Retailers struggling with big data platforms

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Retailers struggling with big data platforms

'Rolls Royce' systems go unused.

Large organisations are struggling to harness the growing amount of data “noise” they now face and dedicated IT platforms aren't helping, according to NBN Co head of consumer strategy Diane Shelton.

“We have an enormous difficulty in the short amount of time we’ve got to look at data and really take out the key points,” Shelton told the audience at an Australian Information Industry Association event today.

“Our data colleagues who are working with it all day are just swamped with information, so there’s a lot of noise, and online gives you more noise than you ever wanted.”

Prior to working with NBN Co, Shelton led the customer knowledge and insights division at Coles. 

Shelton made what she called “a plea to the IT industry” to remember to match technology enablement with the pace at which an organisation could use it.

“When we are led by technology in a lot of environments you have three or four different sets of software on a desktop that the buyer is supposed to use in making very smart decisions.”

Shelton said in many cases these platforms end up not being used by executives.

“Basically they’re all Rolls Royces and we haven’t got a drivers license, and we’re just struggling with a scooter.”

Shelton said the timeliness of information delivery had changed as more and more retailers moved to a real-time environment.

“If you haven’t got the answers about last week by Tuesday then forget about it, because that was last week, it’s over.”

Google industry leader for retail, Ross McDonald, agreed, and said the speed with which retailers could analyse data and use it to make better decisions was going to be a critical capability in the future.

“Whether it’s user data, geo data, interest data, there’ s a whole world there that’s going to change very quickly.”

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