My Analytics Story – 2011 – Year Zero – Past as Prologue

This is the first in a series of blog posts to I have planned to share My Analytics Story – Teaching Analytics in the Philippines.

I first got the idea to do analytics training and outsourcing in the Philippines in early 2011.

A little historical perspective first. For most of its history Wells Fargo was not very big into outsourcing, but was very big into analytics. I had been working as a senior analytics consultant with the bank for several years and doing some pretty amazing things with data blending and data visualization for our management team.

Then Wells Fargo acquired Wachoiva and all of a sudden my team was given the challenge to help set up some new positions in the Philippines. Wachovia had a long and successful history with doing back office operations in Manila.

For those not familiar with Wells Fargo and/or Wachovia:

The first team to be set up across the Pacific was a back office, new account fulfillment team. A fairly routine series of tasks, easy to capture and validate data. My role was to provide benchmark data and then management reporting as the transition progressed. While doing this I was paired up with several business partners in Manila. And quickly I discovered that their analytics tools were not very advance and they really didn’t use much predictive analytics.

The light bulb turned on.

I could do this. I could go to the Philippines and get involved with training people to do more analytics, to bring more data-driven decision making to the outsourcing industry!

Given I was married to a Filipina, most of my friends are Filipino-American and I grew up in a city with one of the largest Filipino communities in California, this was a perfect chance to grow my affinity for the Philippines.

And of course I could get back to doing more teaching in the form of training people to use analytics. I had been thinking about getting back to teaching for a while, but the bottom line is Wells just paid better. Plus, I really love working with data. So then next light bulb went off.

I can take what I am good at analytics, and merge it with my passion, teaching and get into the business of training analytics.

As this plan was starting to evolve in my mind, things at work where also coming to a head. I had been trying for a while to find a new job that would get me closer to being involved in both analytics and outsourcing equally with no luck. Lots of interviews within the bank, but nothing came to fruition. Which in hind sight was a total blessing in disguise.

One day I was chatting with a good friend about my growing frustration of not being able to find the right job at Wells and he said, well why don’t you set up your own business then? Light bulb number 3.

But then how? He suggested we talk with a friend of his who was ironically enough looking to set up his own call center in the Philippines. We had several meetings and decided the three of us would set up a new business both in the U.S. to find clients and in the Philippines to train talent to do work for the clients. I came up with the name BPO Elite and the tag line, making data-driven decisions.

And then we got around to talking about who would run the company. And they both immediately said it would have to be me. Up to this point, never in my life had I contemplated such a thing.

Me being the boss.

The final light bulb burned bright. Now it would just a matter of planning the launch of the new business.

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This was around June 2011. We set up BPO Elite legally, built the web site, started doing some marketing.

One thing I needed to validate though was can I actually train people to do the analytics we would be offering as a service. I needed to do a pilot here in the U.S. before moving to the Philippines. I had always thought college students/fresh graduates would be the best ones to hire to work in our business. They are open minded and highly energetic and I could fill their minds with the technologies and methodologies I had used at Wells to be a great analyst.

So thanks I brought on a team of interns over the summer of 2011 with the idea of teaching them analytics and turning them loose on some local small business clients to see if we can drive some results that would be turned into a training model.

It was a huge success. Great pupils. Happy Clients. Lots of Data. More on the how I did it later. For the sake of the narrative, it worked. So it was time to leave Wells Fargo and set in motion the plan to move across the Pacific.

And one more key point I will get to later, one of my parners had a connection at one of the top schools in Manila. So lets not just train fresh grads to do analysts, I should also tie up with the school to teach a class on analytics. More access to talent and a good way to build our brand credibility.

The moral of the story… the reason behind my posts… dream a dream, validate it with data, take calculated risks to seize opportunities and then just persevere.

More to come.

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