April 21, 2017

Read a White Paper, advice for Data, Insight & Technology leaders

By Paul Laughlin

white paperI’m currently in the process of writing a white paper on some recent research regarding consumer usage of multiple devices online & the resulting poor experience.

Probably akin to the way, when you buy a new model of car, you suddenly notice many more of them on the road, I’ve noticed a lot of white papers being advertised recently.

So, following previous posts that have recommended blogs, newsletters, podcasts & printed magazines for Customer Insight leaders, this one will recommend some white papers to read.

Although longer form than the convenient brevity of blog posts or most magazine articles, white papers can help leaders.

They give the opportunity to learn about a topic in more depth. They are still shorter than reading a book, but often quote useful sources to follow-up if relevant.

Here are some that have struck me as useful this week…

Are you ready for the Data Apocalypse?

Ok this really is hyperbole let loose, but I guess it worked at catching my attention.

DataIQ is perhaps the most frequent source of white papers (mainly from data/technology providers or consultancies) for insight leaders. In one of their recent emails, I noticed a white paper entitled “The tools to survive the Data Apocalypse“. How could I resist. This paper, from RAPP, turns out to not be just another technology focussed GDPR scare story. In fact it takes a very customer centric approach to the wider challenge of data sharing.

Anticipating a data sharing “recession”, post GDPR & existing consumer trends in the face of over-solicitation, RAPP suggest 3 sensible customer-centred-design suggestions, around the themes of Choice, Control & Community. They then include a useful section bringing to life the GDPR principle of “Privacy by Design“. There is lots here for Customer Insight leaders to agree with & to use to educate their peers; as to why Customer Insight also needs to shape an organisation’s response to GDPR.


DataIQ – events, education and support for data, analytics and insight leaders and managers.

If Data Science still confuses you, perhaps you need a Field Guide?

In a couple of previous posts, I’ve sought to clarify what Data Science is & what you need to understand about Machine Learning.  However, I find a number of clients & readers are still confused as to where this differs from more traditional Analytics or Statistics and where it might be applicable.

If that is you situation, then you might find this longer white paper from Booz Allen to be useful. In fact, it is so long that they have given it the label of being a Field Guide. Inside, it includes tips to get started, tips on selecting analytic methods, what is really needed by practitioners & some of the challenges they will face. It also has 5 relevant case studies to bring the principles to life.

I don’t agree with everything here, but this is a very useful resource & practically a free book. I’d recommend having a skim read at least.

Field Guide to Data Science

The Second Edition of The Field Guide to Data Science, released in December 2015, features a number of additions and enhancements based on our evolving understanding of how to best use data as a resource. In the Second Edition, you’ll find:

Blockchain use cases should help Bankers design their pilots

Having been inspired by the #CityChain17 event in London, it was useful to then be emailed by FinTech Network about this Blockchain white paper. In it, they outline some of the characteristics & pitfalls of applying Blockchain technology to 4 popular application areas for Banks. These include Fraud Reduction, Know Your Customer (or TCF/Conduct Risk in UK), Trading Platforms & Payments. Considerations for each reiterate the point I made in last Blockchain post, that these developments need Customer Insight to guide their design:


Do you find white papers useful?

I hope at least one of those 3 white papers was relevant to your role & helped you with your current challenges?

Do you make time to review the white papers available to data & insight leaders? I’ve even heard, from one client, of Data Science teams producing internal white papers to help engage their wider organisation in awareness of Data Science’s potential to change their business. Have you considered this addition to other advice on building your team’s reputation?

If you have any other recent white papers that you’ve bothered to download & have found helpful, please let us all know about them in the comments section below.

Once I’ve published my white paper, on today’s consumers’ frustrations with multi-device swapping whilst using online services, I’ll also share that here.

Until next time, happy reading!