Follow Up to Q17: HR Analytics Trends

As a follow up to my last blog, I wanted to share a few more points about HR and Recruitment analytics then time allowed for. So here’s what I left out.

First we are seeing a massive replacement of licensed, traditional HRMS systems taking place. Many large companies either have, our or are looking into replacing the core HR applications. Most where built internally, just store structured data, are difficult to pull data from unless you can write code and are not integrated with other data structures.

The replacements are often vendor managed, cloud based, data storage solutions with end user interfaces that simply finding and analyzing data and often automate much of the reporting. And they can be updated in hours versus minutes, versus the old platforms that could take weeks if not months to update.

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These new platforms are able to provide almost limitless data points, have built in business dashboards and are starting to offer powerful predictive analytics models. The days of many of the old school CRMs and ATSs we are using to manage people data are truly numbered.

Another trend worth mentioning is the efforts cutting edge teams are putting into both candidate and employee engagement. Attempts to “gamify” various part of the employee lifecycle to make data gathering, analysis and sharing more eventful is increasingly common. Its common knowledge that ways to attract and keep the attention of millennials is significantly different then it is for baby boomers or Gen Xers.

Dr. Sullivan mentioned that “we are seeing the traditional annual engagement survey is going the way of the dinosaur (slowly however) and a new breed of pulse tools, feedback apps, and anonymous social networking tools has arrived.” It has never been more important to look at not just the enterprise wide health of a company, but that of small communities within the enterprise.

Metrics that measure how engaged an employee once a year is are no longer enough. We can use things like sentiment analysis, text analytics and social media data scrapping to uncover things we would never see in a survey where everyone is pressured to give top scores.

And we really have to get beyond historical data and descriptive analytics to look at current and predictive metrics. We need to quickly know when and why metrics are headed in the wrong direction and measure the impact of our solutions. And this goes for not just current employees, but future ones as well. Candidate satisfaction with the hiring process is often an over looked metric.

We also now have the data and the tools to run predictive models on how, when and why someone may be looking to leave the company. This creates another whole area of HR analytics to look at.

Dr. Sullivan added that “we are seeing tools to predict flight risk, assess high potential job candidates, even find toxic employee behavior – are all in the market today.  While many are not highly proven yet, they all work to a degree, providing great value to any company.”

Now we have, three more trends to consider when it comes to analytics in HR & Recruitment:

  1. Replacement of old internal HR systems with new vendor managed tools
  2. The evolution of employee engagement tools
  3. Predictive analytics modeling

If you are curious about how to get more than just the most basic descriptive analytics out of your business data, then let us sit down and talk about. Finding solutions to replace your old HR systems with more employee engagement options and predictive analytics is not as hard or as expensive as it was a few years ago. Let me show you how getting back on the cutting edge  with your data can be done.

HR & Recruitment Analytics – The recruitment and retention of top talent is the biggest challenge facing just about every organization. DMAIPH is a leading expert in empowering HR & Recruitment teams with analytics techniques to optimize their talent acquisition and management processes. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to learn how to get more analytics in your HR & Recruitment process so you can rise to the top in the ever quickening demand for top talent.

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Q17: What are some best practices and technologies used in HR & Recruitment Analytics?

HR and Recruiting Professionals have embraced analytics. It took a while, but the increased need for data and analytics tools –The ability to collect, process and analyze “big data” has become paramount to the people side of the business. In order to gain a competitive edge in the increasingly chaotic global workplace, those who use analytics to gain data-driven insights into recruitment, compensation and other performance centric trends are the ones on the cutting edge.

“In my opinion, 95% of all the work that is done on recruiting metrics ends up being a waste of time, because the work focuses on creating historical tactical metrics never actually used to improve recruiting performance,” says Dr. John Sullivan, an ERE blogger and recruiting metrics expert. He says there are 3 reasons why there are failures and wasted time when it comes to metrics:

  1. Recruiting metrics omit any “big-picture” business impacts
  2. Current recruiting metrics are 100% descriptive and only offer guesses on what is and what will happen.
  3. Once collected, the metrics are reported to “barley interested eyes” who then assign things to a committee whose time spent results in very little measurable impact.

If you are still focused on time to fill and cost per hire, you really are quickly becoming a dinosaur. In addition, the idea of trying bringing in new people while working towards retaining top talent are generally not assigned to the same people. The disconnect between recruiting good people and retaining the good people who have been recruited is a killer to many companies. Both the material and cultural cost of replacing a bad hire isn’t generally looked at.

There are lots of blind spots to what is happening not just internally, but also externally.  Knowing who you are competing against for the same talent and what makes your offer to sign or stay stand out from the crows. None of these points can be analyzed with old school metrics terms and methods.

Dr. Sullivan also recommends six strategic categories of metrics that will help your in not just recruitment but in many other HR initiatives like retention and employee engagement:

  • The positive performance increase added by more productive hires
  • The failure rate of new hires and the damage done by weak hires
  • The losses created by a weak hiring process
  • The opportunity costs of “missed” landable top talent
  • The cost of using excessive hiring manager hours

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If you are looking at metrics like these, and sharing your findings not just with the recruitment team, but the boarder HR team, you can come up with big picture strategies to deal challenges much more effectively. In my own experience, a few other noteworthy trends in HR and Recruitment Analytics to consider include:

  • Disruptive Technology. Giving tools and information to managers and employees directly allows action to happen much quicker and be much more localized in impact. Success means giving the power to the end users so that HR can do more to oversee and manage big picture metrics.
  • Once A Year Is Not Enough. Annual reviews and employee surveys are too old school. Using analytics to gain insights can now be done 24/7. This can really have positive changes on employee engagement without the drawn out and too formal process made uniform to all.
  • Outsource Stuff. In successful companies, many tasks are outsourced to vendors who can do a lot more specialized things then in house generalist staff can do. Its just to much to ask a few people to stay on top of all the things important to the people you rely on. You have to pick and choose what you can keep and what you can outsource.
  • Mobile Apps. Designing apps for mobile first use is the way to go. We too often rely on old school thinking and take web-only or web-first tools and repurpose them for mobile. Times have changed. Mobile first is the way to connect with todays candidates and employees.
  • Look For It On YouTube. Video based learning, recorded by localized subject matter experts is on the cutting edge. The bonuses of learning from someone who is doing it versus traditional corporate trainers and enterprise world eLearning modules is another key to success.
  • Out Of The Box Analytics Tools. Behind the fire wall HR applications are being replaced or augmented by vendor based analytics tools that are more dynamic and expandable. Many can set on top of or replace current tools that are being used to gather, store, analyze and report data. The days when everything has to be designed, developed and maintained by an internal IT team is also going the way of the dodo bird.

So there you have it… becoming an HR and Recruitment Analytics ninja is going to take a lot of new thinking and a lot of letting go of how it worked in the past. Everyone agrees recruiting has never been harder, retention is getting more challenging and the future of finding and retaining talent is looking like a nightmare on the horizon.

If you need some guidance with how to being your HR and/or Recruitment team into the information age, I’m happy to help. One of my favorite things to do is get in a room with HR and Recruitment staff and talk about how to bring the team form the past to the future when it comes to analytics.  Just ask me how.

HR & Recruitment Analytics – The recruitment and retention of top talent is the biggest challenge facing just about every organization. DMAIPH is a leading expert in empowering HR & Recruitment teams with analytics techniques to optimize their talent acquisition and management processes. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to learn how to get more analytics in your HR & Recruitment process so you can rise to the top in the ever quickening demand for top talent.

Q16: Can you tell us more about current trends and hot new tools in social media analytics?

This question can lead to its own 20 part FAQ itself. As we all have witnessed, the daily growth in both social media channels and social media users can be an analytics nightmare.

Trying to capture the right data you need and not get side-tracked by useless data, while at the same time looking for new data to add value, in conjunction with storing your data in secure and accessible places, and constantly having to provide new data and analysis to decision-makers… it can make your head spin.

And then you add the complexity of social media, not knowing which platform has legs and will become the new thing, which ones are losing their edge and which ones are already dinosaurs. We all have way more apps on our phone then we every use and we probably have signed up for more social media services and have forgotten about them then ones we are currently using.

SO with all that in front of us, how do we look for current trends and tools in to use in our social media analytics. My answer to that, do what I do. Every few months I block off a day to review blog posts and articles I’ve bookmarked commenting on social media analytics.

Based on my latest research below is a couple of lists of what the experts predict will be the top social media analytics trends in 2016 and what are the best analytics tools to manage your data with. But this post comes with a Use By date… what’s hot today may be gone tomorrow… Friendster, FourSquare, My Space, we love you once, not we barely remember you.

Top Social Media Analytics Trends for 2016:

  1. Omni-Channel Analysis. The new buzzword for cross-channel. How do you get your Facebook Insights to match up to your YouTube Hits and your Instagram Likes and fee them to your LinkedIn connections? You need to have an omni-channel strategy and there are several tools you can use to do this.
  2. Real-Time Customer Engagement Analytics. Knowing when potential customers are in front of you and engaging them in a conversation. We have the data to know when they are likely to be shopping and what they are probably looking for… which will allow marketers to do more pulling and less pushing.
  3. Mobile Specific Data. Companies that use social media effectively can tell you what % of users, candidates, clients, etc can to you via mobile. And they will all tell you the same thing, the % of mobile versus web has shifted dramatically and is not slowing down. If you don’t have a mobile solution for whatever it is you do, then your business is on the verge of going extinct.
  4. Machine-Learning. If you are a point where you have invested into automation in your social media posting, monitoring and reporting you are a step ahead. If you are actually using AI to drive social media engagements, then you are on the cutting edge. If you don’t understand these concepts, then you need to start learning about them and how to bring them into your business now. It’s not the future any more.
  5. Data Visualization. This one is constant year after year, because we keep creating better and better tools to allow us to make engaging visuals with our data. If you are going to spend anywhere in your social media budget, make sure data visualization doesn’t get undervalued.
  6. Data-Driven Decision-Making. More and more people are figuring out the just being on social media isn’t enough. Nor is hiring people to just do social-media. You have to have decision-makers who look at social media strategically to use it do broaden your message, share your brand and offer your services. You have to have a culture in place that knows what to do with the data you gather and turn analysis into action.

There are many other trends, but these are the ones I see being the most important to my current and future clients.

So now for a few tools that I have used that can help you capitalize on these trends:

  1. Hootsuite – The market leader. Manage up to 3 social profiles, Basic Analytics Reports, Basic Scheduling, Add up to 2 RSS connections and basic integration.
  2. Keyhole – Measure your overall impact on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Giving you access to an intuitive and shareable dashboard, it tracks hashtag, keyword and campaign metrics in real-time. These include reach, impressions, periods of high activity and more.
  3. Buffer – See the engagement numbers for your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn posts. Based on these metrics, it also identifies your top post of the day.
  4. Cyfe – All-in-one business dashboard app which helps to easily monitor all the business data from one place.
  5. quintly – Track, benchmark and optimize social media performance against competitors’ and derive an optimal social media strategy.
  6. Klout – Quantify your influence on each major social platform. Giving you a mark out of 100, it grades you based on your ability to engage and drive action.
  7. Google Analytics – Top choice for analyzing website traffic that can be uses to measure the value of traffic coming from social sites, determining how visitors behave and if they convert.

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I have also heard good things about Datasift and Social Harvest, but they require coding to really get the best value from.

So there you go, an 8-hour discussion wrapped up in a few pages. Connect with me if you want to learn more about how to get handle on all the data you are creating using social media. If it’s not giving you the strategic edge you expected, then I can help you change that.

Q15: What is a business dashboard and how is it used in a business?

Much like a driver uses a car’s dashboard to make lots of decisions before and during a trip, a business dashboard helps a business decision-maker to plan for his business.

Wikipedia’s definition of a business dashboard is quite long. A business dashboard is  “An easy to read, often single page, real-time user interface, showing a graphical presentation of the current status (snapshot) and historical trends of an organization’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to enable instantaneous and informed decisions to be made at a glance.”

That is a mouthful. But lets break it down to help us understand how a business can use dashboards to make better decisions.

  • Single Page – You need to be able to see everything you need to know at a glance. If you need to scroll or click to get data it really lessens that power of the dashboard.
  • Real Time – If the data isn’t current, then you really are limited to being able to take action. With technology today, not having a way to feed real time data in your dashboard is pretty old school. Plus this can help you set up some useful predictive models that feed into the dashboard.
  • Graphical Presentation – People pick up data much quicker from visual queues like charts and graphs then they do a table full of numbers. There are a lot of great visualization tools out there to add a lot of both style and substance to analyzing business data.
  • Current Status – Besides being furnished with real time data, you should be able to look at where things stand right now. Like how a speedometer keeps you within the speed limit, real time status can help you know where to focus your energy most.
  • Historical Trends – The priority is real time, current status all in one view. That said, having the ability to switch to historical trends is also something to look for in an awesome dashboard.
  • KPIs – One of the keys to getting the most bang for your buck with a dashboard is to make sure you are feeding the right KPIs into it. The audience will gravitate to what is most important to them and if its not available at first glance they wont use the dashboard. So knowing the business well enough to know the key KPIs for the power users is super important.
  • Make Decisions – The bottom line is that if a dashboard improves the speed and the accuracy in which decisions are made then its working. Companies with really good analytics cultures use dashboards at staff meetings and conference calls and have pretty much killed the use of power point for most discussions.

When you walk into a company and you see business dashboards on the wall monitor and/or on desktops you are in the kind of place we should all be. The technology is there, its more a matter of culture to make it useful.

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Hope that helps shed some light on how business dashboards can help a business. They just give you much more relevant and useful data summarized and offered in easy to use and understand bites.

My team is very adept at setting up business dashboards using Tableau Public. Let me know if you’d like to know more.

Hybrid Staffing Solutions – It’s Not Just Outsourcing

One of the challenges of my business is that it is not simple to explain to someone.

We are not a straightforward outsourcing company.

I don’t work with clients who are just looking to save money by sending jobs overseas.

Instead I offer a hybrid staffing solution. And what is that exactly?

First off I specialize in basic analytics. The types of clients we take on have a need for someone to analyze something in order to answer questions and provide solutions. We don’t do traditional customer service, we are not tech support and we don’t take on many advanced analytics projects.

If someone comes to me asking about predictive analytics models, the blending of big data sources or data science, I am happy to consult with them long enough to find a good match with a company who deals in these things. But it’s not what we focus on.

We are good at things like analyzing social media content, public data mining, building and maintaining business dashboards, conducting demographic research and gather competitor data. We use Tableau and Excel. We help people who have systems in place, they just need assistance with maximizing their value. This is what I teach my team.

We are a niche business partnering with companies who have a specific need.

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Our clients are small to medium sized businesses in growth mode. I’ve worked with both small mom and pop businesses and big corporations. They both have limitations to our business model. Our clients all have an analytics centric culture, they just don’t have the resources to optimize and grow the business completely in house.

Another difference between what we do and what traditional outsourcing companies offer is that most of our team is home based. As a general rule, I don’t like the office based model when working with talent from the Philippines. Running an office team in the Philippines is very complicated due to the labor laws and competitive market. It’s us much easier to attract top talent at an affordable price by setting up virtual teams.

In the end, my success has primarily been because we find ways to merge the culture of the client with the team in the Philippines. We don’t look and feel like most outsourced teams, because we integrate the new team into the client’s culture.

So now you have a better idea of why I say it is somewhat of a challenge to explain our model. We offer hybrid staffing solutions… a Philippines based, virtual team set up to mirror the client culture who offer a variety of analytics and back office business services.

Maybe it is not as hard to explain after all.

nalytics 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.

Q14: What is data visualization and how does it help drive better decision-making?

Most of us are well aware that people generally learn best visually. A simple pie chat can turn a 1,000 row excel spreadsheet from a headache inducing overload of data into something one is able to make decisions on in a few seconds.

Of all the things that have made me a successful analyst, one of my greatest skills is knowing which visual to use in my presentations and reporting.

To demonstrate how data visualization can drive better decision-making, I will borrow from analytics guru Bernard Marr’s 7 Key Ingredients for Knock-out Data Visualizations.

Even the best analytics will amount to nothing if you don’t report the results properly to the right people in the right way. Make sure you report the results effectively by following these 7 steps:

  1. Identify your target audience. What do they need to know and want to know? And what will they do with the information?
  2. Customize the data visualization. Be prepared to customize your data visualization to meet the specific requirements of each decision maker.
  3. Use Clear Titles and Labels. Don’t be cryptic or clever. Just explain what the graphic does. This helps to immediately put the visualization into context.
  4. Link the data visualization to your strategy. As a result, they are much more likely to engage and use the information wisely.
  5. Choose your graphics carefully. Use whatever type of graphic best conveys the story as simply and succinctly as possible.
  6. Use headings to make the important points stand out. This allows the reader to scan the document and get the crux of the story very quickly.
  7. Add a short narrative where appropriate. Narrative helps to explain the data in words and adds depth to the story while contextualizing the graphics.

So there you have it. Data Visualizations allow the analyst to inform and empower the audience of the report/presentation to use the data to make good decisions.

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It sounds easy, but a lot of people really struggle with this concept. Most presentations I see are either too wordy or include visuals the audience can’t see easily. Most reports are formatted in a way that may look good, but have little functionality.

Nothing prohibits good analysis like an excel spreadsheet full of data but not formatted in a way that allows a pivot table to be built.

Likewise a lot of reports are just summaries, with the original data hidden or absent. When you take away the power of an end user to do their own analysis, you really diminish the value of what you are doing.

So besides everything that Bernard said above, I would add make sure you provide the ability for your audience to use and analyze your data.

If you are having challenges with coming up with engaging and actionable data visualizations, let me know. I can definitely help.

Q13: A lot of us want to know what is business intelligence and how does it add value to analytics?

Per Wikipedia, Business Intelligence (BI) is an umbrella term that refers to a variety of software applications used to analyze an organization’s raw data.

BI as a discipline is made up of several related activities, including data mining, online analytical processing, querying and reporting. BI can be used to support a wide range of business decisions ranging from operational to strategic as well as both basic operating decisions include product positioning or pricing and strategic business decisions include priorities, goals and directions at the broadest level.

The CHED memo breaks business intelligence into four phases:

  1. Data Gathering. Business analysts need to identify the appropriate data-gathering technique by conducting research. Once you have identified the right data, it needs to be captured. This process is the same as the identify process.
  2. Data Storing. A general term for archiving data in electromagnetic or other forms for use by a computer or device. There is a common distinction between forms of physical data storage is between random access memory (RAM) and associated formats, and secondary data storage on external drives. This process is akin to the first part of the inventory process.
  3. Data Analysis. The process of systematically applying statistical and/or logical techniques to describe and illustrate, condense and recap, and evaluate data is the analysis phase. Data analysis has multiple facets and approaches, encompassing diverse techniques under a variety of names. We need to have a data analysis to improve the company’s performance. This process is the 2nd half of the inventory process.
  4. Data Access. Data Access refers to software and activities related to storing, retrieving, or acting on data housed in a database or other repository. Two fundamental types of data access exist: sequential access (as in magnetic tape, for example) Data access crucially involves authorization to access different data repositories. Data access can help distinguish the abilities of administrators and users.

That is a good starting point to understanding the concept. The memo breaks down the data analysis process into 4 parts to show how important the structure or data lake your data is stored is as important as the data itself.

Business Intelligence tools all work based on the premise that you have structured data neatly stored in tables with header rows and columns of data. More advanced BI tools can handle unstructured data, but for the most part they are all built to pull data from structured environments. BI Tools are like a fish or depth finder to help you access your data from the data lake quicker and with more efficiency.

Another important point to note is that business intelligence and business analytics are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are different.

From my perspective, the term business intelligence refers to collecting business data to find information primarily through asking questions, reporting, and online analytical processes.

Business analytics, on the other hand, uses statistical and quantitative tools for explanatory and predictive modeling. In this definition, business analytics can be seen as the subset of an enterprise wide BI strategy focusing on statistics, prediction, and optimization. The CHED memo is more closely aligned to that division as well as the primary focus is on the storage of data and the use of modeling.

As for myself, I worked with business intelligence software and methodologies with Wells Fargo long before I had even heard of the term BI.

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I want to leave you with on tip. If you are fairly new to the concept of business intelligence tools I suggest you download Tableau Public. It is very easy to learn, there is a very active user community to learn from and best of all it’s free.

So check it out.

Q12: Next please explain when and how we can use prescriptive analytics?

Prescriptive analytics goes one step further and finds the best course of action for a given situation. Its primary goal is to enhance decision-making by giving multiple outcomes based on multiple variables.   The analogy of how doctors prescribe medicine to patients based on a wide range of variables in a patient’s health, using an equally wide range of treatment options.

“Prescriptive tells you the best way to get to where you want to be,” says Anne Robinson, director of supply chain analytics at Verizon Wireless and a past president of INFORMS, a society for analytics and operations research professionals.  “If you want to differentiate yourself, the next step is the prescriptive tool box.

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Predictive analytics answers the question what will happen. Prescriptive analytics not only anticipates what will happen and when it will happen, but also why it will happen. Further, prescriptive analytics suggests decision options on how to take advantage of a future opportunity or mitigate a future risk and shows the implication of each decision option.

Prescriptive analytics can continually take in new data to re-predict and re-prescribe, thus automatically improving prediction accuracy and prescribing better decision options. Prescriptive analytics allows us to handle blended data, a combination of structured (numbers, categories) and unstructured data (videos, images, sounds, texts), and business rules to predict what lies ahead. It also allows to take advantage of this predicted future without compromising other priorities.

In addition, most prescriptive analytics efforts require a predictive model with two additional components: actionable data and a feedback system that tracks the outcome produced by the action taken. It is simply too much data and too many outcomes to track if you haven’t invested in the right people and the right technology.

To really be impactful, this type of analytics also requires more data integration then the other types. “Data scientists typically spend about three-quarters of their time preparing data sets and only a quarter running analysis”, says Forrester Research analyst Mike Gualtieri. The need to not only blend and integrate data, but to constantly be looking at ways to keep the good and toss out the bad.

There is also a lot of discussion ongoing about the role prescriptive analytics actually replacing human decision-making. Advances in machine learning have gotten to a point where many routine business decisions can be made automatically.

We are currently seeing a lot of buzz in the industry about how far can an automated predictive analytics solution take us in freeing up time and resources. Currently we are finding ways to spend less time data blending and integrating and more analyzing and taking action. But soon it may be the whole analytics process that is managed by artificial intelligence.

Prescriptive analytics is the way of the future for those with the resources to apply it. However, for those who do not have those resources, prescriptive analytics is out of reach. This to me is a huge challenge for the analytics industry to solve.

The 3 Parts of Me: BPO Elite, DMAIPH and Sonic Analytics

A little about me. I oversee three small companies that specialize in analytics. I am not actively trying to sell you my services, but do hope that if you ever have a need for tailor made analytics solutions, you remember me.

BPO Elite is a consulting business that matches up companies in the U.S. with talent in the Philippines to do a variety of basic analytics and back office work. We DO NOT deal with companies looking just to send jobs overseas, focusing only on partners who need to add flexibility and depth to the talent pool. We have helped over a dozen companies find the right solution for their business to date.

DMAIPH is a company designed to deliver analytics training and support to colleges and universities looking to add more analytics centric courses and materials to their curriculum. To date, I have consulted with over a dozen of the top schools in the Philippines as well as working with student interns from UC Berkley, San Diego State and Diablo Valley College. My interns have helped a number of small business with basic analytics projects. I also blog about my love for analytics and how I teach it.

Sonic Analytics is a training business that focuses on corporate trainings in analytics related topics. Based on my experience as a senior analytics consultant with Wells Fargo Bank and in teaching analytics to college students in both the U.S. and the Philippines, I have come up with a very effective way to help professionals get a better handle on the analytics culture in their business. I have delivered trainings to thousands of people over the past few years, helping them learn how to make more data-driven decisions.

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Each company represents one of the key components of my dream to bring better analytics to as many businesses as possible.

 

Q11: Can you next describe how to best use predictive analytics?

A look at how predictive analytics is used to help drive decision-making starts with a basic need to improve things. Someone once told me that despite all the advanced technology in our phones, cars, homes, workplaces… the world is a remarkably inefficient, wasteful place.

Two blogs ago, I defined predictive analytics as a process that takes data and extrapolates patterns to predict likely outcomes. Past, Present, Past Present, Future… the goal being too provided educated guesses on what is most likely to happen next. The primary use of predictive analytics is to predict outcomes using models that will mitigate risk and eliminate choices based on unlikely outcomes.

For anyone who is familiar with Lean or Six Sigma, there is a lot in common with predictive analytics and process improvement methodologies.  We take historical performance data and combine it with rules, algorithms, and occasionally external data to determine the probable future outcome of an event or the likelihood of a situation occurring. Once we see where we think things might go wrong, we make changes to prevent or at least mitigate the future.

Predictive analytics is used most extensively in places where you want to know the future like sales, marketing, and finance. To do this you need to build models. Models are not always simple and often take someone with both business experience and professional training in certain coding or programming languages.

In the hands of a good analyst, predictive analytics helps a business continually reinvent itself based not just on what happen, but what is likely to happen.

This allows a wide range of organizational activities to be improved by predicting the behaviors and outcomes of people, the futures of individual customers, debtors, patients, criminal suspects, employees, and voters. It’s that generality that makes this technology so awesome.

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Business that have good predictive analytics are much more likely to be successful over the long term. When you look at businesses that fail, its generally because they didn’t have an eye of the future.

If you are wondering how to take your descriptive analytics to the next level and start getting more into predictive analytics, let me know. I can help you figure out to starting using something besides the magic 8 ball to predict what lies ahead.