On 24 and 26 March we hosted The Hub in Wellington and Auckland; it was the first for 2015, and focused on data.
“Data companies have for too long drowned people in volume in order to sound smart…”
That quote’s from a slide presented to us by DOT Loves Data, who joined our March panel along with Marketview and Qrious, to talk to us about (you got it) data.
DOT’s point was that simplicity is the key to getting the best from data: simplicity leads to understanding.
PayPal’s Max Levchin once described the world as “awash” with data. Our panellists assured us that’s true, but it’s all for nothing if we can’t make sense of it. We heard from data experts about collecting data, interpreting it, and telling the right story.
Our Chief Executive, Steve Wiggins, opened the sessions by mapping out Payments NZ’s big three in terms of the organisation’s immediate focus. Among them is the Payments Intelligence programme, which leverages payments statistics and data to give us a big picture overview of our payments ecosystem. He also talked about Payments Direction – the long term strategic roadmap for payments that’s starting to take shape and is being partly enabled by data. Lastly, he spoke about membership: with new members coming on board, we’re continuing to build our network, and evidence base data for what works in practice, and how we can help make it better.
Data, data everywhere… indeed.
Craig Simpson from Qrious came to us with some myth-busting they had taken on around better understanding how stadium-goers spent their time ahead of a big rugby game. Using anonymised cell-tower data, the analysts tracked the fans as they went shopping, ate dinner and eventually made their way to the stadium. This data also allowed the company to test some assumptions about who those people were, where they had come from, and how far they’d travelled.
In an interesting twist, the data was also useful for the local mall and council to understand that stadium-goers were parking at the mall for the games but they were also spending up to an hour there beforehand (as well as spending money).
Dr Paul Bracewell from DOT Loves Data spoke about their approach to the use of data: simple, smart, beautiful. The company is made up of data scientists, who do the numbers, and storytellers, who translate for DOT’s clients. A key part of DOT’s storytelling is actually story-showing: taking meaning from data and presenting it in beautifully rendered infographics.
Stephen Bridle from Marketview’s message was that if you can measure it, you can manage it. Sage advice for a room full of bankers and others in financial services who need to understand their customers if they’re going to deliver the right products and services. Stephen explained that key relationships with a payments switch and a local bank has allowed Marketview to understand what real New Zealanders are doing with their money (and as we know from our Payments Intelligence programme, payments data is a true predictor of GDP).
What we’d heard and seen painted a picture of a brave new world: one in which no one invests, communicates or invents without evidence that their efforts will be seen by the right people (and that they’re needed in the first place). However, it confirmed for many what they had already suspected about data: there’s a lot of it, and we don’t always know where it’s coming from or how it’s being used.
A healthy debate ensued about privacy and data ownership, tested by some of the panellists who argued that data tells the people responsible for making our lives better how to do that more efficiently. The data guys also reminded us that most of what they gather and use is publicly available and largely anonymised.
We want to sincerely thank our sponsors, DOT Loves Data and Qrious as well as everyone who attended and contributed to the conversation and debate across both cities. We hope to see you at our next session of The Hub in September 2015.
The Hub is open to anyone with a genuine business interest in the payments industry. If you would like to register your interest in attending The Hub, please complete our registration form.
This March event is kindly sponsored by: