Origin Energy's head of analytics on aligning to marketing and CX ambitions

Recently installed head of analytics shares how she's ensuring numbers are a foundation for customer engagement and retention

Analytics is often thought of as a discipline based in numbers. But Sandra Hogan is taking a very human-centric approach to her role as group head of customer analytics at Origin Energy.

The first thing she did after taking on her newly-created role late last year was speak to the heads of marketing, digital and retail at Origin to understand their pain points and align her team accordingly.

“We want people to change the way they do something and make a decision,” Hogan said. “So if you are integrating analytics into business processes, you are actually asking people to do something differently.

“And it is actually really hard to do, because in some areas, such as call centres, the way that people work and the way they manage their time is very ingrained and very systematised.”

Hogan joined Origin Energy in late 2017 following lengthy stints in analytics in consulting, telecommunications, banking and transport safety. Speaking ahead of her appearance at this year’s Institute of Analytics Professionals of Australia (IAPA) national conference, Hogan shared with CMO the role analytics could play in understanding Origin’s customers and their needs.

“My ambition is to build a very mature function in data and analytics for customers, so when we are engaging with our customers and serving an offering to them, we are really targeted,” she said.

Hogan has already had some wins, including a complete redesign of the framework that Origin uses to understand customer churn.

“We have taken a segmented approach around customer value and their churn risk and made our offers more targeted to the different segments that sit underneath the different attributes,” Hogan said.

“That went into market from June onwards, and we are starting to see some good results as a result of not taking a blanket approach. It is about using analytics to try and pre-empt that churn event as much as possible.”

And while the energy industry generally has been arguably slow to the analytics party, Hogan’s role is backed by a sense of urgency.

“Customer expectations are shifting, and there is a new normal coming,” Hogan said. “What was acceptable in the past around personalisation and engaging with your energy supplier is absolutely shifting.”

Hence she said the analytics capability will grow in importance as Origin itself evolves as an energy provider.

“As we look at how we decarbonise and at that new world of renewable energies, we’re looking at which customers are going to be the first movers in that space, because it is not going to be the same for every customer,” Hogan said. “So it is about personalisation and understanding our customers in detail. “

For that reason she has been busily reorganising the team and recruiting to build out the skill sets.

“At the end of the day it is people who make things happen,” Hogan said. “People are too hung up on the tools and the technology. I spend most of my time on people and process, and particularly people – just selling the story to the business and helping them understand where data and analytics can make a difference, and where it can’t.

“My aspiration in any role I do is to be the trusted adviser to the people who are running the business.”

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