With data seemingly all around us, it’s easy to find it impossible to know where to start. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, most organisations underwent a huge digital transformation. Many actually began expediting their product development in the digital space by three to four years. Technology played a crucial role during that period, but as a result, data’s inevitable evolution expanded in terms of size, volume and variety, both for the organisations and the customers themselves. Data is always at our fingertips! Even a swipe on a mobile app can be captured and analysed to determine a person’s location and identity. This may sound awesome to some – and equally scary to others.
So, what can be done to turn this into a win-win situation for both companies and customers? We had a chat with Dianne Ramirez Robillos, our new VP of Personalization, Data & Insights, to hear her thoughts on how eBerry can use the data it collects to give our customers an even better experience when booking, staying, interacting and travelling with us. Dianne has extensive knowledge when it comes to data, and in her previous workplaces she has enabled teams to be more data-driven and customer-centric.
A few decades ago, data was termed the “new oil” because of its ability to be transformed and create value. Is that still the case today?
Dianne: There are a lot of perspectives on this with numerous articles describing why data is the new oil, as well as why that analogy has limitations due to the intrinsic characteristics of data being so different from oil. As data and its usage evolve, some practitioners claim “data is the new sand” to be a more fitting description. Others label data as a new currency or new commodity, and lately it’s also being termed as an asset or an investment. Whatever you call it, data continues to evolve and we have to stay up to speed with respect to its volume, variety, velocity, veracity and, more importantly, its value!
What would you say is data’s greatest value today?
Dianne: Many companies are still on a journey towards data maturity and they’re trying to figure out what value they can harness from data. How much data does one organisation really have? Who has access to it? What does it look like? Does it reside in disparate systems? How much data is considered enough data? It must not be forgotten that without usage and learning, data is useless. Value is derived when you know how to utilise your data to its fullest potential – it’s about leveraging it as an asset or as an instrument to create insights, drive decisions, and initiate projects that create positive impact for the organisation and, more importantly, to its customers. When data is used in a systematic and incremental way, you can achieve learning and positive progress.
Jonas Sander, responsible for Digital & Product Analytics at eBerry, provides a beautiful analogy. He says that the greatest value of data is the bond created between a customer and a company. As a company, we want to develop the best possible experience for our customers and, in order to do that, we need to have statistically significant data on which to base our decisions. Unless we do so, we’ll still just be playing a guessing game, and it will be much harder to develop great products and services, which can in the long run delay or reduce our company’s ability to be more relevant, to more people, more often.
In what way would you say that data is important to customers?
Dianne: When customer data is collected, and permissions are granted for collection, storage, analysis, processing, remarketing or a permutation thereof, it gives organisations the ability to better understand their audience, improve the way they communicate/engage/interact with them, and adjust their products, services and positioning to better fit the needs and expectations of their customers. This provides long-term value for organisations, since we are not just seeking greater revenue, but also much happier customers! For customers, the benefits are that they will receive more relevant and contextualised products, offers and services. The level of personalization will largely depend on how much data and what permissions they have given the company, as well as how cleverly the company is utilising that data asset. We all want to receive well-curated emails, don't we? People tend to prefer information that is relevant to them, instead of general information that is largely intended for someone else. The aim is to provide experiences that leave customers feeling satisfied, understood and heard.
You have recently been recruited to lead a team on Data, Insights & Personalization. What would you say is its main goal?
Dianne: We are here to enable the organisation to deliver the right experiences, to the right customers, at the right time, using the right channels. Our company's vision is to be more relevant, to more people, more often. We can support this by being both data-centric and customer-centric. We want to make sure that relevant data is accessible to all, that insights are created and shared, and that a culture of personalization is fully embraced. We will deliver the best experiences, create magical moments, and guarantee lasting memories, while making a difference to people and our planet.
Sounds like a great plan! How do you plan to accomplish that?
Dianne: With the right people, right mindset and right toolkit to equip us, we can certainly deliver on this objective! Some transformations will be required in order to mature us in terms of our data appreciation, data usage and data activation. Together with Alexandre Sinclair, Jonas Sander, Robert Lauritzen, and the rest of the eBerry team, we will establish a systematic and dynamic way of leveraging our data assets to drive decisions and recommendations, bolster efficiencies, iterate products and react to the evolving needs of our customers. Throughout this process, we will strengthen customer transparency and trust, which will also help customers to appreciate the value of being loyal to Strawberry.