Unleashing the power of analytics
Big data and business analytics worldwide revenues will grow from nearly $122bn in 2015 to more than $187bn in 2019, an increase of more than 50% over the five-year forecast period. 1 With the help of big data and analytics, organizations today can use in
Ajay Kelkar, Hansa Cequity, identifies a few big data and analytics trends that companies should watch out for in 2017.
In recent years, the words ‘analytics’ and ‘data’ have become quite popular. In fact, the presence of both is now more evident, as more and more companies understand the value they deliver when used in unison. No wonder, the terms ‘Black gold’ and ‘Texas Tea’ are being used to describe the riches that can come from data.
In 2006, when Clive Humby—a UK-based mathematician and architect of Tesco’s Clubcard—first said, “data is the new oil”, there were not many takers. But soon the phrase caught people’s attention and became a topic of discussion in places such as the UN Council and Wall Street. Today, it has become one of those catchphrases being used too often with more than 1.3 million Google search results.
But is analytics being overhyped? Is there more talk and less action on the ground?
There is a need to take a closer look at analytics. In the years to come, blind belief in data analytics will be taken over by a more serious look at what it can truly deliver.
The US elections have shown that one needs to know the limitations of data as well. Nate Silver—an American statistician and writer—famously predicted two presidential elections nearly to perfection. He got 49 states right in 2008, and all 50 in 2012. But he was way off the mark with Trump in 2016. Why? Post the US election results, he admitted, “We have learned that we have to be careful about how we convey uncertainty.”
If you are a company thinking about either starting out in analytics or scaling up your analytics practices, it may be a good time to think and plan for 2017. Thanks to the hype that analytics has generated, organizations have bought into the concept, but many are still unsure how to ‘make it happen’ for them.
The easy way is to spot the trends and incorporate them right at the start of your strategic planning.
Here are a few trends for 2017:
01 democratization of data: More data is now available to companies of all sizes. Thanks to solutions such as Amazon Mechanical Turk, businesses today are able to collect data from around the world more easily. So more easy access to data within a company and sources to find external data will be a trend that I see growing in 2017. Companies can partner with each other and leverage each other’s data. A DTH company knows when you move residences and that data can help a retailer who sells furniture or is in that catchment. In 2017 more marketers will leverage each other’s data to build more effective analytics solutions.
02 rise of creative analytics team: Analysts need to learn the art of storytelling and embed analytics into the fabric of the company. They are still unidimensional and have not yet embraced the intersection of ‘technology, statistics, and business’. Hence, analysts struggle to tell stories. Often I see journalists do a far better job with infographics. However, data journalists do not want a career in analytics. Hence, there is a gap that needs to be filled. Remember, storytelling is not the same as ‘pretty charts.’ Today, visualizations are being commoditized with Amazon and Google releasing near-free offerings that offer their users basic visualizations. Nevertheless, analysts will become more effective in telling stories using new-age tools or platforms. In 2017, companies will bring together a team of people who are integrators and whose skill sets in statistics, technology, and business intersect. Hence, companies need to think creatively for building a diverse team comprising a journalist, tech geek, and stats jock and see the magic.
03 customers are leaving behind a video trail: Sophistication of video analytics is rapidly increasing, with the launch of new technologies that detect facial expressions and gender. Thanks to platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook Live, organizations today have much more visual data at their fingertips.
Video analytics can even identify unique visitors across various locations, allowing for a detailed path analysis of customers.
04 growing importance of user experience: Advanced analytics is no longer just for analysts. Customer experience for analytics users will continue to be important as more and more business users switch to analytics systems for aid.
05 mass customization: Several reports suggest that global mobile advertising spend will touch $100 billion valuation in 2016. This investment—to inch closer to the customer—is expected to continue to surge in 2017. At the same time, understanding the audience is vital to ensure this money is well spent. Since experience has to be personalized, the ability to predict customer’s personality and behavior presents a clear opportunity for targeted advertising. Mass customization will become a reality if marketers are able to successfully segment audiences according to personality type rather than by age or gender. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will play a role in achieving this.
06 mobile adoption creates exciting possibilities:
Given the significant shift to mobile shopping, companies will need to develop a mobile-led omnichannel strategy rooted in a mobile-first mindset. Research shows 58% of users become inactive in the first 30 days of using an app. Mobile app analytics
would start to include a lot of geospatial analytics. With businesses accumulating more and more data on their customers’ locations and corresponding activities, it is necessary for decision makers to generate insights based on these information to increase customer loyalty, sales, and other outcomes. The use of automation and artificial intelligence within mobile app analytics will also be a game changer. More in-depth analytics would be based around uninstalls—the reasons and triggers for the same. In fact, examining the causes of uninstalls will play a vital role in user retention.
07 companies will build a customer single view: In order to take effective business decisions and better interact with the customers, companies—from key executives to customer service reps—need to build a holistic view of analytics from all customer-facing platforms. This does not exist today and companies will use the engineering developed by new-age companies such as Facebook and Google to create such infrastructure. Businesses will need to merge data across systems keeping the customer at the centre. Brands will need to merge mobile app data, sales data, marketing data, service and support data, and potentially other kinds of data into a single unified whole.
08 analytics will depend even more on company culture: Culture is key to analytics adoption. As companies look at analytics to give them a competitive edge, they need to make key changes in their information technology, structure, processes, and culture. You do not often hear about a close partnership with HR for analytics adoption, but it is critical for this culture change to start.
09 young people will disrupt: Analytics will move towards being a young person’s game. Presently, the average age in online business is far lower. It is a fact that younger people are adopting analytics faster. They are getting exposed to it in their education and are consuming it through their ‘digital avatars.’ They see this often as a ‘no brainer.’ However, converting older executives to this line of thinking is harder. Finally, the environment will force one to evolve and adapt, or perish. ■
Analysts are still unidimensional and have not yet embraced the intersection of ‘technology, statistics, and business’.
Mass customization will become a reality if marketers are able to successfully segment audiences according to personality type rather than by age or gender.