Analytics In Action: How DMAIPH Uses Data to Drive Decision-Making

Awhile back, I was a guest speaker for a business analytics class at the College of St. Benilde. I had been asked to talk about how DMAIPH uses analytics in our business.

When it comes to sizing up an analytics project, I tend to use a methodology I learned from a couple Stanford professors several years ago. It is pretty simple concept that is applicable across all kinds of projects; (1) identify the data you will need, (2) bring it in to your analysis tools, aka inventory it, (3) and then integrate it into a larger story or context.

I tend to use MS Excel for the majority of my analysis, but when I need to build a map, or prototype a business dashboard or need some high-powered visuals to present my data, I use Tableau Public. In the past I have used a wide range of analytics tools, but they are always specific to a certain type of data I needed to access.

One of my favorite infographics
One of my favorite infographics

I am going to show three examples of how we use analytics:

  •  How we built and maintain a competitive landscape looking at the current trends in analytics here in the Philippines. Who is using what, what they are doing and where the talent is coming from.
  • How we built and update a demographic profile based on resume and LinkedIn data for the various types of analyst jobs we are currently employing.
  • And, how we built a business dashboard using Google Drive for the management team to use when looking at who on the team to coach and what to coach them on. It’s a simple way to share KPIs.

In all three cases I will explain how we identified the data we needed, how we inventory it so we can look at historical trends as well as a current snapshot and how we integrate these analytics solutions into our business strategy. It should be a pretty good presentation followed by some great Q+A! 

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Analytics Training – DMAIPH offers a wide range of analytics centric training solutions for professionals and students via public, in-house, on-site, and academic settings. We tailor each training event to meet the unique needs of the audience. If you need empowerment and skills enhancement to optimize the use of analytics in your organization, we are here to help. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to set up a free consultation to learn which of our DMAIPH analytics training solutions is best for you.

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Outsourcing Tip > Make NASA Jealous! Ensure You Have A Smooth Launch Of Your Outsourcing Efforts

The final area that I have seen countless outsourcing efforts fall short is in having a smooth launch. You have put so much time into sizing the opportunity, negotiating the contract, finding the right people, acquiring the technology you need and building a technique playbook, but you aren’t done yet. You still need to roll it out.

When it comes to outsourcing, there is one thing I have never, ever seen. And that is a full delivery of services, exactly as required on target and without any glitches.

Here are a few keys to ensuring that you go live and avert as many potential disasters as possible.
• First of all, have a risk minded person involved. Someone who is great at looking at something and then coming up with a laundry list of things that can go wrong. And then most importantly, have them in charge of eliminating or mitigating the risks.
• Second, have your processes, the workflow, escalation procedures, and other important documents in writing for the team. No battle plan survives first contact unscathed, but the battle will go much better with one.
• Third, brief everyone. Have a pre-kick off meeting, do a walk through, run lots of tests. Do whatever you can to mimic production so that people get used to having to make decisions just like they will when things are live.
• And finally, hapollo11ave a plan to celebrate. Let everyone know what awaits them if they pull everything off. Give them an extra reason to go an extra step. Everyone wants to be part of a winning team enjoying the celebration of a new start.

That is just a few ideas of what you can do to ensure your launch go as smooth a NASA’s putting a man on the moon!

Analytics Outsourcing – DMAIPH has successful set up Filipino analytics teams for over a dozen U.S. based businesses. Offering both virtual and office based teams that specialize in problem solving using data, new technology and analytics techniques is our strength. Finding and empowering analytics talent is increasingly challenging, but we have it down to a science. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to learn more about how to set up an analytics-centric team in the Philippines.

 

Outsourcing Tip > The Three T’s: Talent, Technology and Technique

I’ve been part of dozens of BPO team set ups and have directly implemented five this past year or so. In ALL five cases, we have had challenges because we didn’t have the right talent at launch, we didn’t have our technology lined up correctly and we didn’t have techniques in place to ensure a smooth transition of work and an optimal business flow.

Finding good talent here in the Philippines can be a difficult. I’ve blogged about this quite often, the skills gap is a major concern for the long-term success of outsourcing to the Philippines. There are so many good people with the right work ethic and the desire to learn, but so few of them are trained in a way that makes them day one ready to go in a call center environment. Making sure you have correctly identified the skills you need, allocating the appropriate recruiting resources, and building a pipeline to replenish loses and fuel expansion, is so much harder than it sounds.

In regards to technology, there are so many ways to connect clients, customers and operations here in the Philippines. The Cloud allows all sorts of processes to be easily shifted to remote staff and the culture in the Philippines is very tech driven, it’s a great match.

The challenge is sometimes the technology needed is not as easy to introduce as expected and telecommunications and online access very greatly across the country and the workforce. Having a tried and test technological solution and being prepared to deal with the connectivity issues will help assure a much smoother transition of work from abroad.

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Most call center operations I have worked with don’t have a clear concept of what they want the day-to-day to look like. The lift and shift approach where you just take a process from overseas and apply it here never works without adjustments. Many times you can find more optimal ways of doing things when you set up because you are able to look at the process end to end. Taking advantage of fully understandings the process being outsourced, documenting it and training on it with a clear plan are all keys to success.

So in conclusion, often what people assume would be the easy parts turn out to be the hardest when it comes to the talent, technology and technique needed to se up a successful outsourcing operation. DMAIPH specializes in helping call centers bring more data to their decision-making and ensure a more optimal approach.

Analytics Outsourcing – DMAIPH has successful set up Filipino analytics teams for over a dozen U.S. based businesses. Offering both virtual and office based teams that specialize in problem solving using data, new technology and analytics techniques is our strength. Finding and empowering analytics talent is increasingly challenging, but we have it down to a science. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to learn more about how to set up an analytics-centric team in the Philippines.

Ten Things I Noticed While Walking Along EDSA

The other day I was at a meeting at the Mall at EDSA Shangri-La and it hadn’t occurred to me that it’s Valentine’s Day. Being that I’m Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ), we don’t really celebrate it, so don’t flame me for not being a romantic.

Anyway, as my assistant and I left the mall, it became obvious to me that getting back to Cubao was going to be a challenge. So after looking at the taxi queue and the bus line queue we decided to walk the two blocks down EDSA to Megamall to see if it was any better. It wasn’t. So then I decided why not just walk back to Cubao. It shouldn’t take more than an hour or two, so and it would be good exercise.

So on that long walk, actually a couple of kilometers, that actually took just under two hours, I had a lot of time to reflect on things. Here are ten things that occurred to me during the walk.

1. Its not actually a bad walk, with the exception of a few tight squeezes at the MRT stations and in front of Mega Mall, it was pretty wide open side walk most of the way.

2. Don’t Go to the Malls on a Holiday. The malls in the Philippines always get crowded on Friday nights, but a Friday Night Valentine’s Day… takes the cake for the busiest I have ever seen.

3. The MRT is way to overcrowded. We didn’t even try taking the MRT (Manila’s light rail network) because you can see by the passing trains people were crammed in like sardines. Whatever happened to the plans to modernize the now 20+ year old rail service?

4. Nice Restaurants are so overpriced. 4,000 PHP ($100) for a steak dinner. When you compare prices between the US and the Philippines, fine dining is one area way out of whack. So many places to eat at EDSA Shang, so few offer a nice meal for a good price.

5. There are not enough Taxis when you need them. If you spend time in Manila, you know the drill. During off hours, taxi drivers fight over you, but during rush hours you have to fight for them. Its one of the greatest variations in ebb and flow business I have ever see. I’d argue even worse than Manhattan.

6. Robinson Galleria has the worst Taxi Queue in Metro Manila. Green Hills and EDSA Shang Mall are close runners-up, but the taxi queue at Robinson Galleria is the slowest moving one I have ever stood in.

7. There are too many buses. Even when they are crowded to the brim with people and offering the cheapest way to get up and down the EDSA for most people, there are too many buses. The biggest cause of traffic congestion are buses who cut in and out of lane, stop in the middle of the road and all in all are driven by want to be Hollywood stunt drivers.

8. Too Many Ways to Waste Money. When you walk down ESDA, besides the dozen malls, you also see countless showrooms for high-end cars, you see a lot of business whose cliental can only by the wealthy. If you have money there are so many ways to waste in EDSA, while the masses ride by in a crammed bus or are stuffed away on the MRT. Its one of the worst visualizations of the rich-poor divide in the Philippines.

9. There are more condos being built than anything else. Its mind-boggling that they boom keeps booming. When you try to do the math in your head, how many condo have been built and how many multitudes of more are under construction and then you take into account the number of OFWs, Call Center Agents and people with enough money to invest, there are still more vacant or going to be vacant condo units then there are buyers. Talk about a bubble that has to burst.

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And 10. Mary Me, Oliva is the talk of the town. Up and down EDSA there are a series of bill boards with the message “Olivia, will you marry me 21414.” The speculation is rampant about what the heck they mean. But whatever the origin, its one of those things that has every one buzzing about it.

Outsourcing Tip > BPO Contract Negotiations: Learn About Both “the Big Picture” and “the Fine Print”

This is the title of a seminar I put together awhile back for small and medium-sized BPO owners, executives and managers. The objective was to address the latest business challenges in the BPO Sector as related to contract negotiations.

We engaged several practitioners to come up with an approach to empower the audience with new and innovative ways to optimize their contract negotiation process.

Here are some of the highlights:
• The biggest challenge that comes with contract negotiations is generally around money. A well thought out and detailed business proposal is key in mitigating misunderstandings and conflict around the cost of outsourcing work.
• The smoothest transitions are generally ones managed by a seasoned project manager, but if you don’t have one, we outlined what needs to be done.
• We also talked about how process mapping can lead to process improvement and how to account for that in the contract.
• Using models to show base, best and worse case scenarios is key to making sure the contract will not become a negative business hindrance to either party.
• We will discuss the importance of clearly and consistently engaging and communicating with key players both internally and with overseas partners.
• Many time negotiations begin informally and just involve the principles as they have a handshake agreement.
• Service Level Agreements and Production Quotas should either be included in the contract or in an addendum that clearly outline expected results.
• If pricing is depending on meeting certain metrics, its imperative that both the goals and how the goals will be measured and reported are included in the contract.

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At the end of the workshop, attendees should have walked away with the following items of knowledge:
1. An appreciation for all the work that needs to happen before the actual contract is signed between the business and the overseas partner.
2. Several tips on how to make sure the contract is an ironclad as possible in terms of anticipating challenges.
3. Several tools and resources to help them in preparing the BPO contract.
4. A checklist of things to not forget to account for in the actual contract language itself.

So, when it comes to setting up an outsourcing partnership, don’t fall victim to charging ahead without a clear idea of what you need to happen in the contract negotiations process to ensure success!

Analytics Outsourcing – DMAIPH has successful set up Filipino analytics teams for over a dozen U.S. based businesses. Offering both virtual and office based teams that specialize in problem solving using data, new technology and analytics techniques is our strength. Finding and empowering analytics talent is increasingly challenging, but we have it down to a science. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to learn more about how to set up an analytics-centric team in the Philippines.

Outsourcing Tip > Size the Opportunity! Not to be confused with Seizing the Opportunity.

When you have an opportunity to get involved with outsourcing, it always sounds like a good way to make some fast money.

The news has been abuzz for a while now with mounds of data and statistics about the high-speed growth in the outsourcing industry, especially here in the Philippines. Just yesterday I saw a projection that BPOs in the Philippines are expecting to see a 15% growth in revenues in 2014.

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You couple that with the fact that everyone here knows someone who is making good money as a call center agent or investing in real estate that will be used by call centers, or have a friend in the US who knows someone who wants to save money by outsourcing. It’s one of those everyone is doing it, so why can’t I kinds of things.

This is all good, but there are just as many failures as there are success stories when it comes to small and medium-sized BPOs. Ones where someone had a client, or a building, or an idea but didn’t size it right and misjudged on cost, or talent or market and had to close their doors and lost money.

So when you have an outsourcing opportunity in front of you, whether it be as provider or a client, make sure you size it right. Here are a few things to think about:

  1. Does the client already have an existing business that they want to outsource? If so, fully understand all the requirements of that job as it is currently performed.
  2. Can you find the talent in the Philippines to provide just as good if not a little better service as currently is being provided? A common mistake is thinking that cutting both cost and the level of service will be a win-win.
  3. How scalable is this project? How can both ends be managed in a way that allows for uninterrupted growth? Often things start easy when it’s a pilot, but once you get into production a host of issues can pop up to derail growth and ultimately the partnership.
  4. How stable is the client? Are they a startup that has a great idea and is underfunded? Those are plentiful. Or are they an established business with a strategic plan that includes the fortitude to successfully outsource a key piece of its business? These are hard to find.

That is just a few things that come to mind when I think about sizing the opportunity. Having set up 5 teams in the past year to provide outsourcing services, I have learned a lot about making sure I get the sizing done right. Keeping a client happy is all about under promising and then over delivering when it comes to time, talent and cost.

Analytics Outsourcing – DMAIPH has successful set up Filipino analytics teams for over a dozen U.S. based businesses. Offering both virtual and office based teams that specialize in problem solving using data, new technology and analytics techniques is our strength. Finding and empowering analytics talent is increasingly challenging, but we have it down to a science. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to learn more about how to set up an analytics-centric team in the Philippines.

Being A Great Analyst > Attribute #2: Visualize Your Data

Most people learn by seeing something… that’s definitely true when it comes to using data. They not only learn more, but data visualization also a quicker sharing of information and also enhances communication.

Here’s an example. My management team was discussing how to enhance our coaching efforts with the team and since each of my direct reports has a different area of responsibility; production, quality and schedule adherence, they were having trouble agreeing on which analysts needed the most coaching. They each produced reports that were stand alone documents that would be shared via email or dropbox.

So I suggested we build a simple business dashboard. A business dashboard looks something like this:

It’s a simple collection of visuals built on top of a data file.

I created a simple Google docs spreadsheet and shared it. Each of the key performance indicators used to evaluate employee success was given a column and I put each employee a row. I then had each of my directs input the relevant data points and quickly we had a rudimentary business dashboard and I now I have a much more in synch management team.

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Simple analytics solutions like this are at the fingertips of any business. You just need to know when, where, and how best to implement them. Something so simple as a place to share data is so often overlooked by even the most successful businesses.

Analytics Culture – The key to using analytics in a business is like a secret sauce. It is a unique combination of analytics talent, technology and technique that are brought together to enrich and empower an organization. A successful analytics culture is not easy to create, but DMAIPH can show you how. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly so we can build a strategic plan to turn your company into analytics driven success story.