Social Media Lab: Data is the new oil, or rather the new soil for the business ecosystem

Social Media Lab director Andreas Weigend shares his expertise on the rise of, and future of, big data, social media technologies and consumer behaviour. He highlights that in today’s digitalised world consumers are sharing data in unprecedented ways and this social data revolution represents a deep shift in how people make purchasing and lifestyle choices. He advises airlines and the travel sector to ’embrace transparency’ as ‘if you’re not doing it, someone else will be on your behalf’.

Data has been a buzzword for decades. I did my PhD in neural networks in ’91 at Stanford and we thought that was the time when actually data finally made it. Little did we know at the time that the World Wide Web would someday be invented. So data is the new oil, or as some say, maybe the new soil, for an ecosystem in which things can develop. That is true for the airline space as well. If you think about it, ultimately airlines are a data business. From fuel hedges to frequent flyer programs, all these are data planes.

So it’s not so much about the interpretation of data, although I agree with you that indeed every data needs to be interpreted. What matters is what you do with it, what the actions are that you take. Not the actionable outcomes consultants might sell you, but the actual actions that you take.