The keys to smarter data analytics

Panellists at IBM's Smarter Analytics conference share their tips for improving your data intelligence

During the IBM Smarter Analytics conference in Sydney this month, four of its key session speakers –Australia Post manager of business systems, Armand Mizan; IBM’s senior consultant for advanced analytics and optimisation, Tim Higgins; Telstra’s director of one-to-one marketing, Nick Adams; and American Express’ manager of marketing development for Global Corporate Payments, Simon Taranto – closed off the day by outlining their top tips for improving your approach to data analytics.

What shined through was the business intelligence behind the technology. While there are a range of technology solutions available giving marketers the ability to process vast amounts of customer and market data, any attempts to undertake them must be done with a clear alignment to business value.

After all, there’s no point in creating a model to analyse customer behaviour without first identifying the parameters and pain points you’re trying to overcome. This includes acknowledging the business concerns and opportunities the rest of the company and executive team is focused on.

“You have to get the buy-in and sponsorship of c-level management. It’s essential,” Mizan said. “This ensures all analytics projects align to the strategic objective. Whatever initiative you embark upon, understand the business requirements and pain points being experienced. If you misunderstand those requirements, you won’t get great take-up.”

For Higgins, companies that employ analytics as a core function to answering questions within their organisation will do well. “What I’d also recommend is that your analytics environment is flexible and responsive to suit the timeframe of the business executives,” he said.


The panel at IBM Smarter Analytics in Sydney (from left): Australia Post's Armand Mizan, IBM's Tim Higgins, Telstra's Nick Adams and AMEX's Simon Taranto

Analytics people are not always great at articulating the value of their insights to the rest of the business, which is another hurdle all leaders need to be aware of, Adams continued. “You need to build a new brand of people on your team who can work with the other business executives to show your analytics projects as powerful business experiences,” he said.

There must also be partnership between the analytical and creative marketers, Taranto said. “The analytics model needs to be governed and aligned with your go-to market plans if it’s going to work,” he added.

“You also need to modify expectations should the analytics suggest something different to what you anticipated. Your analytics initiatives should also be positioned in terms of incremental knowledge, and not replicate what’s being done elsewhere. The low hanging fruit is probably already being dealt with.”

The panel were also asked their views on how a company can get started on the smarter analytics path. For Mizan, ownership plays a significant role. “You must take ownership of hierarchies, the quality of the data, testing, communication, accountability and so on because without ownership it’s hard to get a model that meets all the expectations,” he said.

Earning the respect of the creative marketing team is worth paying attention to, Adams said. In a bid to overcome the scepticism of analytics, Telstra has brought in mathematics tutors to tutor its 90-strong team in analytics, block models and solving problems statistically.

Taranto meanwhile, said the best way to get started is to pick one problem, get it to a point of maturity and go to market. “Once you have proven the analytics work well, you’ll see the requests coming through,” he said.

And don’t forget having access to appropriate data in the first place is key, Higgins said. “Eighty per cent of the job is getting the data into shape,” he added.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia or take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Are you leading technology changes or is technology leading you?

In a recent conversation with a chief technology officer, he asserted all digital technology changes in his organisation were being led by IT and not by marketing. It made me wonder: How long a marketing function like this could survive?

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

Disruption Down Under – What’s Amazon’s real competitive advantage?

Savvy shoppers wait in anticipation, while Australian retailers are gearing up for the onslaught. Amazon’s arrival is imminent.

Change across the board: Why boards need to digitally evolve

Traditionally the non-executive board of a company acts in an advisory capacity - attending monthly board meetings to offer overarching advice and guidance typically focusing on:

Jodie Sangster

CEO, ADMA

Great Post.Thanks for sharing such an informative article.I have worked with Ally Digital Media and it has a very good service which is b...

Utkarsh Kansara

Predictions: 17 digital marketing trends for 2017

Read more

Really inspiring !

Goldenboy Media

Jaywing sets sights on Australian growth with digital and data-driven agency model

Read more

Being aware of regulations or guidlines is just the start. As our CEO Emma Lo Russo stated exactly two weeks ago at an event we supported...

Alan Smith

​Are the Wild West days of influencer collaboration over?

Read more

Rebranding is always nice solution to get better organisation. Businessman may apply certain special services (for example, https://www.l...

David Hill

CMO interview: Spearheading the global rebranding of OFX

Read more

Thank you so much for sharing this article.Top Digital Marketing company in Bangalore

Way To DM

Predictions: 17 digital marketing trends for 2017

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in