Once a year, the man in the red suit holds all the power. Anyone who has kids knows what I’m talking about. We’ve all used (or experienced) the power of Santa to change behaviour, at least for a short period of time. For decades, poor Santa has been operating with a static set of data, often referred to as “The List”. But in the era of analytical insight, it’s even more important to behave – Santa doesn’t just have data, he has insight!
And he’s been taking a few tips from the local energy industry on how to turn insight into action.
In 1997, Garry Kasparov, a human, famously lost a chess game to IBM Deep Blue, a machine. There-in started the age of “Man vs Machine” – a hot topic for many boardroom debates and box office movies. What many may not know, is the events that transpired in a freestyle chess tournament held in 2005. Neither Man nor Machine took home the title, it was in fact two men and a machine working in cooperation that reigned supreme and took home the title.
In Shyam Sankar‘s TED presentation “The rise of human-computer cooperation“, he so rightly points out that “brute computing force alone can’t solve the world’s problems“. Least of all, the world’s analytical problems. Which is why Man and Machine must team to drive greater insight.
Pop quiz: You have an important decision to make – whether to increase the price of one of your best selling products on the market. You can ask your Executive team just ONE question:
A. Finance: What impact will this price change have on our revenues for the year?
B. HR: Is our sales team experienced enough to sell the value of the product at a higher price?
C. Operations: Do we have excess stock that is causing us significant holding costs?
D. Sales: Are there current contracts on the table that would be adversely impacted by the increase?
E. Marketing: What sentiment do our customers have about current prices?
F. Customer: Will a price increase cause some of our highly profitable customers to churn?
G. Product Management: How will the price change position us against our competitors?
Naturally, the answer is H. All of the Above! And yet, many organizations today continue to base their analytical strategy around a single business application and a biased view of overall performance.
Arguably one of the most important decisions of all is deciding which sporting team has the pleasure of your passionate support. Make the wrong decision, and you spend every weekend banging your head against the wall, and every Monday morning in the office being reminded of it. Make the right decision, and you enjoy a weekend of celebrations followed by a week of bragging rights.
Many had this decision made for them by their parents before they were born. Some chose based on team location or uniform colors. Some of us even married into an allegiance. This is not the case for the newest member to our local team who recently moved here from sports-mad Scotland – so I took it upon myself to make sure he could make a more informed decision about which team to support.
Ever heard the saying “it’s not the size that counts, but what you do with it“?
No doubt you’ve heard the latest buzz words in the world of technology – the biggest of which is “big data”. With exponential data growth, organisations are scrambling to understand how they will cope with the rapidly changing structured and unstructured data that supposedly now defines their business.
So what’s the big deal with big data?
Today, I had to drop into my local post office to send a parcel. Waiting in line I couldn’t help but notice the array of seemingly random items in front of me. Footballs, mini hammers, DVDs, children’s books – not exactly mail-related items.
It got me thinking – we talk about retailers using analytics to target customers with campaigns and offers they are most likely to accept. But what if you don’t know who your customer is?
A customer calls the help desk and gets routed through to you. They are not happy with the service they are getting from your company. You have to decide whether to make them an offer to keep them, or let them leave to a competitor. They may or may not be a profitable customer. They may or may not accept one particular offer over another. You may or may not have enough money left in the promotional campaign budget to make an offer. You have 30 seconds to determine the fate of this customer relationship and the impact on your revenue targets. Your time starts….NOW!
Considered an “expert” in the realm of Business Analytics, I like to think my customers learn a thing or two from me. Equally so, I learn a lot from them.
“When I sit down with the business I don’t ask them what report they want me to write. I ask them what decision they want to make.”
Honest words spoken by an IT manager across the other side of the world – so profound the ripple effect has travelled across the Pacific Ocean to the land of Oz. Words that entirely make sense, and yet it got me thinking – how many of us are asking the right questions when it comes to analysing data?
The skies are blue, the sun is shining, and if that isn’t enough to make your smile, it also happens to be a public holiday today. In celebration of The Queen’s birthday, I am….cleaning the house?!
In a flurry of washing, tidying, organising, cleaning, wiping, toilet training (my two year old, not me), I stumbled across something which filled me with fear – the dreaded lone jigsaw puzzle piece! This is not just a single piece of a jigsaw puzzle, it’s the determining factor as to whether a quiet rainy afternoon spent indoors will end in giggles or tears, and therefore it must find a way back to its rightful location.
Herein lies the problem, what jigsaw puzzle does it belong to?