Find Needles Faster-Look Sharp with Analytics

by Pratima Harigunani

Surrounded by neoteric technologies, devices and paradigms; we have both the privilege and the prerogative to make the most of data around us. Now!

Look around you. At the explosion of devices; at the sudden spurt of wearables in people’s pockets and on their wrists, at the eruption of IoT in every nook and corner of our work and personal lives.

What does all this hint if you are watching this view from a CXO’s window-sill?

The unprecedented opportunity to distill insights from this data and make your supply-chains, plants, partner-clusters, marketing-ecosystems, IT fabric and of course, customer-experiences not just thrive or survive but jive with a new edge?

Why not?

Connectedness- the new blood group of digital creatures

All of us – you, I, your peers, employees, bosses, customers, partners, stake-holders, their kids, their spouses, heck – even their pets and ovens, are inhaling the air of an increasingly-digital eco-system. We are constantly and unapologetically connected to so many devices today. Data is gushing out like never before- from everywhere to everywhere. Whether it is a social media profile, that smart wristband that tracks our vital statistics, or that TV that is capturing what we like to lean back for – data is omnipresent and omnipotent.

That explains why Customer analytics is now a buzzword more powerful and indispensable than ever before. Businesses are frenetically and dynamically consolidating the customer interaction data galvanized from everywhere and forging them into evolving trends, insights, interactions and patterns. Going by some estimates, the customer analytics market is all set to flourish  to about $4,000 million by 2019.

Then there are algorithms. Turbo-charged engines with the acuity and agility to help you extract the real value from that data, which otherwise would have been left sitting and snoring dumb somewhere. These mean hats pull out insights and actions from data quicker than rabbits would pop. Also, there is something called Customer Journey Analytics-  It’s time for integrating data coming from all channels and analyze it to offer a seamless experience.  Because let’s face it – a poor customer experience is no longer the other department’s fault, it’s not a hot potato anymore. It is everyone’s yellow card.

Additionally and mercilessly, we are all set to see more devices getting smarter, sharper and more capable of operating without human intervention.  Estimates point at the spending on IoT hardware exceeding $800 billion this year itself.

So there you are – you have to get ready for more devices generating more data and more ruthless demands from customers. There’s no escaping that thunderstorm.

Get out of your caves

It would be unfortunate and quite short-sighted of those who would still rely on old-school methods of data and customer understanding when the ubiquity and hawk-vision of new-age data is staring us in the eye.

Hence, merely jotting down your customer’s name, address, telephone number, and email id in a cob-webbed database would not cut through. There is so much power and possibility floating all around you. You can get a visceral view of your customers – thanks to what they’re doing on social media, what are they saying about your business, what are their likes/dislikes; what devices are they using etc.

Digital challengers like Airbnb and Uber have taught us so much about the acceleration and penetration that tapping the right data at the right time and with the right touch can trigger.

Look at how rolled a PNR prediction-wonder for train travelers with a 90 percent accuracy churning out probability of which wait-list will confirm, all thanks to data mined from over 10 million PNRs over last two years.  Or consider how the Bangalore water supply and sewerage board used Big Data and predictive analytics to create systems for monitoring Water Distribution Systems in a scenario where ~45 percent of water supplied went unaccounted. Real-time monitoring of Data helped to minimize this by detecting large changes in water flow.

So -Can you smell the coffee?

Data is like a sharp pencil: It’s all about what you do with it!

Some recent industry-watch snippets,  however, reveal  that even if the budget spent on marketing analytics as well as its application is moving northwards, the value that customer analytics is perceived to bring to companies’ success is moving the other way around.

On one hand, we can always find companies that swear by extensive use of customer analytics (in terms of IT, analytics, and its execution) and are evidently turning it into a significant value/revenue/customer-experience contribution. But the ones who lag behind unveil the devil in the details – it appears that substantial benefits from customer analytics can transpire only when organizations achieve excellence and maturity.

At the same time, we cannot forget that no matter how much we chase them, observe them and spur them- Customers don’t always know what they want.  So, customization and better understanding of customer behavior per se would be the levels that a mature and robust analytics-powered enterprise would certainly gun for.

Simply remember this before you leap – Data is the common denominator to convert your digital vision into business results. It will not suffice to lean on to traditional market research and approaches. There is a pressure and opportunity to capture all the data you’re generating in order to deliver business insights

Doing this with an analytics-based sales strategy will allow you to get to the heart of your customers’ needs, and predict future market conditions.

Leveraging Analytics like a winner will not just give you a point, but an edge. It will make you sharp–Sharper than your previous version and smelling powers.

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