To Be or Not To Be: for centuries, this was our favorite existential question. But in our digital age, Big Existential themes have become Big Social. The flood of ones and zeroes shook up Shakespearean logic: from OR to AND and from Question to Answer.
Yes, we are talking Big Social here: Predicting behavior with Big Data.
Our second research report on Big Data bears this title and is available to all as of today [DOWNLOAD]. Learn how To Be AND Not To Be is now holding new answers.
The new Social Logic is overly simple: gather as many data points as possible, mix and match and study the patterns. Discover, explore and develop fresh insight. More questions than ever can be put to the test. Digitally speaking, To Be and Not To Be are complementary since only together the ones and zeroes from disparate data sources can and will contribute to smarter sensemaking, to better answers and decisions.
All Big Data development corresponds to organizational change. Just like the emerging roles of Data Scientist and Chief Analytical Officer, Big Social, or hypertargeting with Big Data, underpins the importance of the brand new Chief Customer Officer role. According to the CCO Council, the CCO is “an executive who provides the comprehensive and authoritative view of the customer and creates corporate and customer strategy at the highest levels of the company to maximize customer acquisition, retention, and profitability.” Indeed, we are talking Big Social here: Predicting behavior with Big Data.
Three Things from Here
The Big Social trend is perfectly clear. In terms of predictive power and ambition, the latest developments based on Big Data and algorithms reach much further than traditional Web Analytics supplemented by dashboards to monitor Twitter and Facebook traffic and to give rapid response. It means at least three things:
1. Drawing conclusions from unrelated facts:
Seemingly completely unrelated facts increasingly will turn out be predictive in some way. For instance, the moment of the day in which you play a game of Angry Birds could indicate that you will be interested in a more expensive bottle of wine on your supermarket visit. It is not inconceivable that systems themselves will go looking for correlations and correspondingly will present options.
2. From predicting to influencing:
Sunbsequently, the following question arises: which minor and major impulses can we feed someone to ensure that this particular person enters a certain mental state, one in which he or she is quite happy, is open to experiment, and ready to spend? Perhaps through the Spotify playlist or by giving a Facebook like. Perhaps by routing our prospect through a tree-lined avenue or to the coffee corner in our store.
3. Really smart organizations:
Behavioral prediction already is available as a service, for instance via the Big Data algorithm set of providers like MyBuys. This could be extended from consumer behavior to the optimization of work in organizations: ranging from business processes, work flows, customer services and risk policies to training courses, social recruitment and beyond.
Entering the Age of Prediction
If society, trade & industry and government authorities are all convinced of the importance of Big Data and Big Social, of the importance of searching for patterns and of better predictions about all kinds of topics, we might perhaps be able to look forward a few months ahead with reasonable certainty. Sci-fi? Think again. Dirk Helbing and colleagues already have received 1 billion euros from the European Union for their Living Earth Simulator or Future ICT Knowledge Accelerator and Crisis Relief System. This promising name says it all: we indeed are entering the Age of Prediction.