Blogger: Ahad Merchant, Vice President – M&A at ABEC Exhibition & Conferences (ITE Group)
One of the most significant points of evolution in the modern data landscape is the inexorable transition of a centralized model of data management to a decentralized, distributed one. Big data offers some of the greatest opportunities for innovation in the new digital world but also presents challenges for the exhibition industry. There is huge potential for data analytics to completely revolutionise the way a company delivers its services, notably by making them more efficient and more targeted to industry needs.
The definition of big data has been thrown around quite loosely and unscrupulously. Some companies might even consider big data as a charmed technology to cure all data issues. Big-data analytics has been perceived as the next big technology, exhibition companies are failing to collect and analyse large sets of data from all available avenues. Big data has the potential to turn large sets into valuable business strategy and intelligence for many companies. Few companies have recognized the importance of big data but are failing to capture the business opportunity that might arise from the same.
The exhibition industry has the potential to gather more data than ever to create a knowledge data base about visitors, exhibitors and sponsors. But are we gathering the best possible information or do we have the right tools to measure and analyse the available data and are we turning these outputs to their maximum potential to get us the maximum benefit for our exhibitions and companies? The exhibition industry may never truly have the big data sets available that someone at Google or Amazon may have. It is not just about collecting the information, What is important is what one does with it!
In the last few years the quality of visitor information collected has drastically improved providing much more comprehensive and accurate data along with various other demographic information. Data collection used to be a manual effort and is now transformed into electronic data which can be analysed through various permutations and combinations. There are also numerous sources of data available through the external sources. Incorporating additional data into the analysis can yield a more precise picture of the present – and a more effective prescription for the future.
We should start with the decisions that need to be made, or the areas of concern we wish to address and then identify the full set of data available. Defining the key business issues from the start, the identification of data set to address these issues become easy to identify.
Once we know what needs to be achieved we should get data from each of the avenues, the volume of data does not matter, the quality of data gathered and effective analysis of the data available is key. We should start the analysis of the data by scrutinising, cleaning, transforming, and moulding the data to achieve the results through which the business decisions could be made. It is always important to link the various data sets that increase the value of the analysis.