Has Big Data revolutionised decision making?

Contiamo is a mature technology start-up that helps large enterprises make better operational decisions using AI and machine learning. Contiamo won season one of Go Ignite, a joint programme established between the innovation divisions of four telecoms leaders: Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Singtel and Telefónica. We spoke to Nathan Davis, Senior Business Development Manager at Contiamo, to find out more about Big Data’s role in decision making and its future in the GDPR era.

“On a very basic level, Big Data is the utilisation of huge and varied datasets. Before the proliferation of Big Data, you had silos within companies that worked with their own specific datasets and had very little interaction. Now, thanks to the advent of automated systems for data aggregation and transformation, companies are able to work with large, varied datasets and get richer insights from them.

There are two types of decisions that can be enhanced through the use of Big Data: big strategic decisions and smaller operational decisions.

A lot of data analytics companies work on providing support for high-impact strategic decision making. We at Contiamo (opens in a new window)focus on providing support to operational decision makers such as customer service and sales agents who make hundreds of decisions every day. Optimisation of these relatively low-value but high-volume use cases, in our opinion, is highly valuable for companies and is a real untapped opportunity.  

There is an increased demand for personalisation from customers and the massive amount of data available provides companies with the opportunity to understand the needs of the customer better. Using the data to support decision making thus enables the company to not only increase their sales but also treat the customer better by offering highly personalised services.

An example to illustrate how data can be used to provide support to operational decision makers would be a customer service agent who receives a call from a customer. Our data models can make instant predictions based on customer’s location, purchase history, recent interactions to give the agent an idea as to why he or she might be calling. They are also able to offer recommendations for the next best action.  

We at Contiamo believe that machine learning and Big Data are not in position currently to completely replace a customer service agent. Intuition and experience certainly have a role to play.

We focus on decision support, giving recommendations and reasons why the recommendations were made, allowing the customer service or sales agent to override our recommendations in certain cases. We then have a feedback mechanism so the models learn why the agent chose to override recommendation and improve their predictions for the future.”


“Machine learning and Big Data are not in position currently to completely replace a customer service agent.”

Nathan Davis, Senior Business Development Manager at Contiamo
“As far as GDPR is concerned, I don’t think it will slow down the growth of Big Data. On the contrary, in most cases, increasing transparency will allow customers to see how data collected from them is being used to improve the service quality.”
Nathan Davis

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