NEWS16 March 2016

Turning data into decisions – case studies in integration

Data analytics Mobile News Retail Telecoms UK

UK – Real business insight comes from linking multiple data sources rather than looking for new techniques to replace the old, the MRS annual conference heard today.

Ray Poynter_crop

The Swedish supermarket chain Coop and UK mobile phone network O2 told the Impact 2016 event that they had linked disparate sources of information about consumers and external factors to measurably improve their service.

Coop, working with Nepa UK, has combined more than four billion transaction data points with Google map data showing customers’ travel times to their nearest stores, customer feedback through surveys and panel data covering 50,000 households.

Coop’s Niclas Ohman said the result was a highly valuable tool that could be mined centrally or by individual store managers. At store level, managers could see the product categories that were encouraging consumers to pass competing stores to visit a Coop store; centrally, it was possible to see where potential bread sales, for instance, were being lost to rival outlets.

At the mobile phone network O2, multiple data sources were being merged to help the company find the middle ground between the reality of the services being offered and the perceptions consumers have about them, the session heard.

David Seal, director of research and customer experience at Quadrangle, and O2’s Michael Buckley, described how they had pulled together network usage data, events data – covering service outages and upgrades, satisfaction tracker survey results, ad hoc research and demographic information.

These 70 million-plus data points had been mined for business insight. “Anybody can collect data; practically everybody does, and it’s worthless if you can’t extract meaning,” Seal said. “It’s about creating links, connecting things.”

O2 had been able to pinpoint priority geographical areas for short-term technical attention and longer-term investment, and had used the data to improve customer satisfaction. Buckley said that in the areas where the metrics had been united, customers were up to 10% happier, leading to higher levels of loyalty and value.

Ray Poynter, founder of The Future Place said it was essential to break down silos to get real value from research. He urged researchers to look beyond a single project and beyond information held by marketing teams to see the bigger picture, then build a picture that tells a story. “Make predictions and iterate,” he advised.