As we help our clients get up and running with the predictive analytics tools and skills they need, we see some trends emerging in terms of the kind of applications for which clients tend to use predictive analytics most commonly. These are what we call ‘repeatable application templates’.
In my previous post I outlined the 4 reasons why we believe predictive analytics is a low risk, high return way for many companies to achieve competitive advantage. I have re-capped these below for reference:
- Implementing predictive analytics is less expensive, quicker and lower risk than almost any other kind of technology-enabled project
- You already have most of the expertise you will need in house
- Data is always fragmented, dislocated and of variable quality but that should not stop you
- You will need to decide what it is you want to address first and how you will use the answer
When starting out with predictive analytics it’s helpful to focus on a particular use of predictive analytics that has already been tried and tested – a so-called repeatable application. Doing this further reduces organisational risk because it effectively addresses point 4. above. Starting by focusing on a repeatable application means that you ensure that the project has a clear focus and a clear set of goals from the outset. The advantages of this approach are many:
- Applying predictive analytics to an already proven application provides strong evidence that what you want to do is both feasible and practical. Of course your project will still differ from other people’s projects – for example your data quality may be better or worse than theirs – but in principle if other people have achieved results with a particular application then the chances are that your organisation probably can too.
- Working with a third party with the experience of many projects using a particular application means that your chances of success are all the better.
- If you’re working with an external partner on a predictive problem that’s already been addressed elsewhere then it’s likely that partner will have valuable resources and practical aids available as existing templates (this is how Smart Vision works). If this is the case then presence of these resources will mean you can get started more quickly and see results earlier than would otherwise be the case.
- Starting your predictive analytics journey by using a repeatable application template still gives you the flexibility of using the same technology to answer different questions in later phases of your use of predictive analytics. In fact, this multiple application characteristic is one of the things that makes predictive analytics such an attractive investment. Investing once and applying multiple times makes for stunning ROI in the mid to long term.
- Deploying best practice in an already proven application area does not dilute the competitive advantage you’ll gain. You might think that if someone else at another organisation, perhaps with services and products similar to your own, has already addressed this problem then by addressing it too all you’re doing is making yourself equal rather than making yourself different. However the reality is that every application of predictive analytics is unique – unique in terms of the data available, unique in the business expertise you can contribute and, most significantly, unique in the way the organisation chooses to deploy the results and develop policy based on the insight gained. These inputs and, crucially, the deployed output are what keeps competitive innovation in the control of your organisation.
It is for these reasons outlined above that Smart Vision Europe has launched a series of repeatable application templates. All are based on our prior experience and all will enable clients to get to their first return from their investment in the shortest possible time with the lowest possible risk.
Our first three repeatable application templates are: