In the age of big data there are huge opportunities to provide customers with truly personalized experiences that reflect their needs and their desires. However, these opportunities are not without risk and it will take a systematic approach if we want to transform the digital experience from static and constant to dynamic and adaptive. Mining data for small nuggets of insight is not sufficient; to truly succeed we need to use data to drive the acquisition of knowledge about our customers, and to generate understanding of how we can design products to serve their needs and ours.
By themselves, data are not useful; it is only when we apply data to generate hypotheses, to validate theories and to make informed predictions that we can harness their power. The smart application of data is often the weakest link in an analytics-to-action pipeline. This is not because we fail to use sufficiently clever algorithms, but rather because we fail to compare the outcomes of different actions systematically.
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