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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Why defining brand strategy is vital to capitalising on quick wins

Big brands were once protected from small brands by high barriers to entry. Big brands had the resources to employ big agencies, to crack big ideas and to invest in big campaigns. They had the luxury of time to debate strategies and work on long-term innovation pipelines. Retailers used to partner with big brands.

Troy McKinnna

Co-founder, Agents of Spring, Calm & Stormy

3 ways to leverage the talents of your team to avoid disruption

​According to the World Economic Forum in its most recent The Future of Jobs report, the most important skills for the future are not technical, task-oriented skills, but higher-order skills such as creativity, social influence, active learning, and analytical thinking.

Gihan Perera

Futurist, leadership consultant

CMOs, it’s time to stop squandering customer attention

Businesses continue to highly value the attention they buy through paid media, yet at the same time, many continue to disregard and under-value opportunities to connect with customers using their owned media.

Well written Vanessa!! Agreed with your view that human experience is marketing's next frontier. Those businesses who are focused on the ...

Clyde Griffith

Forget customer experience, human experience is marketing's next frontier

Read more

Great tips for tops skills need to develop and stay competitive

Nick

The top skills needed to stay competitive in a rapidly changing workforce

Read more

The popularity of loyalty programs is diminishing, though I'd say it is because customers are savvy enough to recognise when a loyalty pr...

Heather

It’s time for marketers to rethink their approach to ‘loyalty’

Read more

Thanks Nadia for sharing this blog. It has really useful and amazing information about Salesforce Commerce Cloud and digital engagement w...

Holly Smith

Adidas taps data and technology smarts to build personalised digital engagement with consumers

Read more

clearly someone who's jealous and only comments from the safety of being behind their keyboard

Peter Sibson

The purpose of purpose - Brand science - CMO Australia

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in