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Thursday, 26 June 2008

Startup Idea #67: Predictive analysis on new data

The availability of cheap data is transforming job functions. A NYT article highlights how predictive analysis based on location data can assist companies determine the best retail location. This really struck my mind. Even the location manager is being affected by a data driven world!

As data becomes more abundant, I believe more and more jobs across different functions will be required to understand data, interpret their meanings and deploy them in decision making. If this is true, then companies such as Sense Networks, Path Intelligence
et al will be the new Googles of this data driven world.

Currently, we are witnessing such a change for marketing. Due to the data analytics approach brought in by the likes of Google and Rich Media, we are seeing a traditionally creative -driven function being transformed to one where superior data analysis can produce competitive edge. The data that resulted in this transformation is the ad clicks.

What about other data sources and how will these affect job functions? I think there are possibilities:
  • Data on virtual worlds: Virtual world data produces rich information on users' preference. A product designer can release multiple versions of a design into a virtual world for users to customise, hack, remix et al. The resulting information produced can enhance the designer's works. Anything from interior to fashion to industrial design can be transformed by such data.
  • Social data on blogs, social networks and forums: These are rich gold mines about people. HR for example can use these aggregated information to monitor the morale of their employees. To protect the employee's privacy, only aggregated data will be presented and charted to give HR real time analysis of the morale for the entire company.
  • Data on markets: These include markets from Ebay to job boards. Take HR again. Predictive analysis can be used on aggregated information, mined from job boards, to predict industry turnover trends. This can allow HR to forecast the turnover rate of the company in the coming months. Alternativey, one can also mine the ebay information on listings to collect trends in tastes. Such information can be used to make purchasing more efficient. Purchasers will be able to know the cycle of a trend (ending or beginning), the correlation between trends (black shoes with red belt? Just kidding!), the distribution of trends across locations et al.
  • and more....
So, the opportunities then are to offer business intelligence tools which offer new insights for DIFFERENT job functions that will greatly enhance their productivity. With the right data, powerful predictive algorithms and intuitive charting functions, I think there will be markets for a Sense Network in every job function.