Big data security, privacy becomes a concern for marketing analytics

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Marketers ally with data scientists, but data security, privacy a concern

Speaking to an audience comprising of mostly marketing professionals, Berebichez predicted that in five years or so, data science and marketing will be part of the same community.


In today’s data-driven world, it is impossible to do marketing without data and analytics, Berebichez added. The proliferation of new consumer-centric technologies and IoT devices is creating a world deluged with information, creating new opportunities — and challenges — for marketers.

“The main challenge for marketers today is not the data collection anymore but how to produce decisions from massive data sets,” according to Anusua Trivedi, senior data scientist at Microsoft. “This is where data science professionals emerge as an indispensable asset. They take these massive data sets, create models around it to analyze the data and produce actionable outputs that would help improve the marketing and sales strategies of a business.”

The velocity and volume of data generated from billions of these connected devices are driving insightful business decisions, fueling disruptive innovation and changing business models, according to Bhavani Amirthalingam, vice president of IT and business transformation at Schneider Electric, who spoke at the recent SIM Boston Summit.

The IoT acceleration, which is driving the next wave of digital transformation, is being fueled by mobility and analytics, Amirthalingam said. Various reports estimate that there will be anywhere between 50 to 200 billion connected devices worldwide by 2020.

“As connected devices proliferate, it is similar to having multiple ‘video cameras’ at different angles of a person’s life taking shots during the same time frame,” Gartner analyst Earl Perkins said in an email interview. “Putting the video together allows for a 360 degree, holographic view of the event. This is a form of ‘de-anonymizing‘ people’s lives.”

And despite the popularity of smart devices, consumers sometimes take issue with their data collection capabilities due to data security, privacy and information governance concerns. In a 2014 bid to enforce tax discipline and detect fraud, the Dutch tax office used the data from smart parking meters and from text messages to ascertain car movement in the city. The Dutch people rejected the project after learning their movements could be tracked during the process, Perkins said.

There are several factors that add to the complexity of maintaining privacy during data collection, Perkins added.

“A major issue regarding privacy arises from the use of data context: gathering data from different sources that have a partial picture of the environment, putting it together based on time and location, and thus building a more complete view of the people and activities within that timeframe and location,” Perkins said.