Big (and Smart) Data for Digital Globalization

Feb 19, 2016

Article ImageData is all around us whether we use it or we are part of it. More than another trend, data is the way to move with agility and make every step and achievement tangible for those who do not see or believe it. One of the most transformational and accelerating factors of digitization is precisely how data is considered, leveraged, valued, and distilled. As data mining is not new it has become more than just a back office type of activity. It is all about turning facts into more than facts, figures into more than figures, and content into more than content.

For digital globalization practitioners and leaders, data shines like a glittering prize. That is why they face similar challenges to all business leaders when it comes to making the most of data. With the world to conquer and a number of diverse audiences to engage, they have to transform big data into smart data to focus on what enables making--and avoids breaking--the digital experiences local customers require. Specifically they must pin down the right data at the right time in the content supply chain to convert it into reliable indicators and valuable assets in the long run. In addition, due diligence is required to cover the cost and efforts of funneling, acquiring, and maintaining data. While the amount, the nature, and the scope of data depend on digital globalization targets and priorities, several categories may help establish a good base line to identify smart data and agree on a starting point for global expansion.

  • Customer understanding data-Ranging from general (e.g. census) to segmentation data these data enable you to bear in mind what customers do at all times as prospects, decisions, buyers, or users. Therefore this data covers the basics of diversity, as well as the trends and evolution in all aspects of behavior. What customers do before, during, and after a communication or a purchase is equally important. As such the data must cover all customer experience touch points, and come in to play when entering new international markets and developing growth strategies in these markets. For example data around online campaign management should include not only the actual performance of reaching out to customers but also what they care for before feeling engaged and how they follow up. In short, holistic customer understanding data incorporates who customers are and not only what they do.
  • Usage data-As typical performance data this remains crucial in any proper mix of smart data for digital globalization. Considering the complexity of global markets and the specific aspirations of customers globally each set of usage data reveals a lot about the current consumption of content and helps define the changing patterns of interaction between customers and content over time. For example combining multiple sets of usage data of a digital platform with the leverage of other types of data makes it easier to justify the actual actions driving enhancements in local customer experiences
  • Content effectiveness data-Capturing and measuring the real impact of content on experiences is tricky and must reflect the nature and ecosystem of the content. Such data usually cover two major layers, taking customer experience to the next level. The first one is dedicated to effectiveness making an impact and a difference for regional and local customers such as readability, meaningfulness, learnability, memorability, or innovation. It can be labeled as general effectiveness. The second layer dives deeper into how content is designed, developed, and localized for international customers. Effectively created content paves the way to effective content adaptation that leads to great achievements in final quality assurance. Therefore data captured along the way enables highlighting comfort zones or weak spots, while ensuring the needed actions are taken at the right stage(s) of digital experiences. For example a sticky micro site or a frequently installed application in some countries may generate poor results in other ones. In this case it is worth gathering data that can explain contrasted figures to highlight each effectiveness indicator separately. Measuring the level of content readiness and localization shaping digital experiences may pinpoint correlations between adoption and acceptance on the one hand, and original and adapted content on the other hand. Using smart data is the shortest way to go above and beyond what big data offer at first sight.

Ultimately, smart data varies according to the scope and the objectives of digital globalization. Some areas of the global content value chain definitely deserve sound judgment and granularity like cultural sensitivity, linguistic accuracy, format standardization, cycle time management, and localization quality. Big data is here to stay; smart data is at stake and up for grabs...

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