Analytics Products—A New Era of Decision Making

By: Rajat Mathur, Management Consultant, PwC India

Rajat_Mathur 1

In amidst of a highly dynamic business environment, the C Suite is starting to realize the value of analytics driven decision making, and working towards leveraging analytics as a way to attain competitive advantage. As analytics makes its way in organizations, more often than not, decision making in boardrooms are based on analytics driven insights from data, rather than just management experience. In fact Analytics is not just used for macro-level decision making, but also in micro-level decision making.

Not every organization has in-house business analytics talent, and such organizations look for external consulting expertise for such decisions making. As many micro-level decisions are to be made on an almost daily basis, client asks for a sustainable solution, rather than engaging a high powered consulting team again and again. The solution comes in the form of analytics based products which has opened up a new line of business for consulting and product companies. Many industry experts are hailing this as the next big disruption in consulting. And rightly so, organizations today are using these analytics led products to extract values from the data that is not possible with traditional analytics solutions.

The analytic products/ solutions, is kind of a win-win scenario for consulting firms and clients. Apart from providing a revenue source, the products also help consultants get more visibility into clients’ business problems, thus providing leads for future engagements. For clients such products provide a platform where information from multiple external/ internal data sources can analyzed using advanced analytics algorithms, and results of such analyses can used by clients for day to day decision making.

Such products require big initial investment during product development, and start giving returns on investment only after it is completely developed and deployed at a client, where client pays consultants for usage. While designing such products, it is critical to understand that it is not possible to automate all consulting activities, but such products need to complement consultants to provide value to clients on regular basis.

The lower technology cost has leveled the playing field between big brands, and start-ups, with companies coming up with quite a few impressive arrays of offerings. For instance, PwC’s SocialMind (which is part of PwC’s Analytics Products Suite), uses ‘natural language processing’, industry specific taxonomy, and propriety techniques to deliver granular, and actionable insights based on client’s customer feedback on social media for clients to intervene with corrective steps. There are a few promising start-ups such as, Cognitio Analytics, which helps clients manage regular operations such as resource deployment and dynamic bottleneck identification, and ThinkAnalytics, which uses social media to drive credit risk decisions for un-credit customers.

With the great value that clients receive from these customized analytics solutions, the market for such products is surely promising, not just for start-ups but also for big brands. This is true across industries (finance, retail, media, healthcare, etc.), and across functions (strategy, marketing, customer, risk, operations, etc.).

As businesses get more complex and as companies grow, decision making will become more frequent. Analytics will be increasingly used not just for market-moving, critical macro decisions, but also for day-to-day operational micro decisions. Every organization would like to solve business problems in a quick, viable, and statistically robust manner to augment current decision making process, hence, making analytics solutions the clear way forward. But whether big brands are able to maintain their dominance and serve as one-stop shop or startups riding on this trend will emerge as new leaders in this space, is something interesting to look out for.