The Psychology of Analytics - Know Thyself

The Psychology of Analytics - Know Thyself

(Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5 of this Psychology of Analytics series.)

“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.” ― Lao Tzu

Have you ever been alone in an elevator on the way to a customer meeting? Do you have the guilty pleasure of checking yourself out in the closed mirror doors? Maybe you fixed your tie, arranged your suit, or primped your hair into its proper place. It’s not that you are vain – you just want what you think you look like to match what’s been seen by the world.

Have you ever applied for a credit card or bank loan online? And after ticking all the boxes and filling out all the information, you hit the submit button and you wait. Sometimes you wait twenty-four hours and sometimes it’s instantaneous.  But in the end, you are denied? And the only answer you are given is to contact their customer support. Then when you call their customer support, after half an hour of trying to figure out why you were denied – the customer support representative says he or she has to talk to their manager. Then when they return to the phone, they simply say that the system doesn’t say why. More data is needed.  You simply want to know why you think you deserve the loan or credit card to match what the system knows.

Both of these situations – seeing your reflection in an elevator and applying for a loan or credit card online, have the potential to be the same scenario.  I like to call it ‘Know Thyself’.

During an executive panel in Hong Kong, I shared the stage with a global financial services company. And I asked them point blank, “What do you do with my data when you archive it after seven years?”

The executive smiled and said, “We transfer it to tape and store it in our archives cabinet. If our analytics team wants to do some work, we can take samples of your data to run models on it.”

Then I asked, “Why not give it to me?”

“Pardon me?”

“It’s my data. Why not sell the archives as a subscription to me? I would love to subscribe to my own history to use tools like Tableau, Jaspersoft or Qlikview to visualize myself.”

The executive shook his head profusely.  “That’s illegal.  It’s against our privacy laws.”

I spoke up quickly.  “It’s my data. I want to know myself.”

The future of Big Data & Analytics is giving data back to the consumer.

Ask yourself: Wouldn’t you like to login to your bank account and see the patterns of your own spending? See how you compare to others in your same age bracket, job title, city – to know that you are making the right choices for your life?

Wouldn’t you like to easily compare your expense patterns from 2014 versus 2015.

Heck, compare your pre-married version of yourself to your post-baby self to see the changes in your spending and investments.

I call this consumer discovery. The definition is building Big Data applications that allow consumers to use their own data to discover themselves. Or subscribe to the archives of the data that sit unused in the vaults of telco’s, banks, and retail to glean personal insights.

Instead of using twenty data scientists to find patterns in billions of transactions, allow millions of self-scientists to find patterns in thousands of transactions. Then use your twenty data scientists look to find markers.

Markers are repeatable patterns of behavior that manifest in the data. These markets can be linked to cross selling and up selling opportunities. Think of markers as market basket opportunities.

The insight of the data to a consumer allows you to sell more product and services to that consumer based on patterns that are revealed to them, not forced on them.

Government regulation is about to push this into high gear, as Payment Services Directive II becomes a global standard by 2017. Unlike Basel II or Sarbanes-Oxley which were simply compliance regulation, PSD allows for revenue generation.

This would allow applications for loans and credit cards to be a transparent process. To show the pattern of data that either permits or denies a customer from getting a particular service. However, even if you deny a customer, because you are revealing their pattern to them, you can make recommendations on how they change their spending and investment behavior to get that bank loan or credit card. No, they might not be able to get it immediately.  But a consumer discovery application will show them the way to become the customer they want to be.

Then, in the near future, when you get in an elevator alone and catch a glimpse of yourself holding a cup of Starbucks, sure, you will begin to straighten your tie, or fix your hair. Then you will glance down at your Apple Watch, swipe left. The banking app will show you your spending on coffee for this year, swipe right, last year, swipe right again, and in 2013. Looking up at your reflection you will think, “I am going to go back to spending on coffee per week like I did in 2013.”  Then with your hands smoothing the creases of your slacks, add under your breath, “With the extra money, I am going to buy a new suit!” Then you bring your Apple Watch up to your mouth, “Siri? Deals on new suits.”

Next up, Part 2: The Psychology of Analytics - ‘Now Now’

Article written by Gary Jackson
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