Big data has "too much cliché" surrounding it and instead needs to be approached with a results-focused strategy, according to Visa's head of analytics and insight.
Speaking at Gartner's Business Intelligence and Analytics Summit 2015, attended by V3, Kamran Ashraf said big data analysis should help a business to make money, not simply to collect and crunch data for the sake of it.
"There is too much cliché, too much verbiage around big data. A lot of the work on data, if it's ever going to make money, will have to come with a change programme. Just giving you the data alone doesn't solve a problem," he said.
The problem, Ashraf explained, is that big data analytics has to be driven by the right use case to allow businesses to scale analytics to make money or reduce costs.
Kamran said that his team at Visa works with big data analytics to help customers such as Tesco and Barclays get an insight into the markets they serve.
Visa can do this by analysing the wealth of data in transactions made through the firm's card payment services.
The team works on around 100 products a year in a consultation unit for banks and retailers using data harvested from 500 million credit cards in Europe alone.
Ashraf claimed that the results allow Visa customers to deliver improved products and services.
He also highlighted a need for companies to use a variety of data in analytics processes, particularly internal data which often exists in silos.
Siloed data can limit how effectively information is analysed across an organisation, as risk data is kept away from marketing and product information, limiting the depth of information that can be harvested regardless of the available volume.
Asraf said that businesses too often see analytics as attractive software rather than part of a strategy to improve growth or lower costs.
"People talk about a great demo or a great piece of software which uses Hadoop in the background and it all seems so easy, and in every demo I've seen on this technology they work," he said.
"Do they make money? Do they find opportunity in your organisation? Do they drive new business applications which are then connecting you back to the customer? Not if you don't have a change programme."
Apple Pay is due to launch in Europe this spring in partnership with Visa, making it likely that the company will see a lot more data coming from the Apple Watch and iPhone 6 models.
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