It is, by now, hackneyed to say that we live in the age of data and that businesses are reacting accordingly. Nonetheless, the adoption and intensity with which data is implemented continues to grow. Those who have boldly embraced it, putting data at the heart of their decision making, have reaped the benefits: higher ROI on marketing, better and more effective spending, a deeper understanding of reputation and audiences… in short: optimised, evidence-based decision making.
“Yesterday’s ‘good-enough’ is no longer good enough.”
At W2O, analytics is at the heart of our business, leveraging data to our client’s advantage is part of our DNA. Analytics is embedded into every corner of our service offering. By embracing the importance of data analytics in informing our recommendations to our clients, we continue to justify our place as strategists and key advisors.
However, as this adoption has escalated, so too have the requirements and expectations of clients. In response, analytics has undergone massive, disruptive changes radically transforming the discipline. New technologies and ways of capturing data have gone from niche to commonplace in a matter of months, and by the same token, the level of insights and depth that are expected from analytics has been continuously pushed forward. Yesterday’s ‘good-enough’ is no longer good enough.
As such, passivity in the analytics we offer isn’t an option if we want to continue to be ahead of the curve. Not only is internal R&D extremely important, but as possibilities and methods proliferate, it is increasingly important to have a holistic evolving view of not just what is out there, but of what is possible. Here’s three trends which I think will be most important in the second half of 2015:
1) Convergence and Agnosticism
The breaking down of established analytic discipline silos will continue. It is no longer a matter of one technique versus another, but of optimising and layering analytics to yield results. The combination of social media analytics, marketing techniques, social sciences will become commonplace, and clients will expect you to be familiar in navigating multi-disciplinary data stacks.
By the same token, data sourcing will continue to be agnostic. Rather than relying on a single vector of data acquisition, multiple sources of data can be used together to strengthen the accuracy of analytics, the depth of insight or the validity of a model: broadening the spectrum of what is possible.
Business Insights Analytics will become a much more multifaceted discipline, leveraging methods and foraging through multiple data feeds to offer unparalleled intelligence. Techniques and platforms no longer matter, only insights and answers do.
2) Models & Predictive
As a direct consequence of this convergence, the burden on creating models to synthesise multiple datasets and translate complexity into actionable and understandable conclusions grows.
While complex modeling and predictive regressions can be powerful, as for all complex models, it can’t be fully convincing without qualitative analysis to support the results and drive an insightful narrative. It is in this relationship that truly responsive research can be forged. To be able to run complex analysis, we must be aware in 2015 that one-off data analysis is not an option. We need to think ahead about how we can use our key clients’ data to inform the evolution of their market and be able to predict certain outcomes with relative certainty. This will call upon a much wider set of specialist personnel that we may have to leverage: from data scientists, sociologists, marketing experts, data visualisation experts and good-old strategists, the make up of our analytics practice is extremely diverse.
“Techniques and platforms no longer matter, only insights and answers do.”
3) Delivery Mechanisms
The main three tools for insight delivery to our clients are becoming outdated. Dashboards, presentations and reports will have to give way to new initiatives to communicate results previously unexplored. The always-on nature of our lives, layered with the ubiquitous presence of interactive high-resolution screens will give birth to a new line of data presentation, one that oozes the visual quality, accessibility and interactivity of our modern environment but still contains the distillation of analytical thought, guiding the user through the heart of the insight. Watch this space!
The Future is Up for Grabs!
Many more things lie around the corner, both known and unknown, that will have a radical impact on the future of the industry. The stakes are high, and this isn’t a future that’s coming in ten or five years, but a much more immediate maturation and this still very much up for grabs. If it hopes to remain competitive, a successful company will have to combine institutionalised innovative thinking and dynamic problem solving, while keeping a close watch on market developments and successfully creating a multifaceted ecosystem that attracts a wide combination of disciplines and professionals. Not an easy feat. But then again, if you’re already working analytics… you wouldn’t have it any other way!
If you’re interested in how those data and insights are affecting all of us every day, W2O is hosting a summit in London on Monday the 14th, which you should definitely attend if you can make it, or live stream if you can’t. It’s free!
We will be taking a look at how digital technologies and data have changed the way we live, work, and create. We will also be asking some questions about the ‘duality’ of digital, evaluating whether these developments have been of benefit or a detriment to people and brands. Don’t miss it.