Insights

Which is Answering the Right Questions - Analytics or Analysis?

Why does a spider not get stuck in its own web? Perhaps more relevant, in accounting why are debits written on the left and not on the right?  And in economics, why does the price elasticity curve place Quantity on the horizontal x-axis and Price on the vertical y-axis?  In retail, are most customers 18 or 58 years old? Who cares?

One person's lunch question is another person's instant sedative... hmmm.  o the first person, it gets kind of important if you happen to be a spider traversing the web to get your food - it’s actually a matter of survival. Or an accountant trying to balance the books – it’s a matter of right and wrong; one job to the next. Or an analyst pricing the store merchandise correctly – it’s a matter of profit or loss. But to the second person, it’s just plain irrelevant.  ho cares, really?

Analytics, not analysis, is the proven ability to seek answers to questions like never before...

The potent combination of statistics, applied mathematics and the availability of accurate data allows you and me to deliver accurate responses to many questions. The issue, however, is that asking the appropriate question is proving to be more difficult to do. Why?

It’s not because we do not realise that it is important, but unfortunately there is the issue of "so what?" Many executives say customers come first, “We need to know everything there is to know about the customer.”  But, what if thousands of people read this post over the next 7 days? What do we do next? Why is it important? It is what many refer to as vanity metrics.

As the imaginary spider, the “so what?” is because you want to get dinner! But the collection and processing of all the information on every strand in the web does not necessarily deliver dinner. But understanding the strands that are sticky, then thinking through that cunning plan to trap dinner is what counts and ultimately delivers dinner.

So the use of Customer Analytics is relevant because it delivers these 'insights' and has the power to inform, and inform on both the now and the future with predictive analytics. Why? To deliver lifesaving action in health, profit in business and improved action and accountability in other businesses.

There have been so many instances where analytics has been misunderstood and misinterpreted as the result of analysis in the form of graphs and charts that describe current and past situations. But it all stops there. No wonder it does not 'work' to deliver the promises sprinkled in the coloured adverts. Like the spider, it’s not why it does not get stuck in the web or which strands are not sticky. But both, in combination with a plan on how to catch the next flying insect that delivers dinner. It’s the second part that is just so missing.

Article written by Ian Tho
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