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Behold the power of analytics

Connect the dots

Do you get your kicks out of smart or intelligent products or services? I for one find them fascinating and get thrilled when Amazon.in or bigbasket.com recommends items that I’m likely to be interested in based on my previous purchases or when my Android phone keeps track of the flight I need to take. I find such information convenient whereas an Amazon ad featuring a book I searched for on their site, popping up on a news portal is downright annoying. The key is to be non-intrusive and give the user the impression that they are in control. An in—your-face approach will not work.

I came across two companies with very smart ideas and the outcomes are value-adding. The companies operate  in different spaces and have used analytics in entirely different ways to grow their business.

I’ve got what you want

Do you watch “House of Cards”? Do you enjoy it? If you do, then that’s not surprising. Entertainment providers are already taking your taste and preferences into account to come up with something that is  suitable for your viewing. Consider Netflix’s reasons for picking up House of Cards for its network. Through some sophisticated analytics of its user data (deep-dive analysis of how users watch shows), it arrived at what kind of shows were likely to be popular among its audience. The facts  that they considered were – number of subscribers for Netflix (33 Million worldwide), the percentage of viewers who had streamed films directed by David Fincher (the director of House of Cards show) and percentage of people who viewed Kevin Spacey’s work (he is the lead actor in the show). In addition, the British version of the same show had performed well. This analysis showed that a show that had all the above three ingredients was a recipe for success.  This led them to pick up House of Cards for its kitty, a $100 million investment. The promotion of the show was also  based on the insights from the analytics and  suffice to say that the show is a success based on the increase in the number of viewers and retention rate of viewers.

It’s all in the details

For those of you in Bangalore, have you availed products from Licious? It is a startup that delivers fresh meat products within 90 minutes of your order. It’s a tall order especially in a traffic-ridden city like Bangalore. But the company has successfully managed it for the last one year by establishing delivery hubs across the city. While talking to the senior leadership at the company recently, I was curious about how they were handling excess meat stock at the end of every day. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that they had little to no inventory at the end of the day thanks to heavy-duty analytics that led to near accurate forecasting. As a result, what was left at the end of the end was negligible – a more than acceptable metric in their industry. That’s just amazing and so critical to their operations.

Surely, it appears that we are slowly gravitating towards a world that will be customized to our wants and needs – eliminating inefficiencies and wastage and improving user experience. Companies which have caught on to this can clearly deliver better business results.

The day is not far off when thanks to analytics everything appears precisely in the manner and order that you prefer. Life will be a lot simpler for sure as daily niggles are likely to be eliminated. Of course, the challenge is not making it into a mechanised routine where the element of surprise is missing. But if we can get to a point where our preferences and choices are already considered for day to day activities, then why not?


(This blog first appeared on www.prayag.com)