Five Current Trends in Analytics

Earlier this week, I conducted a Business Analytics Training in our new office in Ortigas. One of the things I talked about was some of the current trends in analytics. Here are my top 5:

1. Everyone Has To Be A Data Scientist
2. Finding Unstructured Data on the Internet
3. Company Specific Analytics Solutions
4. Data Visualization
5. Business Dashboards for Management

When it comes to data science, I take the approach that anyone working with data and analysis has to start thinking of themselves as a data scientist. Its the biggest buzz word in the industry right now.

Finding unstructured data on the internet to compliment structured internal business data is still one of the key skills sets that separates good analytics from great analytics.

Company specific solutions are becoming a requirement and really pose a threat to analytics solutions that too general and too high level.

The number of people who can take data and turn it into art is growing rapidly, but the need for skilled data artists is growing even faster.

And finally, something that has been true for while now… one of the biggest needs out there is someone who can take lots of reports and simplify the data into a single visual.

As they say, the more things change (and analytics gets more complicated) the more they stay the same (what a great analyst needs is being able to add the art to the science).

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I Love Jumping In The Deep End First, But Wading Can Be Smarter!

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2014/10/taking-the-plunge.html

I was reading my blogging hero, Seth Godin’s blog this morning and it made me think about what comes next.

After spending close to a year setting up a 60+ person team for a client from scratch, setting up a call center office and launching a new business to manage it, I am now ready to look for my next challenge.

Like Seth talks about in his blog, wading is a far smarter way to get your foundation set then jumping into the unknown. Starting with a six person work from home team and methodically growing it to a 60+ person team with 2/3 work from home and the rest office based, we went from wading, to swimming, to taking daily plunges off the high dive.

So now I need a new pool to play in and based on what I have learned I can wade into it at first, but before too much time passes I will be doing what I love best… jumping in the deep end.

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Analytics Leadership – DMAIPH specializes in arming the Data-Driven Leader with the tools and techniques they need to build and empower an analytics centric organization. Analytics leadership requires a mastery of not just analytics skill, but also of nurturing an analytics culture. We have guided thousands of Filipino professionals to become better analytics leaders. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to discuss a uniquely tailored strategy to ensure you are the top of your game when it comes to Analytics Leadership.

Analytics Outsourcing To The Philippines

There has been a lot discussion lately about the relative pros and cons of outsourcing analytics. The biggest perceived con are that an outsourced analyst might not have the necessary business knowledge to pose the right questions or to clearly identify threats and opportunities.

However, the reality is that with the global analytics talent gap expanding at a rapid pace, many business have no choice but to explore outsourcing options for some if not most of their analytics.

Having worked with several businesses who have successfully outsourced analytics projects and even whole teams to the Philippines, I can say that the pros far outweigh the cons. Here are a few of the pros that I can testify to:

1. Speed and Focus. Once optimized, detached team can often get more done and get it done faster as they are able to mono task.

2. Fresh Set of Eyes. Given enough time to get up to speed on things, an “outsider” to the business often can see the forest through the trees.

3. Scalability. The savings based on things like having a team that can be quickly grown or shrunk based on business need and access to labor pools with a lower cost ratio can often make a big difference when it comes to covering all the bases.

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There are countless other reasons why business in the U.S. are increasing looking across the Pacific for analytics talent. The number of academic course and corporate training programs offering business analytics is growing rapidly here in the Philippines.

As key players in the BPO industry here in the Philippines look to meet many of the analytics needs of companies abroad, the pros will continue to outweigh the cons.

And that is exactly why I founded DMAI.

Three Customer Service Tips We Can Do More Often

http://www.business2community.com/customer-experience/3-new-strategic-rules-customer-service-01030897

Came across this article on LinkedIn and wanted to share the 3 new rules of customer service, because more often then not, I think most of us are still missing them.

1. Connect with your customers using the channel and platform of their choice. DMAI get’s way more queries about our analytics business via our FB page and my blog then by website, phone or e-mail. Yet, even after several attempts to have someone responsible for our Social Media, we still don’t have a consistent strategy. Need to fix that asap!

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2. Being proactive means talking with your customers before they decide to use your services. Have conversations that reveal needs and assess opportunities so when the customer is ready to buy, the deal is actually already closed.

3. Having a human voice means really taking a minute to put yourself in the customers shoes. How would you want to be served if you were them? We still rely to much on canned responses and agreeing to have a meeting someday. Not enough let’s figure this out right now.

So, from the article I took away a few to dos to help have more customer insight and deliver better customer service. Hope you do as well! 🙂

Replicating The Magic

I am looking for an existing call center to partner with.

I have a client who is interested in the possibility of opening up a second site. We currently have a 20 seat customer care team in Ortigas. In 2015, the plan is to open a 2nd site of the same size in a different location to give the client better business continuity options.

The client is an online auction site and its customers are auction houses, bidders and sellers. The auction houses need technical support with the client’s online auction tool and the bidders and sellers would mainly need help with billing and shipping questions.

The requirements would be space for at least 10 workstations (doubled up if need be), but ideally 20. Also a spot for a team supervisor. The team would be pretty close to 24/7. There may be some off hours late in the afternoon/early in the evening Philippines time.

The team would do a combination of inbound e-mail and telephone customer service. The expected volumes are about 50 e-mails and 30 calls a day per analyst at peak times. Normal levels are closer to 30 emails and 15 calls a day.

The phones are internet based so no need for a phone switch. The internet requirements is at least 5 mbps, but ideally it’s closer to 10 mpbs.
The salaries for the current team are 14-18K based on experience and for the supervisor 25-30K.

As part of the set-up, the client would be pretty hands off doing all the training via internet. Once in production a daily check in between the supervisor and the client would be required.

Let me know if either you are interested or if you know of someone else who might be interested in taking on the client.

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.

Turning The Corner

About a year ago I received an out of the blue call from a friend who said he needed help setting up a new team to do some outsourcing work here in the Philippines.

It seemed like a pretty simple set up, just six work from agents to do some lot tagging (adding keywords) for an online auction.

Twelve months later we have a team of 65 working on a variety of services, with about 10 of that number being office based contact center staff.

Based on past experiences with setting up teams here, I’d say overall it has been a very smooth set-up with a relatively low number of difficult challenges to face.

By the far the biggest reason for our success to date has been the caliber of the team I have been able to bring together. We have built a business from scratch and done it with a very methodical and cost effective approach.

As we have grown the business, we have celebrated several milestones. In the past few days, we celebrated three significant ones that mark a defining moment in our evolution from start-up to normal operations.

First we had a leadership meeting where we were able to give out a mix of swag items to the attendees. The cool thing is that some were from the client and some from our company. Having something in your hand that ties you to both companies is pretty awesome.

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Second, we got new workstations set up for the office based staff to give us a much more established look and feel. I know this will go a long way in giving the team a sense of permanence that we needed.

And finally, we received health care membership cards for our 15 most senior team members. It’s a pilot program to test our before rolling out to the whole team, but it’s another key step towards building our identity.

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There will be lots more swag coming soon. And new equipment and creature comforts for the office based team.

And finally more benefits for all DMAI team members in the months to come.

We have definitely turned the corner from Start-up Street and are now on Normal Operations Avenue! 

I Always Say… Data Science Is Just As Much Art As It Is Science!

“A data scientist is that unique blend of skills that can both unlock the insights of data and tell a fantastic story via the data.” … that’s a quote by DJ Patil, who is generally considered one of the world’s top data scientists.

The term data scientist has really taken off in the analytics world the past few years and the number of job postings, college courses and certifying bodies continues to rocket upwards. Here in the Philippines I am starting to see a number of analytics gurus using that title and have even started seeing some of the bigger BPOs look for skills sets inline with this type of title,

However, even the most veteran data geeks, have a hard time really determining what role data scientist can play in the BPO industry and to what level you can set up outsourcing team to do data science… aka analytics… aka data-driven decision-making. Its really, quite a wide open topic without a lot of clear guidance trickling down into the industry here.

That will change. And it will change quickly. The number of analytics trainings and data-centric conferences and college course geared towards data science careers is exploding. In fact i will be speaking at two of events of this kind later this month. One geared to college students looking into analytics careers and one for a cross section of practitioners looking for deeper understanding of the analytics environment.

To that end, I wanted to share a few visuals that I will be using in my presentations… both with a slant towards guiding students towards the right analytics career for them.

The first is a great visual showing the diverse skills a true data scientist needs to be awesome. Source: http://www.datasciencecentral.com/profiles/blogs/the-22-skills-of-a-data-scientist

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The second is a a great way to show what data geeks really need to become data rock stars. Source: http://www.datasciencecentral.com/profiles/blogs/are-you-a-data-scientist

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Patience Is A Virtue

Per the dictionary… patience (noun) = the ability to wait calmly; the capacity to accept delay without getting angry | virtue (noun) = a quality or trait that most people consider to be morally good or desirable in a person.

The past two weeks have been a consistent reminder that those who can exercise patience generally are those who succeed and those who can not exercise patience are much less likely to succeed.

Picture1time to hire

The past two weeks have also reminded me that having patient people surround you is much more preferable to having impatient people around you.

Life moves fast and we all get caught up in the rush, but when you find those who can still find it in themselves to exercise patience… keep them close.

Book Review > See-Saw-Sell by Jonathan Petalver

My good friend Jonathan “the Sales Champ” Petalver has just authored a book for both seasoned sales professionals and first time sales people. The book’s tagline… Killer-Instinct Mindset to Sell More and Win More, says it all. In short the book is about 50 pages of easy to understand and even easier to implement sales strategies that make sense to anyone familiar with sales or not.

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One of the very first things the author does is establish the belief that sales is as much a science as an art. For most sales professionals, being good is just not something you learn but something you are born with and nurture. By showing both the art and the science behind sales, Petalver blows past that myth and shows how anyone can learn sales is they devote as much time to studying data and analysis as they do to talking.

Throughout the rest of the book, readers are empowered with a number of very memorable sales strategies that stick in your head. My favorite is the concept of “ness”… everyone has a “ness” about them that is unique to themselves. Learning how to channel this “ness” into a sales tool is something truly eye opening. My “Dan-ness” harnesses my love for analytics and my passion for teaching and can make me a very powerful and persuasive sales person for the right audience.

Another of my favorite things about this book is Jonathan’s promotion of analytics… using the data in and around a sales process to make more data-driven decisions. So few sales pros really get how data can be a powerful tool… but the ones who do are much more successful. Having seen firsthand how Wells Fargo’s top sales people are constantly looking at sales data and market analysis to find opportunities taught me the value of really paying more attention to the science side of sales.

Overall, the See-Saw-Sell is a great read, full of easy to digest strategies that will add a lot of value to not just sales pro and newbies to sales, but just about anyone who is in a customer facing position who wants to do more than just close a deal, but to build a deep and long-lasting relationship with their clients.

If any of you followers or readers of this blog need some sales guidance, Jonathan Petalver is the Sales Champ you need in your corner.