Friday, October 28, 2011

An ounce of knowledge is worth a ton of data

As my colleagues return from Insurance CIO summit and other conferences, I am getting bombarded with questions and suggestions of leveraging the BIG social data.. There are many ideas floating - targeted marketing, risk evaluation etc..
Well, I adopted words of Dr. Fayyad (Yahoo’s ex chief data officer) to reply back - An ounce of knowledge is worth a ton of data!
Notwithstanding the legal and moral issues, the availability of this data does not mean 'availability of knowledge'.
The models put on this data are sometimes completely inadequate to generate any useful insight for insurers. Even if there are any, it is hard to tie back these insights to specific customers or prospects, thereby, making those completely non-actionable.

I think, the insurers will gain more, if they focus on generating 'insights' from the already available data, before looking at acquiring more data. There is a plenty of structured and un-structured data available within the premises of the organization, across several touch points.
How much that is being utilized? Do we have models to analyze the data and generate insights and predictions? Is this intelligence already integrated with the business processes - from customer acquisition, to underwriting and claims processing?
I think, we need to WALK before we RUN.