A number of top firms have concerns about the emerging trend of big data, according to a new report. International consulting firm McKinsey asked corporate leaders from eight leading companies, including AIG, American Express, Samsung Mobile and Siemens Healthcare, about their views on the increasing focus on big data. It emerged that the companies are aware that many consumers are concerned about their privacy and the impact of big data, especially when it comes to the gathering of such data. However, the use of data analytics could play a key part in ensuring that consumers, as well as businesses, are able to benefit significantly from directly and relevant marketing and experiences – but it may be crucial to collect and store large amounts of data to achieve such advantages.
McKinsey suggested that there is very much a need to build trust with consumers and allow them greater control over information. One option could be to enable people to opt in or out of the collection, sharing and use of data. Marketing company Acxiom believes consumers should be able to easily review, edit and limit their own data, as well as being made aware this could result in less targeted advertising. The companies involved in the McKinsey report were away that a breach of security could have profound and lasting impact on their global image. Therefore, it is vital for firms to have robust internal procedures alongside promoting the benefits of big data.
One of the major areas of concern for the high-level executives was the lack of talent available to ensure that the technology is correctly implemented and managed. According to McKinsey, the current shortage of skilled big data experts “extends far beyond the notoriously short supply of IT and analytics professionals”, with an ongoing need for people that have the correct technical skills but also the ability to translate big data into business advantages. “These translators can drive the design and execution of the overall data-analytics strategy while linking IT, analytics and business-unit teams,” the company explained.