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How data drives results

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Having a wealth of data at your fingertips will help most companies gain a competitive edge. But, too much data can be overwhelming and in some cases useless. RICHARD MULLINS, MD of Acceleration shares 4 ways that marketers can use data to better shape their campaigns.

Data – and lots of it – is perhaps the single most important consequence of the shift from analogue marketing to digital marketing over the past 20 years. Marketers today have a wealth of data, much of it real-time or near real-time at their fingertips – including their own CRM, web analytics, ad tracking, and transactional data as well as external data sources such as social media, government databases, 3rd party data sources and market research.

Sure, marketers have always used information such as point of sale transactions, market research, and direct mail responses to inform their decision-making, but today, they have unprecedented quantities of data to draw on to shape their campaigns. It’s not just the volume of data that makes it such a challenge and opportunity for marketers. It’s also the variety of the data – structured and unstructured data from internal and external sources – as well as its velocity – the rapid pace at which data is being created.

Faced with this deluge, CMOs need to think more about how they will put the data to work and less about the underlying technologies. Here are a few of the ways that big data can be leveraged to drive real business outcomes:

More intelligent and granular customer segmentation

Marketers can look for patterns in data that can help them to refine their customer segmentation strategies so that they can deliver more personalised experiences to consumers. With rich data about customers’ behaviour and spending patterns, they can create sophisticated messaging and offers that are highly relevant to granular and profitable market segments.

They can also understand what keeps customers from different segments coming back for more, and ensure they give customers what they want, when they want it.

Price optimisation

Because companies such as airlines, retailers and hotels operate on razor-thin margins and serve price-sensitive customers, smart pricing decisions can make an enormous impact on profitability.

With insight into customer behaviour from their own system and pricing data from external sources, organisations can optimise pricing for different customers and transactions. They can thus avoid losing a potential customer by pricing too high while minimising the danger of pricing too low and leaving potential profits on the table.

Get more bang for the media planning buck

With access to well-structured data, marketers can be far more discriminating about how and where they allocate digital advertising budgets. Before spending their money, they can ensure that they’re targeting the right people. The likes of Facebook, for example, can offer targeting options that go much further than the basics of age, location and gender. After they spend their money, marketers can track results by a wide range of metrics; for example, conversions or profitability of customers acquired through different channels and continue to enhance their marketing efficiencies.

Bridging the gap between the offline and online worlds

Data isn’t just about the Internet – the reach of digital also extends into the physical world. In future, marketers can be expected to make more use of geolocation and contextual data (with consumers’ permission, of course) to track customers’ behaviour in their stores and to target them with relevant information on their mobile devices, through near field communication devices (NFC). Even more possibilities will open up as connected cars and homes become a reality – the Internet of Things (IoT) will create new opportunities for data-driven customer engagement. Companies will need to start aligning their business strategies, structures and technology to the customer, the data and speed of personal relevance.

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Legion gets a pro makeover

Lenovo’s latest Legion gaming laptop, the Y530, pulls out all the stops to deliver a sleek looking computer at a lower price point, writes BRYAN TURNER

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Gaming laptops have become synonymous with thick bodies, loud fans, and rainbow lights. Lenovo’s latest gaming laptop is here to change that.

The unit we reviewed housed an Intel Core i7-8750H, with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. It featured dual storage, one bay fitted with a Samsung 256GB NVMe SSD and the other with a 1TB HDD.

The latest addition to the Legion lineup has become far more professional-looking, compared to the previous generation Y520. This trend is becoming more prevalent in the gaming laptop market and appeals to those who want to use a single device for work and play. Instead of sporting flashy colours, Lenovo has opted for an all-black computer body and a monochromatic, white light scheme. 

The laptop features an all-metal body with sharp edges and comes in at just under 24mm thick. Lenovo opted to make the Y530’s screen lid a little shorter than the bottom half of the laptop, which allowed for more goodies to be packed in the unit while still keeping it thin. The lid of the laptop features Legion branding that’s subtly engraved in the metal and aligned to the side. It also features a white light in the O of Legion that glows when the computer is in use.

The extra bit of the laptop body facilitates better cooling. Lenovo has upgraded its Legion fan system from the previous generation. For passive cooling, a type of cooling that relies on the body’s build instead of the fans, it handles regular office use without starting up the fans. A gaming laptop with good passive cooling is rare to find and Lenovo has shown that it can be achieved with a good build.

The internal fans start when gaming, as one would expect. They are about as loud as other gaming laptops, but this won’t be a problem for gamers who use headsets.

Click here to read about the screen quality, and how it performs in-game.

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Serious about security? Time to talk ISO 20000

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By EDWARD CARBUTT, executive director at Marval Africa

The looming Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act in South Africa and the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union (EU) have brought information security to the fore for many organisations. This in addition to the ISO 27001 standard that needs to be adhered to in order to assist the protection of information has caused organisations to scramble and ensure their information security measures are in line with regulatory requirements.

However, few businesses know or realise that if they are already ISO 20000 certified and follow Information Technology Infrastructure Library’s (ITIL) best practices they are effectively positioning themselves with other regulatory standards such as ISO 27001. In doing so, organisations are able to decrease the effort and time taken to adhere to the policies of this security standard.

ISO 20000, ITSM and ITIL – Where does ISO 27001 fit in?

ISO 20000 is the international standard for IT service management (ITSM) and reflects a business’s ability to adhere to best practice guidelines contained within the ITIL frameworks. 

ISO 20000 is process-based, it tackles many of the same topics as ISO 27001, such as incident management, problem management, change control and risk management. It’s therefore clear that if security forms part of ITSM’s outcomes, it should already be taken care of… So, why aren’t more businesses looking towards ISO 20000 to assist them in becoming ISO 27001 compliant?

The link to information security compliance

Information security management is a process that runs across the ITIL service life cycle interacting with all other processes in the framework. It is one of the key aspects of the ‘warranty of the service’, managed within the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The focus is ensuring that the quality of services produces the desired business value.

So, how are these standards different?

Even though ISO 20000 and ISO 27001 have many similarities and elements in common, there are still many differences. Organisations should take cognisance that ISO 20000 considers risk as one of the building elements of ITSM, but the standard is still service-based. Conversely, ISO 27001 is completely risk management-based and has risk management at its foundation whereas ISO 20000 encompasses much more

Why ISO 20000?

Organisations should ask themselves how they will derive value from ISO 20000. In Short, the ISO 20000 certification gives ITIL ‘teeth’. ITIL is not prescriptive, it is difficult to maintain momentum without adequate governance controls, however – ISO 20000 is.  ITIL does not insist on continual service improvement – ISO 20000 does. In addition, ITIL does not insist on evidence to prove quality and progress – ISO 20000 does.  ITIL is not being demanded by business – governance controls, auditability & agility are. This certification verifies an organisation’s ability to deliver ITSM within ITIL standards.

Ensuring ISO 20000 compliance provides peace of mind and shortens the journey to achieving other certifications, such as ISO 27001 compliance.

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