Leading data analysts from British Airways, Deliveroo and provide their insight on big data

Leveraging intelligence to help decision-making and customer service is crucial for innovation in enterprise. How businesses use this data, and powerful analytics tools, was the focus of the second WIRED and Accenture New New event in March. Guests included Jo Boswell, head of customer value management at British Airways, Bertil Hatt, data scientist at Deliveroo, and Tatia Engelmore, data science team lead at mobile-game developer

One discussion focused on the friction that can occur when firms use new intelligence and customer data to provide better services.

“That is the eternal challenge,” said Boswell. “How to maintain trust with a customer so they understand, ‘If I do this and share my information, it will bring me benefit.’”

Ray O’Brien, COO for global risk at HSBC, offered the bank’s approach: crowdsourcing the means to glean information from big data sets. “There are some companies in this space that didn’t exist two years ago [that] anonymise the data while retaining its referential integrity, so you can apply machine learning to it. That’s the key – and then you’ve got to make sure it’s not hackable.”

Ray Eitel-Porter, managing director at Accenture Analytics, agreed that first-class data handling is critical. “Companies need to treat data like a valuable asset or raw material,” he said, before sounding a warning that sensitive information is not a commodity, which demands a tactile approach. “Consumers should be aware of the unique value that their data trail contains and expect a fair and transparent exchange from businesses which make use of their data.”

Ray Eitel-Porter, managing director at Accenture Analytics

Leon Csernohlavek

Trust, transparency and security were recurring topics – an assurance that, while approaches to new intelligence may differ, responsibility is key. But responsibility doesn’t lie with industry alone. Firms say they’re keen to act, so users should vote with their feet and use platforms with “fair exchange” approaches.

In the tech salon:

Colette: A virtual AI and user-centred mortgage adviser for the home.

Pulsar: Online “social listening” to improve user-brand engagement.

Grabble: Visualised and animated footfall data which clarifies shopping trends.


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