Insights

Crossing Oceans - An Analytics Journey Laid Bare

Analytics is exciting, right?

Yes!  But only when there is a story behind it. I read a lot of articles and gain insight and knowledge along the way, transferring some of this to ideas and actions - all the things a passionate analytics aficionado does.

It's all about the story

My analytics world is a journey that has a start, middle, and end - with some drama thrown in for good measure; murder, affairs, comedy, sadness…..Ok Ok, maybe the drama is limited to the occasional OMG, “How do we get around that technical issue?” or “We really have not kept this simple enough.”  However, more than often there is a defining “WOW! What a great piece of insight and learning we have discovered!”  The story ending is always looking for a successful deployment and return on investment by taking data through to insight, action and outcomes. So in theory, a happy ending (we will see!)

It's good to share!

So, I had this idea to share my 'journey' with you on a new venture - Crossing Oceans - from the start to the finish. It is going to be a transparent, honest and open account. 'Warts and all'. I do not currently know the ending.  Like you, I am a passenger on this journey!

So, this is where it begins…

The advances in technology have enabled analytic services to cross traditional geographic boundaries. With the right approach, you can go from client discussion to proof of concept build to full deployment without even having to physically visit.  Or can you?

I think you can and want to test this out. An alliance was formed with a marketing expert (company x) about 6000 miles away across the wildest ocean on earth. They provide the client strategy and we provide the analytics - a nice industry fit. The difference is that we are not big industry giants, but fit within the small, agile and innovative bracket (the only way to survive in such a competitive world). If you know your stuff, the advances in accessible and cost effective analytical technology (e.g. machine learning, cloud based dash boarding, etc.), services that the 'Big Boys and Girls' have, can be provided to the small and medium enterprises at a low cost and risk point.

It was all about connecting with the right people

We crossed the ocean with ideas through Skype and emails. Straight away I knew that there was a synergy with our passion for what we do. The body language was right, ideas were free flowing and I sensed a good connection with potential. We drew common goals, worked through mutual benefits and drew some clear plans for moving forward. It was very exciting. The biggest enabler for success is the people - it felt good.

We started working on how we can apply cutting edge analytic services and produced an 'art of the possible' pack to help clients understand how they can unlock the potential of data. We used some critical friends within the targeted industry to provide valuable feedback, updated the approach and got cracking.

The next step was to secure a client for a free Proof of Concept. A good prospect emerged that fit nicely - a franchise with great growth ambitions. Happy days!

There are always many brick walls to overcome

This is where the first objection emerged. “We have a Customer Relations Management system - why do we need you?”  I thought the pack was clear! Obviously not – we might need to look at this again.  It's a very good question though. This is where the assessment of analytics maturity comes in which we call a 'data dive'.  Different companies are in different positions, and only know what they know.

When we do a 'data dive' we find a range of analytical maturity, from basic spread sheets through to real time predictive analytics – so quite a mixture across the ‘business intelligence curve’ (worth a google).

The key analytics questions always remain the same

The key question I often pose is, "Do you get the insight you need to drive action?" For example: attracting new customers, retaining them and growing their value. And, "Do you have the insight you need from your finance and HR data?" For instance: predictive forecasts, matching staff to demand, etc. Finally, "Do you understand the voice of your customers and staff?"  As in carrying out appropriate surveys that generate strategic and tactical insight into these critical business areas.

But what about the “why you”? This is what I said:

  • We provide advanced analytics, predictive modelling a specialism (award winning) that traditionally is not accessible to many smaller companies due to skills and costs - we provide a tailored service, combining the tech and expertise. This can provide a competitive advantage
  • We can blend many data sources (internal and external) to provide you with the best insight to drive your business forward - again, requires both skills and tech not readily accessible within smaller enterprises
  • We can tailor cutting edge dashboards containing key strategic or operational insight (e.g. exec dash, customer dash, finance, operations floor, etc.) where and when you need it; on a phone, tablet, desktop etc. - most stock systems generate 'one view' and little flexibility for change
  • We can provide support and expertise in all things analytics, performance, change, improvement etc. - negating the need to hire expensive additional staff
  • We can provide customer and staff surveys (including analysis) to capture the 'voice' and provide valuable insight to drive the business forward - again linking this back into your existing data views
  • We will tailor and link to the strategy that you produce - connecting analytics directly to your ambition, objectives and operations - 'line of sight'

Off the proposal went and we will see what unfolds.  If we move forward, my thoughts are on the safeguarding and transferring of data, nailing the business problem pain points and providing the analytics solution to deliver a step change. Easy right?

And the learning so far

Crossing the ocean has made no difference to delivery – it’s all about forming relationships, building a great team, creating a vision and believing it can happen!

Until next time...

Article written by Sean Price
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