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The ascent of analytics: A rundown

Divina Paredes | March 1, 2016
ICT leaders share their experiences on propelling data analytics to the frontline of decision-making.

It comes down to sharing data and information to really improve the story and insight behind the decisions. Analytics is helping break down those internal barriers.

A few years ago, I was working for a large bank overseas and there was a real challenge within the data warehouse team. We needed massive investment to link some analytical databases and operational data tools to try to get a level to fit and match, for marketing and legal purposes.

Traditionally we’d go to the board and write a 30- to 40-page paper and try to explain to somebody what the customer data is and why we needed to spend money on it. We could not tell them what the return of investment would be.

We had a few attempts but we did not even get to the board. We went through filters, review teams and the finance department. We eventually talked to somebody who had great success in taking papers through the board.

Instead of taking a 30-page business case, we took six slides to the board, as we were only allowed to take six slides. We showed what was happening to our credit card customers who were constantly bombarded with mail campaigns and offers from us. We used the data and the facts in a way the board would understand and hit them where it hurts in terms of risk and reputation.

Data analytics can join the dots and bring things together into stories and facts that has not been done before.

Claire Govier, Kiwibank
We were able to tell the story from the outside in, from a customer point of view. We wanted money for this enterprise facility and suddenly it made sense. We did get the money for this and a couple of other projects as well.

So find a way to save money or reduce your risk, and find a champion and tell the story in their terms. In this case, it was about revenue.

At a practical level, first of all recognise how important your roles are to your organisations and understand that you may well be ahead of the game in terms of the knowledge and insights, things you can see.

With that, find a voice. And if your area does not have a strong voice or a sponsor, go find one. Find someone who cares.

The key thing for me is the ‘so what?’ aspect of it. We know this, we found this out, but ‘so what’? Find somebody who gives a damn and work with them.

Carmen Casagranda, Cigna:
Business intelligence is one of the fastest growing industries globally right now. It is using the brilliant minds of the people in this room to actually help decipher what is valuable and pass it on to the people who need it in the organisation – whether frontline, backroom or executive level.


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