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Growing Relevance of External Data

For a long time, internal data has been used by companies and organizations to better their products and services. With the onset of the global pandemic, Covid-19, data as we knew it earlier, has been rendered futile. In the absence of help from existing and easily-accessible internal data, organizations had to look at external data for predictive models and for getting an insight into customer behaviour as well as market demand. Restaurants for example, being heavily impacted by the lockdowns, can look at external data such as traffic reports to know when more people are venturing out and may be open to dining out in patios or ordering in more ‘outside’ food. They can also use external data to know about the Covid-19 cases in particular locations and make a decision to open their branches/delivery systems there or not. In fact during the early stages of the spread of Covid-19, last year, we at Infinite Analytics conducted a comprehensive contact tracing in association with 30 state authorities across the country and traced people across hotspots in 23 states in India. You can read about it here.

The need

Things took a highly unpredictable turn with the onset of Covid-19 and hence all previous consumer activity which was used to foretell future consumer behaviour was now invalid. Businesses had to resort to external data to see things in a better light and from a wider perspective. But external data comes with its set of challenges. For starters it is hard to come by, and needs a lot of work and resources before one can make sense of it.

The data heads of businesses can improve upon their existing data by asking relevant questions. This will help build efficient predictive revenue models which take into account the price changes, if any, and the flow of the economy. They can, for example, come up with a performance matrix on the basis of work from home situations, or even on the rise and fall in overall Covid cases which may affect the health and functionality of the staff.

The Approach

To get the most from external data it needs to be clubbed with internal data as soon as you lay hands on it. If you use the correct data platforms and tools such as company enrichments, geospatial enrichments, etc. to connect with external data, get answers your business may need, and get relevant information, it can be used effectively. This strategy will sail you through the unprecedented times such as the current pandemic. External data helps surpass the use of internal data as it caters to the altered reality, provides the right answers and helps businesses stay relevant. Performing a data audit across the various aspects of your business and doing away with overheads shall help clear up some funds for investments on external data.

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wasim basir

marketing, board member

It’s most obvious in the digital media space, from click buys to personalized web experiences. For marketing, the AI journey has just kick-started, while in the tech sector it has been applied for a while now. We are still at an early stage where inroads are being made into AI content via chatbots and even some explanatory content creation but what will make anyone jump up and embrace it is when we will start seeing a lot of mainstream content being created by AI.

rich arnold

board member

Prior to joining Infinite Analytics, Richard served as the CFO of CrowdFlower, COO and CFO of Phoenix Technologies, as a member of the board of directors and chairman of the Audit Committee at Intellisync, and previously as CFO and executive vice president strategy and corporate development at Charles Schwab.

pravin gandhi

board member

Pravin Gandhi has over 50 years of entrepreneurial operational and investing experience in the IT industry in India. He was a founding partner of the first early stage fund India - INFINITY. Subsequently a founding partner in Seedfund I & II. With over 18 years of investing experience, he is extensively well networked in investment and entrepreneurial scene and is an active early stage angel investor in tech & impact space. Pravin holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Cornell University, and serves on the board of several private corporations in India. He is on the board of SINE, IIT Mumbai Incubator.

Purushotham Botla

co-founder & cto

Puru has his Masters in Engineering and Management from MIT. Prior to MIT, he worked with Fidelity Investments building electronic trading products and high volume market data processing applications. He has completed his BE from VJTI, Mumbai.


Deb Roy

Executive Director, MIT Media Lab

Deb Roy is Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT where he directs the MIT Center for Constructive Communication, and a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. He leads research in applied machine learning and human-machine interaction with applications in designing systems for learning and constructive dialogue, and for mapping and analyzing large scale media ecosystems. Deb is also co-founder and Chair of Cortico, a nonprofit social technology company that develops and operates the Local Voices Network to surface underheard voices and bridge divides.

Roy served as Executive Director of the MIT Media Lab from 2019-2021. He was co-founder and CEO of Bluefin Labs, a media analytics company that analyzed the interactions between television and social media at scale. Bluefin was acquired by Twitter in 2013, Twitter’s largest acquisition of the time. From 2013-2017 Roy served as Twitter’s Chief Media Scientist.

Erik Brynjolfsson

Board Member

Erik Brynjolfsson is the Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Professor and Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI (HAI), and Director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab. He also is the Ralph Landau Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), Professor by Courtesy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stanford Department of Economics, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

Akash Bhatia

Co-Founder and CEO

Akash co-founded IA while studying for his MBA from MIT. Prior to MIT Sloan, he co-founded Zoonga. Before this, Akash was an engineer with Oracle in Silicon Valley. He has completed his M.S from University of Cincinnati and B.E from the College of Engineering, Pune.