The value of information in the digital economy
The way you use data and present relevant information matters more than you think
In 2013, the total amount of data available online was estimated to be 1 yottabyte. That is 10 to the power of 24 bytes or 1.000 zettabytes or yet a million exabytes. Or simply put in other words: it is a lot of data and it continues to grow rapidly.
It is precisely this yottabyte that makes Google and other search engines so necessary, important and powerful. Because how do we usually find what we are looking for on the internet? Well, the two main ways are by using a search engine or typing on a browser the URL address we want to visit. Sometimes we also access a website via its mobile app or use internal search engines, as is the case with YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest. But the principle remains more or less the same.
When we use a search engine, it relies on our ability to properly define the search criteria. When we visit a particular website, however, our ability to locate what we are looking for depends on the way the content is organized and presented.
Most of the business sites try to become our personal internet and be synonyms for a particular business vertical. Our bank (being it either via URL or an app) would like to satisfy all our financial needs so that, whenever we require something related to finance, it visit our bank's website first. It is the same for our telecom provider or an airline webpage.
But very few companies succeed in becoming a synonym for their industry vertical. Even those investing in digital advertising may have their struggles to reach that goal. Not so Amazon. Amazon also wants to be the first address on our minds whenever we think of purchasing an item. Amazon is leader in the retail sector, not only because of their wide portfolio, but also because of the easy way it organizes and presents relevant information to our personal shopping interests. The online retailer respects but uses the information it has about us after we log in. Hence it increases the value of information as we receive extended data about product specifics, price and price comparisons, delivery time and costs and reviews from people who already bought and used the product in question. Amazon's new devices Kindle and Fire with their apps are new channels offered to the customer. The analytics Amazon uses to personalize the client's landing page, including recommendations for future purchases based on previous searches, add more even more value. With such an open and transparent approach, in addition to excellent customer services, It is collaborative and encourages our participation. Amazon earned our trust. Many people will pay more, but still buy from Amazon.
When analyzing the banking and telecom sector it becomes obvious that most of the websites in this industry are far away from Amazon and its ideal stop. They are static and the enormous amount of data they have in store aren't presented in many different ways. Even if you login as a client, you still get the view of your account in a standardized way. Information about the customer is unfortunately not used at all.
The value of information depends on how interesting a subject is to us and how much we can learn from a piece of information.
How do we measure the value of the information that is offered to us on a company’s website? How can we achieve better user experience with an increase in the value of information? There are two main factors that are influence to the value of the information:
1) To which amount is the offered information is in line with our personal interest?
2) How much can we learn from the information offered?
This is how data and information are differentiated and how the value of information is generated: interest and knowledge. On the low end you will find pure data. It is not corresponding to the client's interest and does not bring learning in the areas of interest. Relevant information, on the other hand, has a very high value.
If there is too many irrelevant data to our eyes or we can’t find what we are searching for, content does not become information for us, but will be considered noise. In case the diplayed data is relevant for us, but we already know all of it and there is no learning, again we will just treat all as mere data and not really as information.
That is why customer data is so important for the digital economy. It enables companies to offer their clients relevant information, based on their personal preferences and learning way. By adding openness, transparency and honesty, we gain the trust of our clients and that is what brings the real value.
Branislav VujovicPresident New Frontier Group
Strive to become better
Branislav Vujovic is founder and also president of New Frontier Group and has overall responsibility for the New Frontier Group, with special focus on Innovation, M&A strategy, group strategy and investor relationship.