I work for an analytics company, but I don’t want to talk about analytics

Here is an interesting confession. I work for an analytics company but I would really rather not think about or talk about analytics. Let me explain.

I once worked with an operations director. He had a great team of analysts. He valued their work and was interested in the information they gave him but the mention of algorithms or spreadsheets made his eyes glaze over.

When I met him for the first time he happened to be in the room where we were meeting his team. The technically-minded contingent quickly got caught up in fast-paced conversation. There was a feeling in the air that problems were being solved. Laptops were whirring and excitable fingers were pointing to variables and outcomes. And there was lots of mouse clicking. I think somewhere outside a shooting star flew by to mark the occasion.

Except the operations director felt differently. He was sceptical, at best. In the space of an hour he had rolled his eyes, yawned and crossed his arms. There was no magic or wonder for him that day.

Fortunately he met us again, this time on his own, and what followed was a business-focused discussion about his objectives. He had to reduce costs dramatically, he was struggling with customer satisfaction and he had a regulator who was hot on his tail to ensure he was meeting regulatory criteria.

Fast-forward a year and this same man welcomed us with warm smile and enthusiastic handshake and told us that we had helped bring about a ‘paradigm shift’ in the way they could manage their work. I think I may have laughed when he said this because I was almost certain he was mocking me.

But it turned out he was being serious.

Adding predictive analytics to their existing set-up had helped them see where problems were likely to happen before they had actually happened. This meant they could take action before there were any negative consequences. This led to reduced costs, improved customer satisfaction and a happy regulator.

The moral of the story for me is this: there will always be analysts with whom we can pass many a happy hour sharing anecdotes and technicalities. And we are very good at that.

However, the times where Smart Vision can have the greatest impact is when we start our conversations with people who don’t want to talk about analytics.

So this is my goal. The less time I can spend talking about analytics the better. Please do get in touch if you feel the same.