Big Data...It's Personal

Who's watching you? What do they know about you? Are you worried your record in the Big Data database is wrong? Would you correct it if you could? What if you had a tool to manage your big data like you manage your spend? Around SIG, we've been talking a lot about Big Data, as you can tell from Sarah's two posts (which you can access here and here) and my earlier post on the topic. This morning I started a firestorm of emails when I blasted the team with a note about a new tool I just discovered. Although in beta, Acxiom, a company that supplies marketing data to organizations, has published an online tool that allows you to access your personal "Big Data" record. I decided to try it. For a few moments, I stared at the screen, convincing myself to input the necessary information required to produce my report. Naturally suspicious when prompted to enter any kind of sensitive information (from weight to address to social security number), I hesitated to experiment with the tool. I decided I wasn't giving up any personal information that wasn't already public, and for the sake of this blog, I'd try it. After a very quick login, the tool presented me with several categories of information, including data on my characteristics, home, vehicle, economic, shopping, and household interests. Once I click on these categories, I can view the data that this company has about me, and I can actually edit it. For example, I can change my gender, and then configure my data record so that my gender characteristic will be excluded. As I passed the link around to the SIG team we discovered that although many of us possess advanced degrees, the Big Data cloud apparently has stunted our education and we were mostly a group of high school graduates. Some of us had huge mistakes in data that should be very easy to capture, things like our homeownership status. Here's something that might convince you to do this...you can use its OPT OUT feature. And here are a few other things to think about:

  1. Is this portal only applicable to what this company disseminates? Do other companies have a completely different record of me and cloud to store it in? Is there a central record maintained by some independent party?
  2. Do you feel compelled to correct inconsistencies?
  3. Do you feel compelled to "trick" the system and change your age, your gender, or other data?
  4. Does "opting out" reduce the creepy factor? Will it make you feel like you're being watched less or more?
  5. How would this so-called marketing data compare to the data the NSA might be collecting on us right now? Is it similar? Does the degree of accuracy differ?

The tool can be found at: https://www.aboutthedata.com. Companies are using Big Data to learn more about their customers...it is a hot topic at events and in conference rooms. Maybe it's time to start thinking about what it means for you personally too.

Mary Zampino, Senior Director of Global Sourcing Intelligence, SIG

Mary has over 20 years of experience in information technology and over 15 years of experience in sourcing. Mary's responsibilities as SIG include sourcing and developing content for SIG's Global Summits, researching and developing content for the SIG Resource Center (SRC), serving as a member of the SRC Thought Leaders Council and their respective working groups, managing SIG's Peer2Peer member discussions, conducting benchmarking activities, and contributing to original SIG content through newsletter and blog entries.