Over the next five years, more than 175 zettabytes of data will be generated. That’s 175,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes — and someone has to make sense of it.
Despite the vast amount of information flowing, about two-thirds of the data being generated is never analysed by the organisation gathering it, Eric Schmidt, head of advocacy, data and analytics for Google Cloud, said. That means roughly 60% of companies aren’t getting the kind of measurable value from data that it offers.
Schmidt talked about some of the challenges facing news organisations in this data explosion while media companies shared strategies for incorporating data capabilities into their companies during the Smart Data for News Master Class in June.
Google is attempting to address three main issues that are holding companies back, Schmidt said:
- Complexity: “You talk about volume and velocity as time continues to move forward, and there’s an increase of data. How do you deal with that?”
- Silos: “You may have multiple clouds, you have multiple business units, all trying to figure out how to maintain ownership over these disparate vertical stacks.”
- Maturity: “As the business matures ... you want to get more value out of the data. The majority of focus today on data is really around talking about the past versus talking about prescription or producing estimates relative to the future.”
Data at the heart of Financial Times
Data brings a new capability to any business, but especially the news media business, says Tom Betts, chief data officer at Kingfisher. Aligning data in the right way allows an organisation to have clarity about its strategy and helps drive it in the right direction.
Before joining Kingfisher, Betts had been with Financial Times for more than a decade. He said that time represented a “growing up” in the way FT used data. Data provided a link between editorial and commercial, between advertising and subscriptions, between B2B and B2C, and being able to report to the board exactly what was happening in the organisation.
“It’s about highlighting what’s important, but it’s also about having a seat at the table and being able to use that seat to drive the conversations in the right direction,” Betts said.
Avoiding silos at Ippen Digital
Markus Franz, chief technology officer at Ippen Digital in Germany, said to build this kind of cohesive organisational development, it’s crucial for companies to have a clear vision of how to scale and how to evolve the company to be focused on data. This has been the focus of Ippen Digital over the past year, changing its team structure and creating new roles so everyone is working with data.
Ippen operates as though its data owners are responsible for spreading knowledge across the company and Ippen has decentralised how it thinks about data, Franz said. To ensure true centralisation of data and avoid building silos, the different teams must work together. It only works if everyone is taking responsibility for working with data within a specific focus, he said.
“They build a community of interest and a communitive practice where they share their insights and are working closely together on which kind of data we should connect and answer a higher question of analytics,” he said.
Collaboration at Schibsted
Collaboration has also been key to leveraging data at Schibsted, where a team has been working to prove that there was unused potential in the data the company was collecting from users interacting across its 55 different brands.
Agnes Stenbom, responsible data and AI specialist, said Schibsted put together a data collaboration team of four people, or enablers, to construct mandatory building blocks of providing responsible data practices throughout the company:
- Schibsted as the controller: Stenborn said it’s important for customers to know Schibsted is responsible for collecting their personal data and holding it safe.
- Schibsted account: They also wanted the same login system across all its brands. The benefits of this are more than just making it easier on the user. “We also get to know that account better as it travels across our sites,” Stenborn said.
- Common tracking: Their system, named “Pulse,” collects data in streamlined ways across the group.
- Common data warehouse: Schibsted also wanted a shared way to store and manage its data.
Building solid foundations at NHST Media Group
Even for young data teams, like the team at NHST Media Group in Norway, there is a careful focus on developing procedures around smart use of data.
Ariane Grumstad, head of analytics, said NHST Media Group works at a group level with its team of data engineers, data analysts, and data scientists. The company is in the process of reorganisation, and Grumstad shared its new vision: insights for improved business and society.
Grumstad shared the building blocks of NHST’s data strategy:
- Solid data foundation
- High value insights
- Collaborative team
- Data culture
The company’s data journey has just begun, and each different publication within the company is at different stages of data maturity. But Grumstad said these building blocks are key: “We want to build a solid data foundation — to give the base for how we can use this data to give high value insights and create a collaborative team working well with the business teams that are going to use the products, and enhancing skills and culture around data.”
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