April 12, 2016

Ways Analytics is shaping more parts of your life

By Paul Laughlin

ways analyticsWith the votes coming in from our latest analytics poll, I thought we’d focus next on some case studies, of ways analytics is being used in other sectors (beyond Financial Services).

It’s good to see active voting in that analytics poll. Hopefully participation will be high enough for me to publish at least interim results later this week. So vote now if you haven’t yet!

Meanwhile, let’s look at what other interesting analytics case studies have been published recently, from some interesting sectors.

During my time creating and leading analytics teams within banking & insurance, there were often lessons to be learnt from what was happening in Retail, Telco or Pharma sectors.

It’s still worth ‘thinking global, acting local‘.

Analytics in the newsroom
This great article from Nieman Lab reviews the current state of use of analytics in newsrooms. it identifies positive examples in both traditional media outlets (like The Guardian & Die Welt) and digital start-ups (like Quartz & Ze.tt). But beyond that it makes a powerful case for moving beyond screens of numbers, to what it calls ‘editorial analytics’.

Although this might sound like a topic specific to media outlets, their definition of editorial analytics is actually relevant to many businesses. Tailoring your approach to analytics to what you are trying to achieve & your capabilities, is relevant to all firms. Likewise, using analytics for more than short-term performance & keeping pace with an evolving market, are challenges for most businesses.

As an advocate of holistic customer insight approach, I particularly liked this quote: “good analytics is at least as much about organization and culture as it is about tools and technology“. My own work, with customer insight leaders, has shown that to almost always be the case.

Here is the article, with link to download the full Reuters report if you are interested:

The next step: Moving from generic analytics to editorial analytics

Big screens with real-time traffic data have become ubiquitous in newsrooms. They illustrate how news organizations are becoming more and more interested in tracking audience behavior, as data-informed approaches to decision making previously associated with popular sites like BuzzFeed, Gawker, and The Huffington Post are increasingly central to editorial decision making at upmarket brands like The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, and Quartz.

Analytics at your restaurant

Technology innovation is changing many aspects of our lives and this article focusses on the problem of waiting for a table at your chosen restaurant. Nowait appear to have wisely used mobile technology to fix this problem in a way that works for both the restaurant and their customers. There must be equivalents for other industries’ CX leaders to pick up.

What interested me was the final section on the implications of ways analytics (of the data captured) is helping improve design. Too often insight is only used to identify a CX challenge, not to guide & refine the best design for all. Here it’s encouraging to see restaurants using daily analytics to redesign flow & seating plans, to achieve both more revenue to the owners & better experience for diners.

How does this idea apply to your business? Could mobile improve your customers’ experience & provide ways analytics can improve it further?


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Analytics at the basketball stadium

A further build on the analytics of waiting/queuing data, is to share results of analysis with your customers directly. Such data reciprocity is surely the way forward for more & more businesses, especially in Europe once GDPR is implemented.

That is exactly what’s happening in Detroit & it sounds like an idea other major venues could learn from:

Fans can now find shortest bathroom, beer lines in real time at The Palace

The Palace of Auburn Hills has been investing in a variety of technology over the past few years, and the latest is a tool that lets fans find the shortest line for concessions or bathrooms. Integrated now within the Detroit Pistons’ official app is proprietary technology from Detroit-based WaitTime, which was developed by Zachary Klima within the Bizdom incubator.

Analytics in the HR department

It seems perverse to suggest that using data analysis within HR teams is as unusual as the applications above. But frankly, for lots of companies it is that much of a leap into the dark. For too many years, HR teams have struggled under the weight of antiquated processes, poorly evidenced performance review methods & centralised IT systems.

I’m not sure what comes to mind at the mention of the term ‘people analytics‘ (if it’s online dating then I’m sorry to disappoint)? But this article from ZDNet usefully shares that the applications of analytics for HR professionals might be wider than you think at first. Covering communication, recruitment, integration & diversity challenges – it certainly make you think compared to a lot of current solutions.

Some of the examples do sound rather ‘Big Brother’/1984-esque. But there is a useful final paragraph on the overconfidence bias. This also provided my favourite quote of this article: “Analytics only make sense if the person behind the data are creative and ask the right questions“. Well said, Kathleen Hogan.

​People analytics: Five things to know | ZDNet

People analytics, a data driven way to managing workers, is an up-and-coming field that spans everything from human resources to finance to education. The general idea is to use data and analysis to make better decisions on people-related issues.

Over to you

I hope those were at least entertaining examples. Have any other ‘ways analytics is being used’ news items caught your eye this month?

Do share, so we can all think more creatively about how we deploy analytics to bring more insight, not just more numbers.