IBM showcases its domain expertise in analytics
In an interview to Moneycontrol.com Asif Mohammad Partner for IBM Global Business Services (GBS) in India/South Asia talks about the analytics business of IBM and how it has the potential to deliver incredible results and create value for the clients.
Below is an edited transcript of the interview.
Q: To begin with, what is Analytics and how is it relevant to the current scenario of doing business? Its importance, the amount of savings in time and resources it can bring, etc?
A: Analytics in a nutshell is about gaining insights from data that helps better business decision, deeper understanding of customers, and improved operational efficiency. Analytics and business intelligence are about helping clients build better products and services and helping society solve difficult challenges, ranging from traffic congestion to food traceability to managing financial risk. The combination of an increasingly complex world, the vast proliferation of data, and the pressing need to stay one step ahead of the competition has sharpened focus on using analytics within organizations.
We see strong growth opportunities as companies, governments and organizations struggle to make sense of the large amount of data available. IBM, which has a long history of analyzing data, began growing the segment almost a decade ago. IBM's capabilities in this key area draw on the expertise of the largest mathematics department in global industry, over 8,000 consultants dedicated to business analytics and a software business that has invested more than $14 billion in more than 20 analytics acquisitions during the past five years all dedicated to helping our clients take action through analytics.
Q: You believe that business leaders make decisions based on information they do not have. How is this true even in this Internet- connected world when almost everything is available? Quite obviously you are talking of something else
A:Traditionally, business decisions were based more on manual analysis and predictions on the market that could or could not bring the desired results. The world has changed significantly over the last few years and the meteoric rise in data and information makes it critical for an insight-based decision making system.
Business leaders, like all business users, need to explore any combination of data over any time period and create unique and personalized views of the performance of their departments, divisions, lines of business, regions and so on. The Internet-connected data is in fact increasing the complexity as most data that is relevant for an organization, are being generated outside of the organization, like in social networks, for an example. Organizations need to take cognizance of all this data and information and make actionable insights using sophisticated analytics
Q: How do you explain this whole process of converting data in to insight? If one were to model it in blocks what would the work flow look like?
A: It is imperative that businesses leverage the massive quantities of data available to them. In order to remain competitive, data must be transformed into insight and integrated into business processes.
Data originates from various sources across the organization, in various forms and frequencies, and flows constantly through your business. While there is a lot of data, much of it may not contribute significantly to business decision making, given that it is held in disparate systems and perhaps duplicated across various business units. But it is only when you extract, refine, cleanse, standardize and exploit the data do you realize its value and channelize it to covert this to valuable information and thereon to actionable business insight.
Q: In a retail or telecom scenario, what kind of customer base size would an organization need to have before implementing your solution?
A: Having a clear view of the objective and associated outcomes is critical for a successful analytics implementation. Solutions can be scaled based on the requirement and there is no threshold point of customer base as such. Today, analytics solutions can help companies of all sizes to have better insights to their customers, improve operational efficiency, and drive more targeted marketing engagements, among others.
The adoption of analytics among Indian telecom companies is significant in areas like customer retention and churn, financial and operational performance, customer service, and resource optimization. Indias organized retail industry is still at initial stages but we see substantial interest around using analytics to improve the top line as well as rationalize cost structures. However we are seeing strong interest and traction from the retailers
Q: How have your customers used analytics to improve the following: Speed of decision making, managing enterprise risk and understanding customers? How about specific examples?
A: One of the biggest benefits of analytics is around conversion of tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge that can be shared and consumed for larger benefit. In the past, a lot of decisions were based on the ability of an individual to collate data, identify patterns amongst huge amount of data and apply business rules to arrive at an outcome. Recent advancements in analytics has helped in having processed information available to organizations with almost real-time turn-around time that allows them to be more nimble in addressing changing business scenario.
For instance, we have seen a large Private sector Bank in India uses Analytics to track the customers who are paying competitor credit cards / home loans using the account held with the Bank and in customizing their campaigns to offer targeted offers and increasing banks portfolio as well as minimize risk. In insurance sector, analytics was used to predict which customers will be early foreclosures and assess their LTV for the company and then call them proactively. Their early foreclosures have dropped by 20%.