key takeaway here is if your company collects personal information, only collect the data you need to run your business or improve their experience, and continually look for ways to reward them for their data.

One final thought. If you recall, Melissa’s father, Bob, was creeped out by the NJ E-ZPass system, yet delighted with Disney’s MagicBand. Melissa asked her father why. “The MagicBand is worth it. It’s convenient and offers a lot of value,” her father replied.

Personally, I find the MagicBand both cool and creepy—and the NJ E-ZPass the least creepy of the two. But that’s just me. It’s all in the eye of the beholder.

Originally written for and published on Smart Data Collective as part of the Big Data MOPS Series

Editor's note:  Tamara's point about convenience, connection and value like at the heart of the data privacy debate - balancing those considerations is how to address the issue. But as per her final thought, value is relative and very subjective. And it's really about perceived value - so what's a marketer to do?

To me, that makes two big reasons data privacy is a concern for marketing - in the first place because marketing is the rightful steward of the customer relationship, and secondly because it's marketing's responsibility to communicate the value proposition for customers to entrust your organization with safeguarding their personal data and using it responsibly.

SAS recently conducted a global study on consumer attitudes toward privacy and personalization, which is summarized in this report:  Finding the Right Balance Between Personalization and Privacy. The research confirmed two important points:

  1. As consumers continue to use technology that opens their lives to others, they have dual expectations of businesses: understand me as an individual and protect my privacy.
  2. In the end, it’s clear that businesses must align customer incentives for personalization in terms of relevancy and context with concerns over how personal data will be collected and used.

There are many other great take-aways in that report and I'm confident you'll find it worth reading.  Thanks, as always, for following our blog!

tags: big data, Big Data MOPS Series, data privacy, Internet of Things
10月 252014

The Big Data MOPS Series with Tamara DullWhat do the following companies have in common: Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Orbitz, Airbnb, Angie’s List,, OpenTable, and Uber?

Here’s what I came up with:

  • Presence. They’re all online; they have no brick-&-mortar presence. If their website or mobile app is unavailable, it’s as if they don’t exist.
  • Primary asset. Their primary corporate asset is data, specifically data (mostly big data) created by users. They do not sell physical inventory.
  • Business model. Their primary function is to connect users with the right web page, person, and/or service. If connections aren’t relevant, quick, or easy, users move on.
  • Revenue model. They make their money by connecting the data dots, primarily through advertising or service fees. If connections aren’t made, money is lost.
  • Top companies. Interestingly enough, Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Orbitz are included in Forbes’ 2014 ten best companies to work for list. And Google, Facebook, and Twitter are included in Glassdoor’s Top 25 Companies for Culture & Values 2014 list.

Bottom line: If any of these companies fail to keep collecting and connecting the data dots for its users, for whatever reason, they will go out of business.

About data as a corporate asset. Let’s take a closer look at the point that these companies’ primary asset is data. For over a decade, industry analysts, management consultants, and vendors alike have been talking about managing data as a corporate asset. What does that mean? Jill Dyché, co-founder of Baseline Consulting and current vice president of SAS Best Practices, explains it this way:

"To understand what it means to manage data as an asset, you first have to understand the business definition of the term ‘asset.’ First, the asset needs to have a value; second, that value needs to be measurable; and third, it helps a company achieve its strategic objectives. When managed the right way—that is, as an asset—a company’s data meets these three criteria."

Why this matters. Managing data as a corporate asset is no small feat. It’s just plain hard work that requires the rigor of and investment in data asset management tools—not to mention the cooperation of and coordination between parts of the business such as marketing and IT. Why sign up for this headache when you and your colleagues have more than enough to do and bigger fish to fry?

Here’s why: Data is driving your business. If it’s not, it will be and/or it should be. We are living in an already-connected economy that’s becoming even more connected because of the exponential growth of data and devices. This is what the Internet of Things discussion is all about. The good news is that this data can provide insight into your business performance and strategic direction.  The bad news is that you could drown in it. Manage your data before it manages you.

Questions to think about. Jill Dyché often tells executives: “A company’s ability to use information strategically is directly correlated to the degree to which the data is managed.” To help executives get a sense of how they’re doing with managing data as a corporate asset, she asks them these five questions:

  • Are you giving your corporate data – big and small – resources comparable to your other corporate assets?
  • Are you dedicating technology comparable to your other corporate assets?
  • Are you allocating funding relative to your other corporate assets?
  • Do you measure the cost of poor, missing or inaccurate data?
  • Do you understand the “opportunity cost” of not delivering timely and relevant data to the business?

These questions have made more than a few executives squirm. But if you were to ask the executives of the 10 companies mentioned earlier, they’d answer a resounding “Yes!” to each question. Why? Because their data is intimately tied to their company’s core strategic objectives. (And yes, I’m cautiously optimistic that they’re also managing this data well.)

One final thought. I kicked off this blog series with this strong admonishment: “If you’re not using big data to improve your business – e.g., revenues, profits, operational efficiencies, decision making, etc. – then don’t do big data. It’s not worth the time, money or hassle.” Or in other words, big data is about making money.

So even if big data is not your core business, like it is for the companies highlighted above, then managing your data – big and small – as a corporate asset is absolutely vital as your company makes its way in today’s connected marketplace. To not manage your corporate data is to rob your company of its strategic edge.

Originally written for and published on Smart Data Collective as part of the Big Data MOPS Series

Editor's note:

As always, Tamara is spot-on with the points she's making in this post and it's the reason I'm so pleased to include her Big Data MOPS Series as our Friday feature. On the question of resources and technology dedicated to big data, marketers should be thinking about cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity is a marketing problem.

There is a growing list of the who's who of big business - good companies with great reputations - who have experienced data breaches recently that exposed customer data to hackers. And because the damage to customers ripples throughout their lives, this is a marketing problem, too. One function of this blog is to connect marketing issues to analytical marketing solutions we call Customer Intelligence. In the context of big data, and because marketing is the steward of the customer relationship, cybersecurity matters to marketers, too. We can help - reach out and let's talk about it.

As always, thank you for following!

tags: big data, Big Data MOPS Series, cybersecurity, data management, Internet of Things
10月 172014

The Big Data MOPS Series with Tamara Dull

Dear Facebook,

Last week, we reached our 7-year anniversary mark. Have we really been together that long?! Because, honestly, it feels like forever. I’m sorry we didn’t celebrate, but I really didn’t feel like it. Ever since you asked me for my home address a few months ago, my feelings have begun to change. You crossed a line, dude.

Granted, it’s not the first time you’ve crossed the line—you’ve done it many times before—but this time, it was different. I know that I don’t talk much about my work with you and my friends, but I’m keenly focused on big data and privacy issues—two topics you know all about and use to exploit build our relationship. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Facebook Screenshot

I used to think it was about me.

I remember when we first hooked up. It was fun. It was new. You made it easy for me to connect with friends, family members and colleagues from years gone by. You even suggested that I connect with interesting strangers from all around the world. I started getting 25-50 friend invitations a week—many of which I accepted—and within a few years, I had almost 5,000 “friends,” with about 2/3rds of them living outside the United States.

Good grief, Facebook. Who has 5,000 friends?! Really? Not me. Not anyone. I know you cap the total number of “friendships” a person can have at 5,000—not because you think it’s too excessive for any one person, but because you want to have some level of control over the amount of “big data” processing you have to do to keep each person’s Facebook world intact. It’s good to know that you’ve set some limits for yourself.

The bottom line is this: You redefined “friend.” Not just for me, but for all of my friends. You made it seem like it was all about me and connecting my world online, when, in fact, it was always all about you. And collecting data.

You change the rules. A lot.

Let’s face it: You’re not my friend. You’re a big data machine. You collect, process, store, aggregate, and analyze all types of data 24/7—like status updates, comments, photos, videos, likes, notes, pokes, and the list goes on. Collecting data is what you do—and you’re always looking for ways to make money from it. I get that. That’s why you’ve been sharing and selling my data—and my friends’ data—for years.

The fact is that without all this data—my data and the data of my 1.3+ billion “friends” on Facebook—you would shrivel up and die. You need our data to stay alive.

It’s important to keep this in mind as people like me share data with you. I know you told me what you would do with my data when we first connected. You told all of us. And yes, I know that I clicked on the “Agree” button in the Terms of Service pop-up window (does anyone read that stuff?!)—so I get that you’ve covered your legal tracks.

Yet, every time you change your policies on how you are using my data and/or keeping it private, it just feels icky. And you change it up a lot. It’s hard to relax because I never know what or when you’re going to spring something new on me—or any of us. Not to mention the gymnastics we have to go through each time to make sure your “new & improved” settings aren’t exposing us in ways we don’t want. Frankly, I don’t trust you, but I want to.

You know how to keep yourself top of mind.

You remind me of some people I know: Negative attention is better than no attention at all. The Facebook chatter these past several weeks has been no exception:

New York Times. “We are all lab rats,” a New York Times article declared. This was after you told everyone about the news feed experiment you conducted on 0.05% of us. Despite the results of the experiment, the key takeaway was: Folks don’t like being manipulated without knowing they’re being manipulated.

Misplaced outrage. Yet, I tend to agree with industry consultant and analyst, Dr. Barry Devlin, who said the “outrage about Facebook’s psychological experiment is misplaced.” In his post The Ethics of Big Data…Again, Barry concludes:

“Internet services such as social media or search funded by advertising allow and invite manipulation of the data gathered for increased profit. If we agree that such services are socially desirable or now necessary, can we afford to expose them to even the possibility of such manipulation?”

OKCupid. It was nice for Christian Rudder, co-founder and president of OKCupid, to come to your aid and let the cat out of the bag. (Did you pay him?) In his blog post, We Experiment on Human Beings!, he wrote:

“If you use the Internet, you’re the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site. That’s how websites work.”

Petitions. My guess is that the folks at these website companies are not the ones signing these petitions going around—you know, the ones that would cut your revenue stream off at the knees, like this one: Do not sell off our information to advertisers. You can’t seem to win.

Like. Like. Like. I could go on and on and on, but I’ll stop with the article about Mat Honan’s experiment, where he liked everything you put in his timeline for two days—just to see how you would respond. You nearly messed the young man up. Not to mention his timeline.

I really want this to work. Seriously.

Sometimes I miss the good ol’ days. The days before we met. I have fond, but faint, memories of my life before I met you and all your internet buddies. I was more physically active back then and I read more hardback books. And I saw the whites of more eyeballs. But I digress.

We both know that there are a lot of other fish in the internet sea; yet I want this relationship to work because I see value in it. But I need to trust you more, so here’s what I’m asking (for now):

  • If I give you my personal data for free, don’t go behind my back and share/sell it to someone else without my knowledge.
  • Figure out a simple way to help me understand who owns my data, who has rights to it, and for how long. I know a lot of people don’t care, but some of us do.
  • You act so arrogant when I or my friends scoff at your ever-changing privacy rules and features. Drop the arrogance act and make it easy for me to manage my own data.
  • Be transparent about what and how my data is being used, what requests have been made by external entities, and the steps you’re taking to keep my data secure.
  • And last, don’t ask me for my home address. It’s none of your business.

Let me be clear: I’m not breaking up with you. Yet. I’m willing to work on our problems. Are you up for it? I hope so. Because I’m not quite ready to accept that it’s not you, it’s me.

Originally written for and published on Smart Data Collective as part of the Big Data MOPS Series

Editor's note:

I love the way Tamara has elevated the big data discussion for marketers way above and beyond Gartner's 3V's construct for defining big data.

  • In her first big data series on this blog, she laid out a 10-step "archipelago" of big data islands as a more practical way for everyone outside of I.T. to understand big data.
  • This series - the "MOPS Series" - gives marketers a framework for knowing what to actually do with big data (and also what not to do with it). The monetization, ownership, privacy and security of big data all matter to marketers and cannot be simply relegated to I.T. or another department.

I hope you're getting as much out of Tamara's Big Data MOPS series as I am. As always, thank you for following!

tags: big data, Big Data MOPS Series, privacy
10月 102014

The Big Data MOPS Series with Tamara Dull

What do Ebay, Living Social and Adobe have in common? These companies, among countless others, have all experienced a significant data breach in the last year. While these breaches have cost millions of dollars to fix, they’ve also cost some executives their jobs. If you don’t think data security is important, especially in this new age of big data, think again.

About data breaches. In April 2014, Verizon Enterprise Solutions released its 2014 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR). For this report: 50 organizations from around the world contributed; 63,000+ security incidents were analyzed; and 1,367 confirmed data breaches were studied. One key discovery Verizon made this year is that over the last 10 years, 92% of the incidents they’ve seen can be summarized with these nine classification patterns:

  • Miscellaneous errors – any user mistake that compromises security
  • Crimeware – malware, phishing
  • Insider and privilege misuse – includes outsiders and partners
  • Physical theft and loss – loss of devices and information assets
  • Web app attacks – use of stolen credentials, exploit vulnerabilities
  • Denial of service (DoS) – attacks, not breaches, designed to bring systems to a halt
  • Cyber-espionage – state-affiliated breaches, intellectual property theft
  • Point-of-sale intrusions – attacks on POS applications to capture payment data
  • Payment card skimmers – physical installation that reads your card as you pay

These nine patterns classify almost all of the attacks an organization is likely to face. Organizations can use these patterns to better understand the threat landscape and prioritize their own security investments.

Why this matters. Even though data security may sound like it’s IT’s responsibility, it’s not. It’s a company-wide responsibility that affects every employee regardless of role. Not only can data breaches cost a lot to fix (both legally and technically), your customers may lose faith in your ability to protect their interests, your reputation will most likely be damaged, and your bottom line may be negatively impacted. Some companies never really recover from such tragedies.

Questions to think about. As I mentioned earlier, data security is a company-wide responsibility. Even if you aren’t in IT, how prepared are you to answer the following questions?

  • Is data security taken seriously at your organization? If not, why not? Remember that if you suffer a breach of any kind, the potential loss could be devastating.
  • Are you encrypting sensitive data? Whether the data is being stored on-premises or in the cloud, make sure proper encryption (and decryption) techniques and practices are in place.
  • What proactive steps have you taken to make sure the data you’re collecting is secure? Even though you may never be asked by a customer, be prepared to answer, “How is my data being secured?”
  • Who has access to the customer data you’re collecting? And who’s accessing this data? (The answers to these two questions may be different, which could indicate a problem that needs addressing.) It’s important to keep data on a need-to-know basis and make sure access is revoked when an employee leaves the company.

One final thought. It’s not enough anymore for companies to primarily focus on protecting themselves from external, malicious data breaches. As Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, has aptly demonstrated, giving an employee too much access can also work against you. Be vigilant and pay attention to the warning signals. Even if that warning signal is coming from your gut.

Originally written for and published on Smart Data Collective as part of the Big Data MOPS Series

Editor's note:

Tamara is 100% right in saying that data security is a company-wide responsibility that affects every employee regardless of role. As the steward of the customer relationship, it should be a particular concern of marketing because most of the data in big data is customer data.

That's not to say marketing should take the issue on single-handedly - be ready to participate in the dialogue and expect to spend more time at the table with I.T. on this and other big data issues. For more details about that, take a look at this CMO Council report called Big Data's Biggest Role: Aligning the CMO and the CIO. It's worth the read.

tags: big data, Big Data MOPS Series, data governance, data security, marketing analytics
10月 032014

The Big Data MOPS Series with Tamara Dull

“Big Brother?! Ha! I’m not afraid of what the government knows about me. I’m more afraid of the internet and what it will expose about me. Heck, I’m even more afraid of people on the street with their smartphones who can take my picture without my permission and post it anywhere. I’ve been so diligent about living a private life, but now I live in fear.”

An attendee who went by the name of “Dee” at a technology public sector event in May 2014

The big data privacy reports. On the heels of Edward Snowden’s proclamation about the U.S. government’s misuse of consumer data, President Barack Obama asked his counselor, John Podesta, in January 2014 to conduct a 90-day study on big data privacy with recommendations on how to move forward as a country. In May, two reports were publicly released:

Both reports are a good discussion starter about balancing the effective use of big data with the intrusions of privacy and discrimination, and they aptly demonstrate that the government understands the big data questions on the table – from both a policy standpoint and a technological standpoint. However, they didn’t go far enough to address tough, but common, privacy concerns, like the ones expressed by “Dee” in the quote above.

What needs to happen next? The public and private sectors need to come together and make some hard decisions about managing the government’s complex data, modernizing its infrastructure, and constraining snooping and surveillance, while building consensus on how much efficiency we’re willing to forego in the name of privacy, and vice versa.

Why this matters. One key issue that I was pleased to see highlighted in these White House reports is the de-identification (or anonymization) and re-identification of individuals’ identities. It’s important to understand this one.

You’re probably familiar with the concept of de-identifying or anonymizing data. In simple terms, it means removing any information from a data set that could personally identify a specific individual; for example, the person’s name, a credit card number, a social security number, home address, etc. Companies that sell consumer data, such as data brokers, typically only sell anonymized, and often aggregated, data. So what’s the big deal?

With today’s big data technologies, it’s becoming easier to re-identify individuals from this anonymized data. Programming techniques have been and continue to be developed to pull these anonymized pieces back together from one or more data sets. In addition, there is growing concern by what analysts call the “mosaic effect” whereby a person’s identity can be derived or inferred from data sets that don’t even include personal identifiers. So if a company says it anonymizes your data before passing it onto others, be aware that your identity could still be revealed through advanced re-identification techniques.

In our organizations, as we continue to learn more about our customers by integrating big data, such as social media, with our CRM data, we may discover stories about them they never intended or wanted us to know. We need to respect these new insights and respect our customers’ privacy.

Questions to think about. Where does your organization stand when it comes to data privacy? Consider these questions:

  • Does your organization have a privacy policy? Make sure you understand and adhere to your company’s privacy policies, especially with regard to data, before a customer complaint or lawsuit beats you to the punch.
  • Do you tell your customers when a request is made for their data – from the government or otherwise? Do you publish periodic transparency reports? If this isn’t part of your process, is this a practice your organization could consider?
  • Is your company willing to fight for your customers’ privacy rights in court? How about Congress? This isn’t just a fight for the big boys like Google and Facebook. It’s for any company who values its customers and wants to protect their privacy from intrusive entities and/or activities.

One final thought. “Dee” (from above quote) readily admits that she’s a bit paranoid. But what if her fears are valid and some of us just aren’t paranoid enough? Dee’s concern really isn’t with Big Brother as much as it is with “Big Companies” (read “not the government”) who are collecting big data on her through her social media channels, FitBit, phone records, internet browsing, car GPS, and the list goes on. Moving onto the national stage, we’ve witnessed Edward Snowden going public with the link between Big Brother and Big Companies, and more recently, the White House has issued two reports addressing these same Big concerns.

Yet the question still remains: What are we doing – in our companies and in our private lives – about privacy issues brought on by big data and big data technologies? Do we even care? In a future post, I will share some industry statistics and trends on this subject. In the meantime, stay safe. It’s a big data world out there.

Originally written for and published on Smart Data Collective as part of the Big Data MOPS Series.

Editor's note:

This post pertains to the "P" (Privacy) in Tamara's "Big Data MOPS Series." Like all of these MOPS topics, privacy is not a trivial matter for marketers because it has the potential to wreak havoc with customer relationships, especially as we apply customer analytics to the data. For that reason, I am pleased to offer this "Friday Feature" on our blog - it's food for thought as we all become more digital in our marketing and pursue the opportunities of big data. To explore more topics in big data, I'd suggest you start with our Big Data Insights page.

tags: big data, Big Data MOPS Series, customer analytics