Aiding an Analytics Enthusiast

August 24, 2011

How Can You Help “Bob The Marketing Guy” Succeed With Analytics?

How Can You Help “Bob The Marketing Guy” Succeed With Analytics?

In my last blog, I wrote about the pitfalls of allowing “Bob The Marketing Guy” to build complex analytics or models using a user friendly tool, when he doesn’t really know what he is doing. Well, we cannot just tell Bob he can’t do analytics. We have to provide him with a solution to his needs. So, how do we help Bob help himself?

It’s important to note that I am a huge fan of tools that increase analytic productivity. Tools that get analytics out the door faster are a great thing. Put in the right hands, they can help you get results faster, leaving time left over for even more projects. My point is simply that people who know what they are doing are the right ones to use these tools for the desired gains. If over time, Bob (the marketer) develops the skills needed to build complex analytic processes, then you can turn him loose. Until he’s ready, however, better to be safe than sorry.

Some say that resistance to letting Bob use friendly tools is, best case, reluctance to change and, worst case, just about “saving your job”. That is not my angle. If my motivation was purely to “save my job” or help others like me save theirs, then I’d be against tools that increase analytic productivity across the board. After all, if a team can get all their work done in ½ the time due to a new tool or process, a shortsighted view is that they are at risk of losing ½ of the team. I have been around long enough to know there is a lot more on the typical analytics team’s plate than there are resources and time to get it all done. Time saved on one project is an opportunity to add value on yet another project. Productivity tools are not a threat to an analyst, they are a springboard to providing more value to the business.

So,“Bob The Marketing Guy” wants more analytics. He wants to champion the cause. He wants to push the organization forward. We don’t want him doing the dirty work, so how do we enable Bob to succeed? We can do several things.

First, get Bob working within his sphere of influence and expertise. Develop a strong relationship with Bob so that you understand what he’s trying to do and how your analytics will help him. It needs to be a partnership. Work with Bob to identify the important analytics he needs to improve the business and then deliver them quickly, accurately, and efficiently. Provide Bob with the details he needs to get buy-in from his executive team for doing more analytics.

Second, make use of all of your technologies. Utilize any user-friendly software you have to get your work done faster. Develop your analytics processes using the principles of scalable in-database processing. Deploy your scoring algorithms in the database as well. This will allow Bob to have access to real time or near real time updates to his scores since batch scoring often isn’t good enough anymore.

Third, work with IT to tie your results into the various applications that Bob needs to use. Get your segmentation and propensity models integrated into Bob’s CRM application suite. Have the scores you generate included within the corporate BI environment so that reports can be developed to track how the models perform. If the scores are in the database, they can be made available to any corporate application or process that can benefit from the information. Make it so.

At the end of the day, it is a terrific thing that “Bob The Marketing Guy” wants to embrace analytics. You and he should become great friends and business partners. If you each focus on what you do best, you’ll have an impact. At the end of the day, Bob needs to be able to access and utilize a wide range of analytic results. It just happens that Bob shouldn’t be generating a lot of it himself. He doesn’t have those skills. Luckily, analysts like you do!