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TDWI Upside - Where Data Means Business

How Can Augmented Analytics Benefit Your Role?

How Can Augmented Analytics Benefit Your Role?

A little over a year ago, a Gartner report stated that "augmented analytics is the future of data and analytics." In just a short time, the future has arrived.

For Further Reading:

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Thanks in large part to the use of AI and the rise of augmented analytics, business users are closer than ever to their data and, more important, to actionable insights. The wall between the answers and the people asking the questions has toppled.

In a nutshell, augmented analytics uses machine learning and natural language processing to automate data analysis and the presentation of insights. By combining artificial intelligence (AI) with business intelligence (BI), non-technical users can now automate major aspects of their data analytics.

Augmented Analytics Has Transformed How Users Approach Data

Augmented analytics platforms benefit end users on two fronts.

First, much like we all interact with Google and Siri, non-technical users can easily interface with augmented analytics solutions by asking questions directly and getting answers instantly, drastically reducing reporting time and accelerating strategy and performance.

Second, technical analysts and data scientists are suddenly freed from running routine and basic reports, empowering them to charge ahead and tackle more complex queries and data science projects.

Speaking to the latter point, I previously touched on this new frontier of analytics in my previous Upside article, "Why Your Top Analysts Are About to Quit -- And How to Keep Them."

In fact, augmented analytics can help many different types of users across the enterprise.

Benefits for Data Scientists

The core benefit of augmented analytics for data scientists and similar positions is simple: they are freed up to solve more complex problems.

I spoke to a data scientist who built an impressive churn-prediction algorithm and bemoaned the fact that all he did now was run it for various products, channels, and customers, preventing him from working on his next project. He was stuck.

Enter augmented analytics.

Rather than running repetitive reports and answering basic queries, your analysts -- like this data scientist -- can solve problems with advanced AI and machine learning. In turn, that advanced work gives the company a leg up on the competition. It's a win for all involved.

Benefits for Marketers

Marketing and other non-technical positions are even more likely to see their daily operations transformed by augmented analytics.

Chief marketing officers, brand managers, and other employees within the marketing umbrella often rely on an analytics team for all levels of data analysis and reporting. From one-off questions to more in-depth research and planning, marketers are dependent on third parties and some level of outsourcing. It's inefficient and often costly.

With the emergence of augmented solutions, the power is back in the hands of the marketing user. As explained in "CPG Analytics: The Definitive Guide," "From opportunity analysis to churn analytics to attribution studies and even customer journey mapping, new advancements in business intelligence make it so that you can make quick and effective decisions."

To go a bit further, let's give some examples of benefits by marketing position:

  • Marketing executives (CMOs, for example) need to optimize spending and better understand customer behavior to head off churn and capitalize on opportunities. For this they need immediate data access and the ability to automate the analysis process. As soon as questions or theories are formed, an executive can go straight to the data and learn which channels are bringing in customers and retaining them. The old model of asking a question during a meeting and waiting days for an answer and report to come back is a thing of the past. With augmented analytics, questions can be immediately asked and answered by the executive, a team member, or the platform's automated insight feature.

  • Brand and category managers can now go beyond basic questions thanks to an easy-to-use interface and AI capabilities. Let the machine drill down and look for deeper insights (such as the correlation between buying frequency and churn risk) provided as a report with the findings in natural language. It's that simple.

  • Consumer insights researchers can use augmented analytics to leverage better access and automated analysis processes to track a company's performance against the 4Ps: price, product, promotion, and place. They can even integrate internal data with syndicated data.

  • Digital marketers have no shortage of data available. With the right analytics tool and automation functionality at their disposal, they can make great use of data. They can sync up their digital traffic and advertising data, creating an end-to-end view of website visitors. From there, an augmented solution is going to make it easier to build out personalized Web experiences for site visitors than with traditional software.

Marketing expands far beyond these four positions; however, this short list should give you a clear picture of the kinds of benefits businesses that have invested in augmented analytics platforms are experiencing.

Benefits for Salespeople

Many of the same benefits available to marketers can be enjoyed by the sales team. Direct access to data and the ability to receive detailed, automated analysis (of sales pipelines, win-loss, opportunity studies, and performance metrics tracking) that helps shorten the decision cycle is a major benefit for any sales position. Your sales team needs to be agile, and a responsive analytics solution allows you to pivot quickly.

Sales executives no longer have to wait for monthly or weekly reporting. Answers are available as soon as they're needed so executives can steer the ship accordingly. Improvement happens immediately, not days or weeks too late.

For the sales team, any BI platform offers dashboards and scorecards. An augmented analysis tool will also leverage AI, machine learning, and natural language generation to tell you what is really happening under the dashboard data you can see. With next-level insights such as brand health analysis and competitor performance comparisons, you can go deeper than a basic rundown of your standard metrics.

A Final Word

From analytics to marketing to sales, numerous facets of your business stand to benefit from a switch to augmented analytics.

Look to create a data-driven culture and embrace AI. Machine learning and natural language processing provide a deep well of opportunity to pull insights from analytics. The quicker you adapt to this technology, the quicker your team will be able to find and exploit growth opportunities faster than the competition can.

About the Author

Pete Reilly leads the charge for acquiring customers and then helping them launch AnswerRocket. Prior to AnswerRocket, Pete founded and led Retality, a firm focused on helping companies conceive, build, and introduce new technologies to the market. Before Retality, Pete was a founding team member and SVP/GM of BlueCube Software, where he led the workforce management business unit before the company was sold to RedPrairie. BlueCube was a spin-out from Radiant Systems, where Pete spent eight years driving the development and market introduction of new products at the company. Pete got his start at Accenture working with global 2000 organizations. Pete has a B.S. in computer science/economics from Union College in Schenectady, NY.

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