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Game Changers

‘Who owns it is almost secondary’: Hong Kong-based entrepreneurs share tips on ways of monetising big data

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 December, 2015, 6:24pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 December, 2015, 6:40pm

Companies should team up and share information as there is more potential to monetise big data by working together rather than acting alone, according to a prominent entrepreneur in Hong Kong.

“It’s about how you plug your company and yourself into the mesh that exists externally,” Exicon co-founder Cat Purvis said at the South China Morning Post’s Game Changers forum in Hong Kong on Thursday.

“And [asking], ‘Who can I be partnering with to make the data that I have richer, stronger?’ Who owns it is almost secondary,” she added.

Exicon, which is based in the city, serves as a cloud platform to help companies with app management.

Purvis used the example of data from Google maps, which can be embedded into websites and apps as well as fitness tracker Jawbone after it opened up its data to external app developers.

Many traditional companies are proving slow to harness big data in their daily business but this is likely to change once senior executives cotton on to the benefits, she said.

Using successful case studies to highlight concrete benefits is the key, said Toa Charm, chairperson of a special interest group at the Hong Kong Computer Society that focusses on business intelligence and big data.

Toa said that setting up small teams to examine big data with conservative goals had proven in his experience a good way of promoting greater use of data and analytics among larger companies.

“Identify the areas where you can make a difference, change these passively by making use of big data, and then create a small success story and promote it within your company,” Toa said.

READ MORE: Online shoppers’ data must be unified across devices to paint accurate picture of their behaviour, says CEO of Hong Kong ad company Pixels

Suresh V Shankar, founder of Crayon Data, said companies are still not being smart in terms of promotions for individual consumers, despite their having access to reams of data.

Shankar used the Singapore-based telecoms company he uses as a case in point.

He said that every year the company offers him free calls to China, Hong Kong or Taiwan over the Lunar New Year period that usually falls in February. But he said this has little interest to him, and if they had conducted a little more research they could easily have discerned that he was Indian and therefore unlikely to be susceptible to such marketing strategies.

“Collecting the data is the easiest part of the problem. But what you can do with it is a completely different challenge,” he said.