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The future is nearer than you think.

The experts point of view

As part of our Intelligent Communication expert series we have been asking senior leaders in marketing, data and research their opinion on the future of business communication.

The biggest challenges that the experts have identified are the need to synthesis different data sources and to humanise data in a way that makes it easy for audiences’ to understand and use.  These needs are still largely unmet and are becoming ever more important with the rise of bigger data sets and decreasing attention spans.

“Big data is unquestionably changing the whole decision-making landscape.  Ultimately that’s where our focus has got to be. So people who have perhaps grown up as experts in generating knowledge from a research or from an analytic background – or from a finance background or an HR background -have got to recognise that the chances of decisions being taken purely from information drawn from their specialism are decreasing all the time. So if Insight teams really want to add value, they will have to focus not on the generation of new data, but on synthesising data from many sources, and using their interpretation skills to evaluate options for key business decisions.” James Wycherley, Director of Customer Analysis, Barclays Bank

“Hand-in-hand with the big data challenge is how do you humanise data and turn it into a story that people can buy into and understand?  So as a quantitative researcher what I see an awful lot of, which can be quite frustrating, is the power of one. So often you’ll see people respond much more positively to an anecdote about one specific shopper than understanding the habits of 10,000 shoppers.  But not liking that doesn’t really help to move forward. I think we need to work out how we humanise robust data sets.  So with big data that becomes a bigger challenge than it has been before”  Matt Baron, Global Insight Consultant, Kantar Worldpanel


Making more of what we have

Most of the suggestions provided by the experts involve technology or ways of working that already exist.  Technologies include data visualisation, interactive dashboards and content curation software tools, while techniques include storytelling, video or social media tools. 

In the short term it would appear the key priority is to maximise the value of what these existing tools can offer to help synthesise and humanise data.  It is about finding ways to bring them into business as usual working practices so they can be applied consistently over time.  But what about other technologies that we have yet to apply?  What else is out there that could be of value?  What will ‘The Internet of Things’ bring to us at work?


Beyond the status quo

Convergence technology – where voice, video and data are fully integrated in one system, such as Skype - will enable us to do more at the same time.  While information utility services – where companies buy a range of standardised or personalised information services – mean  companies can access cutting edge technology that enable them to do the data analysis and communication tasks, without the heavy  IT investment up front.  Sensors in smart technology and complex algorithms will predict what you and you audience want to know before you even know yourself!

In this environment, what will the reality of data communication be like? As ever we are interested in your opinions and perspectives. 

Want to read more about what the experts have to say on data, insights and research? You can access FREE copies of the interviews  via our blog