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Gartner, Big Data & Identity Data for Business Decisions

At Whitepages Pro, we are always trying to study new market data needs. Over the past year, we have forged a close relationship with Gartner, Inc, given their cutting edge analysis of big data trends. I was lucky enough to be out in Washington, D.C. with a team a few weeks back trading notes with well-known Gartner executive Avivah Litan on Identity Access Management.

I was especially interested in a recent post that Gartner wrote for Forbes, Gartner Predicts Three Big Data Trends for Business Intelligence. Having been at a big data company for 18 years, I can say firsthand that we work hard to stay up on and in front of major trends. Looking at the Gartner post, here is the key trend that caught my eye:

No. 2: By 2017, more than 30% of enterprise access to broadly based big data will be via intermediary data broker services, serving context to business decisions.

We are seeing this trend up close and personal today at Whitepages Pro. Our customers come to us for identity data, primarily to verify and better understand the people they are transacting with. A “transaction” may be a credit card application, an online purchase or an inbound call to a contact center, but in all cases knowing the following two items is top of mind:

  1. Is this a real identity as opposed to a made-up or stolen identity?
  2. Is the data associated with the identity accurate, complete, and preferably, standardized?

To answer these questions, our customers are doing a third-party API callout so that our service will sort through a myriad of data noise to give them the best match or additional information on a given identity. The data we return helps inform our customers on how they want to proceed with their business transaction.

Let’s turn our focus back to Gartner’s big data prediction. The term “data broker service” is somewhat misleading. A broker implies that you’re simply passing through data with a markup fee. But given the proliferation of data everywhere today, we believe the market trend is customers needing aggregation, sorting and de-duplication functions for their data as opposed to a straightforward pass-through. That’s because the value-add of a big data service is taking a huge jumble of data and creating information that’s clean and actionable for the customer.

In our case, it might at first appear relatively straightforward to keep track of identity data—name, address, phone, business, email and social profiles—for a few hundred million souls. But when I talk to our data science team who are integrating data attributes and de-duping 2B+ records a month in a continuous stream of updates from many data sources as well as curating feedback loops from our consumer properties, you understand why customers aren’t just looking for brokers. The amount of work that goes into organizing the data is simply remarkable.

As the Gartner post excellently states, customers increasingly need big data services that are providing context for business decisions. They are looking for data services that can cut through the massive big data clutter to disseminate information and gain external context beyond their four walls for better, more streamlined information. Given the speed of business and the dynamic nature of data today, the old school version of dropping big data in batches every three or six months isn’t going to hold much water relative to making it accessible in real time via API like our Pro API does.

Suffice it to say, all of us at Pro are in strong agreement with Gartner, except for the 2017 prediction—we’re already heads down right here in 2015 serving identity data for better context and business decisions.

Want to learn more about Pro’s API? Check out our developer center.

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