How to Overcome Challenges in Adopting Data Analytics

AJINKYA | April 20, 2020

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Achieving organizational success and making data-driven decisions in 2020 requires embracing tech tools like Data Analytics and collecting, storing and analysing data isn’t.The real data-driven, measurable growth, and development come with the establishment of data-driven company culture. In this type of culture company actively uses data resources as a primary asset to make smart decisions and ensure future growth.

Despite the rapid growth of analytic solutions, a recent Gartner survey revealed that almost 75% of organizations thought their analytics maturity had not reached a level that optimized business outcomes. Just like with any endeavor, your organization must have a planned strategy to achieve its analytical goals. Let’s explore ways for overcoming common blockers, and elements used in successful analytics adoption strategies.

Table of Contents:
- AMM: Analytic Maturity Model
- What are the blockers to achieving a strategy-driven analytics?
- What are the adoption strategies to achieve an analytics success?
- Conclusion

AMM: Analytic Maturity Model

The Analytic Maturity Model (AMM) evaluates the analytic maturity of an organization. The model identifies the five stages an organization travels through to reach optimization. Organizations must implement the right tools, engage their team in proper training, and provide the management support necessary to generate predictable outcomes with their analytics. Based on the maturity of these processes, the AMM divides
organizations into five maturity levels:
- Organizations that can build reports.
- Organizations that can build and deploy models.
- Organizations that have repeatable processes for building and deploying analytics.
- Organizations that have consistent enterprise-wide processes for analytics.
- Enterprises whose analytics is strategy driven.


What are the blockers to achieving a strategy-driven analytics?

- Missing an Analytics Strategy
- Analytics is not for everyone
- Data quality presents unique challenges
- Siloed Data
- Changing the culture

What are the adoption strategies to achieve analytic success?

• Have you got a plan to achieve analytic success?

The strategy begins with business intelligence and moves toward advanced analytics. The approach differs based on the AMM level. The plan may address the strategy for a single year, or it may span 3 or more years. It ideally has milestones for what the team will do. When forming an analytics strategy, it can be expensive and time consuming at the outset. While organizations are encouraged to seek projects that can generate quick wins, the truth is that it may be months before any actionable results are available. During this period, the management team is frantically diverting resources from other high-profile projects. If funds are tight, this situation alone may cause friction. It may not be apparent to everyone how the changes are expected to help. Here are the elements of a successful analytics strategy:

• Keep the focus tied to tangible business outcomes

The strategy must support business goals first. With as few words as possible, your plan should outline what you intend to achieve, how to complete it, and a target date for completion of the plan. Companies may fail at this step because they mistake implementing a tool for having a strategy. To keep it relevant, tie it to customer-focused goals. The strategy must dig below the surface with the questions that it asks. Instead of asking surface questions such as “How can we save money?”, instead ask, “How can we improve the quality of the outcomes for our customers?” or “What would improve the productivity of each worker?” These questions are more specific and will get the results the business wants. You may need to use actual business cases from your organization to think through the questions.

• Select modern, multi-purpose tools

The organization should be looking for an enterprise tool that supports integrating data from various databases, spreadsheets, or even external web based sources. Typically, organizations may have their data stored across multiple databases such as Salesforce, Oracle, and even Microsoft Access. The organization can move ahead quicker when access to the relevant data is in a single repository. With the data combined, the analysts have a specific location to find reports and dashboards. The interface needs to be robust enough to show the data from multiple points of view. It should also allow future enhancements, such as when the organization makes the jump into data science.
Incorta’s Data Analytics platform simplifies and processes data to provide meaningful information at speed that helps make informed decisions.

Incorta is special in that it allows business users to ask the same complex and meaningful questions of their data that typically require many IT people and data scientist to get the answers they need to improve their line of business. At the digital pace of business today, that can mean millions of dollars for business leaders in finance, supply chain or even marketing. Speed is a key differentiator for Incorta in that rarely has anyone been able to query billions of rows of data in seconds for a line of business owner.

- Tara Ryan, CMO, Incorta

Technology implementations take time. That should not stop you from starting in small areas of the company to look for quick wins. Typically, the customer-facing processes have areas where it is easier to collect data and show opportunities for improvement.

• Ensure staff readiness

If your current organization is not data literate, then you will need resources who understand how to analyze and use data for process improvement. It is possible that you can make data available and the workers still not realize what they can do with it. The senior leadership may also need training about how to use data and what data analytics makes possible.

• Start Small to Control Costs and Show Potential

If the leadership team questions the expense, consider doing a proof of concept that focuses on the tools and data being integrated quickly and efficiently to show measurable success. The business may favor specific projects or initiatives to move the company forward over long-term enterprise transformations (Bean & Davenport, 2019). Keeping the project goals precise and directed helps control costs and improve the business. As said earlier, the strategy needs to answer deeper business questions. Consider other ways to introduce analytics into the business. Use initiatives that target smaller areas of the company to build competencies. Provide an analytics sandbox with access to tools and training to encourage other non-analytics workers (or citizen data scientists) to play with the data. One company formed a SWAT team, including individuals from across the organization. The smaller team with various domain experience was better able to drive results. There are also other approaches to use – the key is to show immediate and desirable results that align with organizational goals.

• Treating the poor data quality

What can you do about poor data quality at your company? Several solutions that can help to improve productivity and reduce the financial impact of poor data quality in your organization include:

• Create a team to set the proper objectives

Create a team who owns the data quality process. This is important to prove to yourself and to anyone with whom you are conversing about data that you are serious about data quality. The size of the team is not as important as the membership from the parts of the organization that have the right impact and knowledge in the process. When the team is set, make sure that they create a set of goals and objectives for data quality. To gauge performance, you need a set of metrics to measure the performance. After you create the proper team to govern your data quality, ensure that the team focuses on the data you need first. Everyone knows the rules of "good data in, good data out" and "bad data in, bad data out." To put this to work, make sure that your team knows the relevant business questions that are in progress across various data projects to make sure that they focus on the data that supports those business questions.

• Focus on the data you need now as the highest priority

Once you do that, you can look at the potential data quality issues associated with each of the relevant downstream business questions and put the proper processes and data quality routines in place to ensure that poor data quality has a low probability of Successful Analytics Adoption Strategies, continuing to affect that data. As you decide which data to focus on, remember that the key for innovators across industries is that the size of the data isn’t the most critical factor — having the right data is (Wessel, 2016).

• Automate the process of data quality when data volumes grow too large

When data volumes become unwieldy and difficult to manage the quality, automate the process. Many data quality tools in the market do a good job of removing the manual effort from the process. Open source options include Talend and DataCleaner. Commercial products include offerings from DataFlux, Informatica, Alteryx and Software AG. As you search for the right tool for you and your team, beware that although the tools help with the organization and automation, the right processes and knowledge of your company's data are paramount to success.

• Make the process of data quality repeatable

It needs regular care and feeding. Remember that the process is not a one-time activity. It needs regular care and feeding. While good data quality can save you a lot of time, energy, and money downstream, it does take time, investment, and practice to do well. As you improve the quality of your data and the processes around that quality, you will want to look for other opportunities to avoid data quality mishaps.

• Beware of data that lives in separate databases

When data is stored in different databases, there can be issues with different terms being used for the same subject. The good news is that if you have followed the former solutions, you should have more time to invest in looking for the best cases. As always, look for the opportunities with the biggest bang for the buck first. You don't want to be answering questions from the steering committee about why you are looking for differences between "HR" and "Hr" if you haven't solved bigger issues like knowing the difference between "Human Resources" and "Resources," for example.

• De-Siloing Data

The solution to removing data silos typically isn’t some neatly packaged, off-the-shelf product. Attempts to quickly create a data lake by simply pouring all the siloed data together can result in an unusable mess, turning more into a data swamp. This is a process that must be done carefully to avoid confusion, liability, and error.
Try to identify high-value opportunities and find the various data stores required to execute those projects. Working with various business groups to find business problems that are well-suited to data science solutions and then gathering the necessary data from the various data stores can lead to high-visibility successes.
As value is proved from joining disparate data sources together to create new insights, it will be easier to get buy-in from upper levels to invest time and money into consolidating key data stores. In the first efforts, getting data from different areas may be akin to pulling teeth, but as with most things in life, the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Once the wheels get moving on a few of these integration projects, make wide-scale integration the new focus. Many organizations at this stage appoint a Chief Analytics Officer (CAO) who helps increase collaboration between the IT and business units ensuring their priorities are aligned. As you work to integrate the data, make sure that you don’t inadvertently create a new “analytics silo.” The final aim here is an integrated platform for your enterprise data.

• Education is essential

When nearly 45% of workers generally prefer status quo over innovation, how do you encourage an organization to move forward? If the workers are not engaged or see the program as merely just the latest management trend, it may be tricky to convince them. Larger organizations may have a culture that is slow to change due to their size or outside forces.

There’s also a culture shift required - moving from experience and knee-jerk reactions to immersion and exploration of rich insights and situational awareness.

- Walter Storm, the Chief Data Scientist, Lockheed Martin

Companies spend a year talking about an approved analytics tool before moving forward. The employees had time to consider the change and to understand the new skill sets needed. Once the entire team embraced the change, the organization moved forward swiftly to convert existing data and reports into the new tool. In the end, the corporation is more successful, and the employees are still in alignment with the corporate strategy.

If using data to support decisions is a foreign concept to the organization, it’s a smart idea to ensure the managers and workers have similar training. This training may involve everything from basic data literacy to selecting the right data for management presentations. However, it cannot stop at the training; the leaders must then ask for the data to move forward with requests that will support conclusions that will be used to make critical decisions across the business.

These methods make it easier to sell the idea and keep the organization’s analytic strategy moving forward. Once senior leadership uses data to make decisions, everyone else will follow their lead. It is that simple.


The analytics maturity model serves as a useful framework for understanding where your organization currently stands regarding strategy, progress, and skill sets.
Advancing along the various levels of the model will become increasingly imperative as early adopters of advanced analytics gain a competitive edge in their respective industries. Delay or failure to design and incorporate a clearly defined analytics strategy into an organization’s existing plan will likely result in a significant missed opportunity.



Infogroup is a big data, analytics and marketing services provider that delivers best in class data-driven customer-centric technology solutions. Our data and software-as-a-service (DaaS & SaaS) offerings help clients of all sizes, from small companies to FORTUNE 100TM enterprises, increase their sales and customer loyalty. Infogroup provides both digital and traditional marketing channel expertise that is enhanced by access to our proprietary data on 245MM individuals and 25MM businesses, which is distributed real-time to our clients…


5 Predictive Data Analytics Applications

Article | May 31, 2021

According to Google trends, predictive data analytics has gained a significant amount of popularity over the last few years. Many businesses have implemented predictive analytics applications to increase their business reach, gain new customers, forecast sales, and more. Predictive Analytics is a type of data analytics technology that makes predictions with the help of data sets, statistical modeling, and machine learning. Predictive analytics uses historical data. This historical data is fed into a mathematical model that recognizes patterns and trends that are then applied to current data to forecast trends, practices, and behaviors from milliseconds to days and even years. Based on the parameters supplied to them, organizations find patterns within that data to detect risks, opportunities, forecast conditions, and events that would occur at a particular time. At its heart, the use of predictive analytics answers a simple question, “What would happen based on my current data and what can be done to change the outcome.” In the current times, businesses have multiple products offerings at their disposal to choose from vendors of big data predictive analytics in different industries. They can help these businesses leverage historical data discovering complex data correlation, recognizing patterns, and forecasting. Organizations are turning to predictive analytics to increase their bottom line and gain advantages against their competition. Some of those reasons are listed below: • With the growing amount and types of data, there is more interest in utilizing it to produce valuable insights • Better computers • An abundance of easy to use software • Need of competitive differentiation due to tougher economic conditions As more and more easy-to-use software have been introduced, businesses no longer need statisticians and mathematicians for predictive analytics and forecasting. Benefits of Predictive Analytics Competitive edge over other businesses The most common reason why multiple companies picked up predictive analytics was to gain an advantage over their competitors. Customer trends and buying patterns keep changing from time to time. The ones who can identify it first will go ahead in the game. Embracing predictive analytics is how you will stay ahead of your competition. Predictive analytics will aid in qualified lead generation and give you an insight into the present and potential customers. Business growth Businesses opt for predictive analytics to predict customer behavior, preferences, and responses. Using this information, they attract their target audience and entice them into becoming loyal customers. Predictive analytics gives valuable information about your customers such as which of them are likely to lapse, how to retain them, whether you should market directly at them, etc. The more you know about them, the stronger your marketing will become. Your business will become the leader in predicting your customer’s exact needs. Customer satisfaction Retaining existing customers is almost five times more difficult than acquiring new ones. The most successful company is the one that invests money in retaining those customers as much as acquiring new ones. Predictive analytics helps in directing marketing strategies towards your existing customers and get them to return frequently. The analytics tool will make sure your marketing strategy caters to the diverse requirements of your customers. Personalized services Earlier marketing strategies revolved around the ‘one size fits all’ approach, but gone are those days. If you want to retain and acquire new customers, you have to create personalized marketing campaigns to attract customers. Predictive analytics and data management help you to get new information about customer expectations, previous purchases, buying behaviors, and patterns. Using this data, you can create these personalized marketing strategies that will help keep up the engagement and acquire new customers.   Application of Predictive Analytics Customer targeting Customer targeting divides the customer base into different demographic groups according to age, gender, interests, buying, and spending habits. It helps companies to create tailored marketing communications specifically to the customers who are likely to buy their products. Traditional techniques do not even come close to identifying potential customers as well as predictive analytics does. The major constituents that create these customer groups are: • Socio-demographic factors: age, gender, education, and marital status • Engagement factors: recent interaction, frequency, spending habits, etc. • Past campaign response: contact response, type, day, month, etc. The customer-specific targeting for the company is highly advantageous. They can: • Better communicate with the customers • Save money on marketing • Increase profits Customer churn prevention Customer churn prevention creates major hurdles in a company’s growth. Although it has been proven that retaining customers is cheaper than gaining new ones, it can become a problem. Detecting a client’s dissatisfaction is not an easy task as they can abruptly stop using your services without any warning. Here, churn prevention comes into the picture. Churn prevention aims to predict who will end their relationship with the company, when, and why. The existing data sets can help develop predictive models so companies can be proactive to prevent the fallout. Factors that can influence the churn are as follows: • Customer variables • Service use • Engagement • Technicalities • Competitor variables Using these variables, companies can then take necessary steps to avoid the churn by offering customers personalized services or products. Risk management Risk assessment and management processes in many companies are antiquated. Even though customer information is abundantly available for evaluation, it is still antiquated. With advanced analytics, this data can be quickly and accurately analyzed while maintaining customer privacy and boundaries. Risk assessment thus allows companies to analyze problems with any business. Predictive analytics can approximate with certainty which operations are profitable and which are not. Risk assessment analyzes the following data types: • Socio-demographic factors • Product details • Customer behavior • Risk metrics Forecast sales Evaluating the previous history, seasonality, and market-affecting events make revenue predicting vital for a company’s planning and result in a company’s demand for a product or a service. This can be applied to short-term, medium-term, and long-term forecasting. Predictive models help in anticipating a customer’s reaction to the factors that affect sales. Following factors can be used in sales forecasting: • Calendar data • Weather data • Company data • Social data • Demand data Sales forecasting allows revenue prediction and optimal resource allocation. Healthcare Healthcare organizations have begun to use predictive analytics as this technology is helping them save money. They are using predictive analytics in several different ways. With the help of this technology, based on past trends they can now allocate facility resources, optimize staff schedules, identify patients at risk, adding intelligence to pharmaceutical and supply acquisition management. Using predictive analytics in the health domain has also helped in preventing cases and risks of developing health complications like diabetes, asthma, and other life-threatening problems. The application of predictive analytics in health care can lead to making better clinical decisions for patients. Predictive analytics is being used across different industries and is good way to advance your company’s growth and forecast future events to act accordingly. It has gained support from many different organizations at a global scale and will continue to grow rapidly. Frequently Asked Questions What is predictive analytics? Predictive analytics uses historical data to predict future events. The historical data is used to build mathematical model that captures essential trends. That predictive model is based on current data that predicts what will happen next or suggest steps to take for optimal outcomes. How to do predictive analytics? • Define business objectives • Collect relevant data available from resources • Improve on collected data by data cleaning methods • Choose a model or build your own to test data • Evaluate and validate the predictive model to ensure How does predictive analytics work for business? Predictive analytics helps businesses attract, retain, and grow their profitable customers. It also helps them in improving their operations. What tools are used for predictive analytics? Some tools used for predictive analytics are: • SAS Advanced Analytics • Oracle DataScience • IBM SPSS Statistics • SAP Predictive Analytics • Q Research { "@context": "", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is predictive analytics?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Predictive analytics uses historical data to predict future events. The historical data is used to build a mathematical model that captures essential trends. 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It also helps them in improving their operations." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What tools are used for predictive analytics?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Some tools used for predictive analytics are: SAS Advanced Analytics Oracle DataScience IBM SPSS Statistics SAP Predictive Analytics Q Research" } }] }

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Article | May 31, 2021

Artificial Intelligence has emerged as a powerful tool in the time to fight against Covid-19. The technology is used to train computers to leverage big data-enabled models for pattern recognition, interpretation, and prediction using Machine Learning, NLP and Computer Vision. These applications can be effective to diagnose, envision, and treat Covid-19 disease, and they can also assist in managing socio-economic impacts. Since the pandemic spreads quickly, there has been a rush to explore and deploy AI to cure and address the soaring demand of patient treatment infected by Coronavirus.

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A learning guide to accelerate data analysis with SPSS Statistics

Article | May 31, 2021 | Sponsored

IBM SPSS Statistics provides a powerful suite of data analytics tools which allows you to quickly analyze your data with a simple point-and-click interface and enables you to extract critical insights with ease. During these times of rapid change that demand agility, it is imperative to embrace data driven decision-making to improve business outcomes. Organizations of all kinds have relied on IBM SPSS Statistics for decades to help solve a wide range of business and research problems.

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Man Vs. Machine: Peaking into the Future of Artificial Intelligence

Article | May 31, 2021

Stephen Hawking, one of the finest minds to have ever lived, once famously said, “AI is likely to be either the best or the worst thing to happen to humanity.” This is of course true, with valid arguments both for and against the proliferation of AI. As a practitioner, I have witnessed the AI revolution at close quarters as it unfolded at breathtaking pace over the last two decades. My personal view is that there is no clear black and white in this debate. The pros and cons are very contextual – who is developing it, for what application, in what timeframe, towards what end? It always helps to understand both sides of the debate. So let’s try to take a closer look at what the naysayers say. The most common apprehensions can be clubbed into three main categories: A. Large-scale Unemployment: This is the most widely acknowledged of all the risks of AI. Technology and machines replacing humans for doing certain types of work isn’t new. We all know about entire professions dwindling, and even disappearing, due to technology. Industrial Revolution too had led to large scale job losses, although many believe that these were eventually compensated for by means of creating new avenues, lowering prices, increasing wages etc. However, a growing number of economists no longer subscribe to the belief that over a longer term, technology has positive ramifications on overall employment. In fact, multiple studies have predicted large scale job losses due to technological advancements. A 2016 UN report concluded that 75% of jobs in the developing world are expected to be replaced by machines! Unemployment, particularly at a large scale, is a very perilous thing, often resulting in widespread civil unrest. AI’s potential impact in this area therefore calls for very careful political, sociological and economic thinking, to counter it effectively. B. Singularity: The concept of Singularity is one of those things that one would have imagined seeing only in the pages of a futuristic Sci-Fi novel. However, in theory, today it is a real possibility. In a nutshell, Singularity refers to that point in human civilization when Artificial Intelligence reaches a tipping point beyond which it evolves into a superintelligence that surpasses human cognitive powers, thereby potentially posing a threat to human existence as we know it today. While the idea around this explosion of machine intelligence is a very pertinent and widely discussed topic, unlike the case of technology driven unemployment, the concept remains primarily theoretical. There is as yet no consensus amongst experts on whether this tipping point can ever really be reached in reality. C. Machine Consciousness: Unlike the previous two points, which can be regarded as risks associated with the evolution of AI, the aspect of machine consciousness perhaps is best described as an ethical conundrum. The idea deals with the possibility of implanting human-like consciousness into machines, taking them beyond the realm of ‘thinking’ to that of ‘feeling, emotions and beliefs’. It’s a complex topic and requires delving into an amalgamation of philosophy, cognitive science and neuroscience. ‘Consciousness’ itself can be interpreted in multiple ways, bringing together a plethora of attributes like self-awareness, cause-effect in mental states, memory, experiences etc. To bring machines to a state of human-like consciousness would entail replicating all the activities that happen at a neural level in a human brain – by no means a meagre task. If and when this were to be achieved, it would require a paradigm shift in the functioning of the world. Human society, as we know it, will need a major redefinition to incorporate machines with consciousness co-existing with humans. It sounds far-fetched today, but questions such as this need pondering right now, so as to be able to influence the direction in which we move when it comes to AI and machine consciousness, while things are still in the ‘design’ phase so to speak. While all of the above are pertinent questions, I believe they don’t necessarily outweigh the advantages of AI. Of course, there is a need to address them systematically, control the path of AI development and minimize adverse impact. In my opinion, the greatest and most imminent risk is actually a fourth item, not often taken into consideration, when discussing the pitfalls of AI. D. Oligarchy: Or to put it differently, the question of control. Due to the very nature of AI – it requires immense investments in technology and science – there are realistically only a handful of organizations (private or government) that can make the leap into taking AI into the mainstream, in a scalable manner, and across a vast array of applications. There is going to be very little room for small upstarts, however smart they might be, to compete at scale against these. Given the massive aspects of our lives that will likely be steered by AI enabled machines, those who control that ‘intelligence’ will hold immense power over the rest of us. That all familiar phrase ‘with great power, comes great responsibility’ will take a whole new meaning – the organizations and/or individuals that are at the forefront of the generally available AI applications would likely have more power than the most despotic autocrats in history. This is a true and real hazard, aspects of which are already becoming areas of concern in the form of discussions around things like privacy. In conclusion, AI, like all major transformative events in human history, is certain to have wide reaching ramifications. But with careful forethought these can be addressed. In the short to medium term, the advantages of AI in enhancing our lives, will likely outweigh these risks. Any major conception that touches human lives in a broad manner, if not handled properly, can pose immense danger. The best analogy I can think of is religion – when not channelled appropriately, it probably poses a greater threat than any technological advancement ever could.

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Infogroup is a big data, analytics and marketing services provider that delivers best in class data-driven customer-centric technology solutions. Our data and software-as-a-service (DaaS & SaaS) offerings help clients of all sizes, from small companies to FORTUNE 100TM enterprises, increase their sales and customer loyalty. Infogroup provides both digital and traditional marketing channel expertise that is enhanced by access to our proprietary data on 245MM individuals and 25MM businesses, which is distributed real-time to our clients…