A Really Big Data Creation Project

About a week ago I got a random e-mail from a strategic research company based in India asking me if I could help them find some information on the domestic remittance market in the Philippines. They specialize ins preparing research for various financial and banking segments and are looking to put together a paper on this topic. From my experience with Wells Fargo and having set up a business in the Philippines, I’ve managed to make a lot of connections that would undoubtedly help find them some of the data they need.

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First off though, I told them up front… there is no where you are just going to find the data they are looking for in one or two places. Most of the data on this topics is going to be unstructured… and what is available is going to be with a narrow focus and incomplete.

And this is something I am very good at… creating data. Taking a diverse collection of sources and using them to create a landscape of information. Data creation definitely falls more into the art side of analytics, because it’s all about networking and connecting the dots and taking educated guesses… not a lot of hard science!

This kind of analytics is very hard because most analysts are only comfortable working with data that’s been validated, is housed with a structured architecture and can be easily queried. They like playing with big data when it’s in a defined sandbox. The data needed for this project is scattered all over the place and in many cases hasn’t even been sourced yet.

So looking at some of the requirements; (1) domestic remittance transaction counts and peso volumes, (2) top remittance corridors, (3) major players in the market, and (4) channel used for transfers… its pretty clear we’ll need to lean on the Central Bank, and several other financial services providers to get data. We also need some demographics on the people doing the transfers and look at recent trends… and in addition, the client wants to include bill payments. It’s an extremely ambitious project.

Stay tuned to see how it ends up.

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